Smoky Mountain Author Lin Stepp


Today bestselling Tennessee author Dr. Lin Stepp visits us. She will give a print copy of her new book to one fortunate commenter here.

Author Photo

Lin, a native Tennessean, is a businesswoman, an educator, and an adjunct faculty member at Tusculum College, where she teaches research and psychology. Her business background includes over 25 years in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing. A New York Times USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-selling international author, Lin has nine published novels. Her most recent titles, (Kensington Publishing) are Welcome Back (Feb 2016), Saving Laurel Springs (Oct 2015), Makin’ Miracles (Jan 2015), and Down by the River (May 2014) – with a new novel Daddy’s Girl, publishing April 1st. Lin and her husband J.L. also published a Smoky Mountain hiking guide in January of 2014, distributed through The University of Tennessee Press, titled The Afternoon Hiker, which includes 110 trail descriptions and over 300 color photos. Lin has two grown children and two cats – and she loves to hike, paint, read, teach, speak and share about her writing. Website:



Welcome, Lin.  Tell us about your writing journey and what inspired you to write books set in the Smoky Mountains.

I started writing at midlife and have had a glorious journey so far as an author. One of my favorite sayings, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” has proven so true for me!

I write Southern contemporary fiction. When people ask what I write I usually say contemporary romance with a touch of suspense to keep you guessing, a dash of inspiration, and a big dollop of Appalachian flavor.

When my husband and I started hiking the Smoky Mountains and working on a hiking guidebook in early 2000, I found myself stopping into many mountain bookstores and small shops looking for books set in the Smoky Mountains. An avid reader, I wanted contemporary books—set in today’s time—to add to the ambience of our weekend trips to the Smokies. Surprisingly, I found none in the shops I explored.

I asked a store owner one day, “Where are your contemporary books set in the Smokies…you know, good southern fiction with a little romance or a touch of mystery?” He shook his head. “I don’t have any. People ask me for them all the time. With the Smoky Mountains the most visited national park in America, you’d think someone would write some!” … So I did!

I loved the idea of taking the reader to a new place with fresh characters in every Smoky Mountain novel, and that’s what I’ve done. Each novel is a stand-alone book, visiting a new place in the mountains with a new storyline.

My published book titles:

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Please describe your new release, today – April 1st.

DADDY’S GIRL is set in Bryson City, North Carolina, a charming small town on the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Main character Olivia Benton owns a downtown florist shop and has always lived in Bryson City. She’s never gotten over her early love for neighbor Warner Zachery, who left Bryson City after high school, married, made a new life in New York, and found success—despite the fact that most everyone called him Weird Warner and thought he would never amount to anything. When he returns to Bryson City after ten years, famous and widowed, Olivia realizes as soon as she sees him that she still loves him … And thus begins the story of these two old friends, with a host of old memories and problems between them.

I had fun bringing in the intriguing stories of several side characters, dealing with issues of school bullying, and adding in an ongoing town mystery of a vandal defacing public property and upsetting the community. I think readers will love visiting the “real life town” of Bryson City and hiking in the Smokies with the characters.

How did your surgery and recovery period this fall impact your writing?

I am blessed to walk in wonderful health and am seldom sick. But in September the enemy got a little toehold into my life with a fall and surgery to repair a badly broken bone in my upper right arm. During recovery, I couldn’t type or write for about three months, except with my left hand—and I’m right-handed. I also couldn’t drive until January and required help with many ordinary daily tasks. This time really tested my patience … and I’m still in physical therapy with healing not totally manifested yet.

An old proverb says: When times get tough, the tough get going. And I was determined that the enemy wouldn’t score a “win” and keep me from moving on with my life and the plans God had laid for me. So I kept going throughout the fall months… continuing to travel  to scheduled book signings, speaking events, and literary festivals. Since I couldn’t write, I spent the time researching and planning a new trilogy of novels set on the South Carolina coast. In the new year, I was able to start writing the first of those books—finally!—and am halfway finished with that book now.

No one likes hardship and adversity, but what you do when they come your way shows your character, attitude, and faith in God. I wanted to make God proud I didn’t get negative, whiney, and unproductive through a bad time—that I gave even a bad time my best.
As a Christian author, how do you find your own unique way to bring your faith into your books?

I believe in everything we do we can “plant seeds of faith” and that is my goal in every one of my novels. Within my stories are always bits of faith. I believe God is a good God, and always try to show how those who lean to Him and rely on Him are helped in their daily life and through difficult times.

What few words of advice would you give to readers interested in writing a book?

