The Whole Way Home
By: Sarah Creech
Releasing June 6, 2017
A ferocious talent on the brink of making it big in Nashville must confront her small town past and an old love she’s never forgotten in this engaging novel—a soulful ballad filled with romance, heartbreak, secrets, and scandal from the author of Season of the Dragonflies.
Playing to packed houses while her hit song rushes up the charts, country singer and fiddler Jo Lover is poised to become a big Nashville star like her idols, Loretta, Reba, and Sheryl. To ensure her success, Jo has carefully crafted her image: a pretty, sassy, down-to-earth girl from small-town Virginia who pours her heart into her songs.
But the stage persona she’s built is threatened when her independent label merges with big-time Capitol Records, bringing Nashville heartthrob JD McCoy—her first love—back into her life. Long ago Jo played with JD’s band. Then something went wrong, they parted ways and took their own crooked roads to stardom. Now, Jo’s excited—and terrified—to see him again.
When the label reunites them for a show, the old sparks fly, the duet they sing goes viral, and fans begin clamoring for more—igniting the media’s interest in the compelling singer. Why is a small-town girl like Jo so quiet about her past? When did she and JD first meet? What split them apart? All too soon, the painful secret she's been hiding is uncovered; a shocking revelation that threatens to destroy her reputation and her dreams. To salvage her life and her career, Jo must finally face the past—and her feelings for JD—to become the true Nashville diva she was meant to be.
JD Gunn stood up from his wooden pew in the Ryman and joined the entire audience as they clapped and whistled for Jo to return to the stage for an encore. It felt good being on this side of the stage for once, just another audience member looking up with awe at a stellar performer. Nashville’s finest musicians, critics, and business folks gathered in these pews to witness her performance, alongside some of the most devoted fans he’d ever seen. JD’s ears were ringing from all the screams unleashed for her.
He and the band cut their Northeast tour short a day to come to the Ryman for Jo’s induction into the Grand Old Opry family. He and his band had been members for five years and he tried to make it to every new induction. Now he was second-guessing that decision. He figured enough time had passed between them that his presence here wouldn’t bother her, that maybe she would’ve expected to see him and be happy about it. But there was something about the way she looked at him, like there was a glitch in her system. And Jo Lover, who was master of her instruments, one of the finest musicians he’d ever known, messed up that easy Loretta number.
JD put his fingers in his mouth and let out a cattle whistle. His bass player Rob stood next to him and shouted Jo’s name over and over. Rob wore the same black and white Willie and Waylon outlaw t-shirt he’d owned since middle school. JD was an only child and Rob was the closest to a brother that JD had. JD and Rob snuck out the house and hitched a ride away from Gate City to attend that Willie and Waylon show together. Rob waited in line for almost an hour to have his shirt signed. When it was finally his turn and he had the chance to talk to Willie, he almost didn’t speak, just stood there adjusting his thick glasses. JD shoved him and Rob finally said, “You guys are so cool” and Willie said, “So are you, kid.” Rob talked about it for months. Still brought it up when they got drunk. All they wanted back then was to be those guys. Swore they’d grow up to be outlaws and not ruin their bodies at the quarry like their fathers had. They swore they’d find something better to do with their hands.
Born and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sarah Creech now teaches English and Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her two children and her husband, the poet Morrie Creech.
Please see author Sarah Creech’s personally curated list of country songs here: https://open.spotify.com/user/williammorrow/playlist/0nnxpVhSoAXl9EGkN3UkFu