The photo to the left was taken from the top of Chimney Rock of a newly carved road on Bald Mountain/Rainbow Falls. During the last flash flood in 2007, the homes below had to be evacuated.

READ MORE ABOUT THE GORGE on
my Hickory Nut Gorge Website.
Discussion with Rose Senehi
Are all your main characters women? "Yes. My main characters are women who are their own heroes. In fact, all seven of my books have the same premise: A woman can achieve her dream through strength and perseverance."
What motivated you to write from the perspective?
"I experienced coming of age during a time when a lot of women's issues were starting to surface. When I entered the corporate world in the 70s, I was struck by the struggles women go through trying to make a place for themselves as they look for their own meaningful work and try to get control of where their life is going.
Shadows in the Grass takes place on a farm in Central New York. How familiar are you with this area?
"I owned a 100-acre farm just outside Cazenovia, NY, for almost thirty years, and writing this book gave me an opportunity to express my deep reverence for the way of life of the people who live in the uplands of Central New York. The isolaltion of country life along with the backbreaking work of farming and gardening bind these communities in a uniquely close network that you rarely find in metropolitan areas."
We see that you spent 20 years in the mall development industry. How much of WINDFALL is based on your experience?
"All the character in my book are fictitious, however, I drew from my years in the industry. Of course, in order to make an interesting plot, I had to create conflict which would keep the reader turning the pages."
In your years in the industry, you must have seen a lot of conflict.
"Of course. There's mainly the environmental issues, whether it's the covering of acres with asphalt, or the destruction of natural habitat. In the early years of mall development, there was the devastation to the central business districts in towns all across America. When a mall got built in the suburbs, the stores downtown had to either go in or go under. Now we see newer malls coming into a market and the older ones abandoned the same way we did the downtowns in the 70s. Also, many of these downtowns have come back to life and are offering more unique shopping and dining experiences."
Your third novel, PELICAN WATCH, has a strong environmental message woven through the romance and suspense.
Yes. Natives of South Carolina, as well as transplants from the North, are more and more aware of the value of our environment and the endangered animals such as the loggerhead turtle. Writing Pelican Watch gave me a wonderful opportunity to express my love of the South and iits unique charm, and tell the
story of the folks who are working to preserve it.
THE BIRTH OF THE BLUE RIDGE SERIES of 'STAND ALONE' NOVELS
Tell us about IN THE SHADOWS OF CHIMNEY ROCK.
Right after I bought my vacation home in the mountains of Western North Carolina in 2004, I become aware of the raging battle between developers who were ravaging the mountains and those who are fighting to save them. Being a Realtor at that time, I was extremely sensitive to the two opposing desires: one, of people wanting to live and enjoy this wonderful piece of the earth, and those who are streaming into the mountains and developing for sheer profit. Somewhere in the middle is a place that will preserve these mountains so in the years ahead we won't have to tell children "how spectacular they used to be." I wrote In the Shadows of Chimney Rock to shed light on this problem and the importance of saving the places we love. More and more of us are articulating our concerns in a way that will bring this about. In my books, I try to applaud those who champion this cause.

THE WIND IN THE WOODS is my second book in the Blue Ridge Series. All the books in this series are "stand alone," however readers will recognize many of the locations. Woven through this story is the 100-year-old history of summer youth camps in the Hendersonville/Brevard section of Western North Carolina--which has the highest concentration of summer youth camps in the United States. Hundreds of thousands have had the most unforgettable summers of their lives there. The 15 camps in this area comprise over 10,000 acres, and therefore make up a considerable section of unspoiled, undeveloped mountain forests. Loosely modeled on The Green River Preserve in the Green River Valley, The Wind in the Woods tells the story of one camp owner's struggle to preserve his 3000-acre youth camp with the help of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy.

RENDER UNTO THE VALLEY
By 2010 I had been lured to the mountains on a permanent basis and was no longer active in real estate. This novel gave me an opportunity to tell about a farming community located at the western end of the 10-mile Hickory Nut Gorge. All the history and lore in the novel, as well as many of the houses, places and people are based on reality. In fact, several book clubs have visited me in the mountains and I have led them on a tour of many locations in this book.
Winning an IPPY Gold Medal for this novel was one of the highlights of my career.

DANCING ON ROCKS
There's something about the little village of Chimney Rock tucked in North Carolina's historic Hickory Nut Gorge, where I now live, that gets under your skin; and even though I had already written a book (In the Shadows of Chimney Rock) that takes place there, I wanted to dig deeper into the character of the people who have kept this remote little hamlet alive over the past 200 years, resulting in my seventh novel, Dancing on Rocks. In order to weave in an accurate history of the town, I spent months at the county courthouse scanning 250 deeds. As nutty as it may sound, I bought a protractor, found out how to use it on Google, and drew up all the surveys so I could piece together the town's history. I ended up with a map that shows all the first owners of the land going from the cliffs of Round Top down to the village, and then up the other side of the gorge to the Chimney Rock Mountain ridge. I'm honored that the Ramsey Library at the University of North Carolina-Asheville has archieved it. I was touched when the N.C. Society of Historians awarded the book its "Historical Novel of the Year" and wrote: "This is a 'find a good, comfortable spot, plenty of time, and a great cup of coffee' kind of book. Once opened, the reader is taken on the trip of a lifetime. It encompasses beautiful settings, noteworthy incidents, memorable characters, a well-thought out, realistic plot, and is expertly written."- N.C. Society of Historians, Inc.

CAROLINA BELLE will be on sale January 2017. Woven throughout Carolina Belle is the fascinating history of Henderson County, North Carolina's apple orchards that endlessly unfold on the county's horizons and still bear the same names as the early settlers to the area. Since my novels are historically accurate, I have sprinkled the book with stories of the development of the Southern apple that started when countless settlers planted seeds all over the South and kicked off one of the biggest evolutionary experiments this nation has ever seen. "Carolina Belle is a contemporary novel that I am hoping my readers will find rich in emotion and driven by suspense; but most of all, I'm hoping readers will never look at an apple the same way again--I know I won't. I spent a year researching the history of the county's apple orchards and even worked as a volunteer Tuesdays for six months at the Agricultlure Extension Service's experimental orchard.
"My heroine, Belle McKenzie, is obsessed with finding the best apple anyone ever bit into and determined to rekindle the love this obsession has nearly destroyed. Part mystery, part family saga, part love story, this novel tells of the movement to keep the South's heirloom apple trees from disappearing from the face of the earth. My heroine risks her life rescuing the four hundred antique apple trees her neighbor has collected from farms and fields all over the South. From the, Belle, a botanist, is hellbent on creating a 'billion dollar' apple she'll call the Carolina Belle.