This is a question I am often asked, and my standard answer is one fellow Tennessee author Carolyn Jourdan once wrote: Start your book; Write a whole lot; Finish your book. … Although humorous, this is really the key. For most authors, the difference between dreaming of writing and becoming an author lies in the daily discipline and effort of writing and finishing the book envisioned … and then writing another and another and another.

Thanks, Lin. It’s good to learn about your work, and readers, go for the prize!!

40 thoughts on “Smoky Mountain Author Lin Stepp

  1. Enjoyed the chat with Lin and would love to win a copy of her book. Will also be praying for her. I had a similar break and surgery 5 years ago and went through what she is going through now.

  2. I love Lin’s books! I have read them all and really look forward to “Daddy’s Girl”! My favorite author! I would treasure an autographed copy!!

  3. I love Lin’s books. Because I live in Manitoba Canada I have to special order them. It makes them even more special and I get very excited when Chapters calls and tells me the books are in.

  4. Love all of Lin’s books! Can’t wait to read this one. All her characters are always well developed and even though they have flaws they all have their redeeming qualities that draws you into their stories.

  5. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of Lin’s books. Since I love the Smoky Mountains, I always am excited to read about places in the mountains that we’ve visited. I love that her books are “feel good” experiences. I look forward to “Daddy’s Girl.”

  6. Dr. Lin Stepp spoke to the Appalachian Author’s Guild in 2016. I purchased some of her books at that time. I have thoroughly enjoyed her books. I know her new one will be just as inviting as the rest. Hope to be the winner of a free book.

    • Thanks Victoria … J.L. and I both enjoyed our visit in Virginia to the Authors Guild and to meeting you and others in the group! … Maybe we can come back some day.

  7. I love Lin’s books. I love the area around Bryson City, NC where I’ve been on a number of occasions – usually spending time in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina – and at least once delivering a British friend to her brother’s country home just outside Bryson City. I have a large library which a lot of neighbours are free to use. I had to set certain rules regarding Lin’s books or I’d never see them again. So many people love her books they want to “own” them/mine. I’ve now made a point of downloading some of the titles to an e-reader. I don’t loan my e-reader so always have Lin’s titles “at hand”. Of course, that leads to several elderly neighbours coming to “Stonehome” to get comfortable on my couch for some e-reading, cookies and tea . . .

  8. I am so looking forward to the new book. I have each one and find they are wonderfully written and transport me to another place, another life. That is the gift we receive from a good author!

  9. I enjoyed this interview. Lin, we are Facebook friends where I so enjoy your postings and photographs. I have never read one of your books, but I would love to. We don’t have a bookstore nearby and I have never order anything over the internet. Best wishes with your new book.

    • Thanks for your note Mary … I hope you will begin to read some of my books. I think they would be ones you’d enjoy. You can find my past books in your South Knoxville library, too. There are many copies in the Knoxville area library system. …

        • Mary Nida … Can you believe I have another fan in South Knoxville also named Mary Nida? .. A big coincidence! Sorry I got you confused. If you ever want any of my books, I mail them directly to many of my fans who can’t get out and about anymore. There is an order form on my website. I lived in Arkansas in North Little Rock during my high school years – but never got to Gassville when we made trips around the state. … Hope you have a blessed and happy spring …

  10. Loved hearing more about Lin Stepp. She has become one of my favorite authors. Living in East Tennessee, the Smokies are in my back yard. Love to hear her “spinning yarns” about places I am familiar with. And she and her husband, J.L., are just good people.

  11. I love her books! I have read all of them and am waiting on Daddy’s Girl. I love that she puts you in the Smokey Mountains with the characters in her books. It’s as if you are there and not reading a book. She is an awesome author and I hope she never stops writing. I love going on adventures with her through her books!!!! Can’t wait to go to the beach her ….

  12. Lin is an excellent writer and friend. Looking forward to reading “Daddy’s Girl”. Have certainly enjoyed her previous books in the Smoky Mountain Series.

  13. Great interview with Lin! She and I became friends after meeting at The Grainger County Tomato Festival. I have enjoyed reading all of her books and getting to know her and her husband J.L. They are wonderful down to earth East Tennesseans and enjoy the same things that I love about living here. As always I am looking forward to readings Lin’s newest book, “Daddy’s Girl” and would love to win a copy! I do hope to make it to the Book Launch party in Townsend on Saturday!

    • Pam … One of the greatest joys on this journey as a writer has been making new friends … it is always such a pleasure when “fans” become “friends” …

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