January 23, 2011

Meredith Shea Wood's Beautiful Arkansas

When Annette Snyder first mentioned doing the 50 Authors across 50 States I thought, “What a perfect thing for me!” After all, it was the beauty of the South and my state that sets my imagination and gives me the basis for my stories. Rather than offer a typical tale about how I decided to become a writer, I thought I‘d tell you about the inspiration behind my dream.
My love for this state was a slow to catch fire that eventually consumed me, heart and soul. This is why I write from the spirit of my state. I take the many deep-rooted legends and put in my own twist creating a world that is as feral and untamed as the wild hogs that run in this land.
The Natural State-That’s my state’s motto. We moved to Arkansas when I was around eleven and most of the license plates on the cars touted the phrase, ‘Land of Opportunity’. From my eye level in the Arkansas Delta, I figured this was only true if you liked to grow cotton, rice, soybeans, or corn. I had no desire to farm any of those crops so I wasn’t very impressed with Arkansas. That school year I was introduced a class on Arkansas History and it wasn’t long before my disinterest wavered. I loved history. I was probably the only person in my class that could read a history text book like it was the Great American Novel. And that’s exactly what I did with my Arkansas History book-read from cover to cover and then reread. I’d learned Arkansas had so much more to offer than miles of flat farmland.
As the years passed by, I explored more of my state, discovering there was a mystical calling that forced a need in me. I had to tell the haunting stories of this land.
In Arkansas, the woodlands are just as expansive, untouched and wild as the mountains. In the evenings, while standing at the edge of one of the many untamed forests, you can’t miss the presence of the dangerous magic tangled in thick branches and thorny vines. It’s brought in on the muggy breeze, the song of the cicadas and the carefree dance of the fireflies.
The forests call you and, if you’re brave enough, go on in. Explore. But remember to always be careful.
If the spirit of the forest likes you, you’ll come across a shabby half-collapsed cabin. If they deem you’re worthy, that old hunter who owns this cabin will be around. Let him tell you some of the stories haunting these mountains about the Indian ghosts that still walk this land.
Maybe you can’t make it out to Arkansas. Maybe you’d rather just pick up one of my books. Currently I’m working on a series about a paranormal creature rooted in Ozark legend. The first book in the series, Panthan’s Crucible, is available now at Amazon in either e-book or printed format.
In a world where humans are no longer the hunters, a young girl discovers she’s a pawn between two of its deadliest creatures. What happens when she learns she may be the deadliest creature of them all?
Arkansas is the place where passing from the spirit world to the here and now is as natural as breathing.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is one such place in Arkansas.
The haunting beauty of the springs sets deep in a natural basin where rock cliffs surround you with mist. The breathtaking caverns have three levels. The upper most level is so far underfoot even the greatest earthquake couldn’t rattle the stalactites. The cavern is part of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest. Like a good book, word of mouth is their best advertisement. If you’re ever down this way make it a point to stop by this cavern. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did.

 http://www.blanchardcavetours.com/ is the site to find the location of these amazing caverns. 


  1. Your love of place definitely comes through in this interview, Meredith. Enjoyed the read.

  2. Thank you so much!

  3. I really enjoyed your post on Arkansas. It was very interesting and informative. I could tell you love it there very much. I have been to Arkansas many times,but have not been to the caverns. I live right below you in Louisiana.

  4. You make me want to visit Arkansas! And believe me, from this firmly rooted northeastern girl, that's saying something.

  5. Judy, we finally made a trip to Louisiana last Feb. It was for research, but I fell in love for life. I can't wait for a chance to go back.

  6. Terri-Lynne, come on over! We have plenty of room. :-)

  7. It sounds so beautiful. I have been through Arkansas but have not spent much time there. I am going to change that
    debby236 at att dot net

  8. Beautifully written! Your prose is magical just like the land you are describing. Well done blog. Thank you.

  9. You did a great job of painting a picture for me of Arkansas. I've never been there, but you brought it to me through your description.

  10. It's so nice to hear from someone so passionate about their love of their home.

    The caverns sound so exciting and beautiful. Maybe one day I will make it there. If you ever get to North Carolina you can try the Linville Caverns.

    The paranormal coming out sounds wonderful. I may just have to give it a try.


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