Hello all! Please welcome the fabulous Poppy Dennison who’s here to chat about Fall Festivals in celebration of her upcoming release Dogwood Days, part of the Holly Creek series. I had the pleasure of reading Dogwood Days and I absolutely loved everything about it! The little town of Holly Creek and all its inhabitants are so much fun! I love Jefferson Lee and Sheriff Zane is just so swoon worthy. I hope you’ll all enjoy it as much as I did! ~ Charlie
It’s that time of year again. Fall Festivals are popping up all over the place, and so many communities in my area have them! I can’t get enough. Crafts and yummy food: winning combination!
When I was about eleven or twelve, I lived in a small town in East Tennessee. The middle school I went to was in one community and my church was in the neighboring one. Needless to say, every fall weekend meant something or other going on. My mom and I have always been crafty, so she’d often put me to work making crafts for some fundraiser or another we were supporting.
Do you remember those plastic tissue box covers that everyone made back in the day? They looked something like this:
So, I made some of those for one of the many, many fundraisers and I remember sitting there behind the table, blinking my big blue eyes at anyone who passed by our booth. Finally, an older gentleman and his wife stopped to browse. She talked with the women at the booth about the quilts and afghans. He stopped by me.
Now, I’m pretty sure he had absolutely zero interest in my tissue box holder, but he picked it up and admired it. He asked me if I’d made it and I remember that burst of pride when I was able to answer “Yes!”
He pulled out his wallet and handed over the $5. (It was a FORTUNE to pre-teen me!)
Over thirty years later, I still remember that moment so clearly. I also remember the look on his wife’s face when she realized what he’d done. For a moment, she looked slightly terrified, but he smiled and his eyes crinkled and she turned to me and said “It’s beautiful!”
I’ve always wanted to write a small town world that captured the experiences, like this one, that I had growing up. I created Holly Creek as my love story to these towns, and Dogwood Days is the first novella set in this really fun, quirky, and sometimes nosy small town. Dogwood Days is their Spring Festival, and I have events lined up for the entire year in Holly Creek.
Here’s a sneak peak of what you can find in Dogwood Days:
“This is Jefferson Lee Davis, reporting live from Holly Creek. This small North Carolina town has been rocked by scandal. Which parade route should the Dogwood Parade take? More at eleven.”
Jefferson snorted at his own ridiculousness as he made the few blocks walk to the town square. His uncle had sent him out with a very specific task for the day: get spring pictures for the blog post. Uh-huh. Sure. He’d get right on that, as soon as he stopped by Gracie’s Diner to see what she’d baked up that morning. Hopefully something extremely motivating.
As he neared the diner, Owen came storming out and kicked the light post by the curb.
“Wow,” Jefferson said. “Don’t know what that light post ever did to you, but if I should call the sheriff on it, you let me know.”
Owen scowled at him before letting out a deeply disgruntled teenaged sigh. “Hey, Jefferson Lee.”
“What’s going on?”
“Nothing. My gran is driving me crazy. Again.”
“Uh-oh. Should I go in there and be devastatingly charming? I mean, there’s no way she’ll fall for it, but she might find it amusing enough that she’ll leave you alone for a while.”
Owen cracked a small smile but shook his head. “Nah. She’s made up her mind. I wanted to have a coffee stand on the square for the Dogwood Festival, but she said no. Like I couldn’t carry that big coffee thing over to the cart without burning anyone. Does she really think I’m that irresponsible?”
“Walk with me,” Jefferson said as he started toward the square again. “Let’s think this through. Besides, I have to find something springy to take a picture of or Uncle Sherman is going to pout.”
“’Kay,” Owen said as they started walking.
“Now, last time, the church did a bake sale thing, right?”
“Yeah. They always do that for the Dogwood Festival.”
“Yep. So that means you’d probably want to put the coffee near the food, right?”
“I guess you’re right.”
“But so are you. Coffee is a great idea. Last time I was here for the festival, I had lunch at the diner. You know what I had a view of? Everybody’s butts while they waited at the counter for coffee.”
“Yeah. It gets packed in there. That’s why I thought a coffee stand was a good idea.”
“And you’re right. But how about setting it up outside the diner instead?”
“Come on. Let’s go back and look. I’m seeing nothing springy in the square. What the heck is springy anyway? Only thing I can think of is a daffodil. Why do I think this is a good idea?”
“You should go over to the high school. Wood shop just finished building a bunch of birdhouses for their project this term. That’s kinda springy, right?”
“Owen, you are a genius. First a coffee stand, and now this. Your gran needs to know she has a brilliant great-grandson.”
Small town heroes and big town hearts.
Jefferson Lee Davis is happy with his life in the city until his favorite uncle has a bad fall and he rushes to Holly Creek to make sure Uncle Sherman is okay. Jefferson Lee knows how to navigate small Southern town’s politics and the residents greet him with open arms. Everyone but the town’s sheriff, Zane Yarbrough, that is.
Dogwood Days, the town’s biggest festival is looming, so Jefferson has to step up and take over his uncle’s job as the town blogger, even if that puts him right in the sheriff’s path. Quirky neighbors, meddling family, and a sassy best friend all come together to make Jefferson Lee’s life in Holly Creek a full-time adventure. When he loses his job back in the city, Jefferson Lee has to start a new job search that will take him away from the town he’s learning to think of as home. Will this big city boy find sweet romance in the arms of a small town sheriff or will the allure of the city call him back?
Add two parts sass and one part sweet and you have Poppy Dennison to T—sweet tea that is. Raised by a gaggle of Southern women who love reading and have backbones of steel, Poppy was brought up to see the best in people but always speak her mind. Mix it all together, like Grandma’s famous cobbler, and you get a sassy, Southern lady with a quick wit and loads of charm, who will soften any blow with “Bless your heart.” Her books reflect her small town roots, are filled with all the comforts of home, and come with side dish of spicy, because that’s the way she likes it.