Author Tour Guide: Alicia Hunter Pace Takes Us to Nashville
We love all types of travel, both real and of the arm chair variety. But sometimes a book inspires us to go and actually visit a place. Which is why we're proud to present our new feature, Author Tour Guide! Authors make these places come to life, so they should also tell us where to visit, no? Today the writing duo Alicia Hunter Pace is giving us a tour of Nashville, the setting for their new hockey romance series, Nashville Sound. Their latest title, Face Off: Emile, stars an eccentric French Canadian. So we hope you wore your walking shoes and your camera phone is charged, because we are off to see Music City! Take it away, ladies.
We first dipped our toes onto the hockey ice three years ago with Nickolai’s Noel, a novella set in the Beauford Bend world that featured the Nashville Sound, a fictional NHL team. We didn’t expect to revisit Sound Town, the part of the city where the team lived, practiced and loved.
But things happened. There were secondary characters who kept tapping their sticks on the ice and yelling — Hey! Hey! Right here. What about me? — And then our readers started asking, What about Emile? What’s up with Bryant? And we knew we had to go back to Sound Town. Can you visit there? Not with a GPS or a map.
Sound Town, is a little of downtown Nashville, a little of the west side, a little Green Hills, and a little bit plain old made up. Let us take you there. We love a road trip, so we welcomed the opportunity to take a jaunt to visit the places that inspired this fun setting.
Of course, the Sound plays at the fantastic Bridgestone Arena so we started our day there. That’s us — Jean in jeans, Stephanie in shorts.
See that Stanley Cup? In real life, the Nashville Predators came very close, but the Sound has won it twice in three years —so far!
Right around the corner from Bridgestone is Broadway, the street famous for fun, honky-tonks, and some of the best music in the world. There was a time when no one with any decency would go to a honky-tonk, but, thankfully, these are better times.
We didn’t feel the least bit daring when we visited the most famous hot spot of them all—Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, where Grand Ole Opry stars used to hang out between acts at the old Ryman Auditorium.
After leaving Tootsie’s, we had to explore this fabulous boot store and check out these quintessential country music star boots. Don’t be surprised if one of our Sound players decides he needs a pair of these to wear when he sheds his skates.
At these prices, it’s a good thing he has a pro hockey player’s salary!
These collegiate boots remind us that inasmuch as the South is learning to love hockey, college football will always be king. Roll Tide.
The Big Skate, our team’s hangout is part bar, part pub-style restaurant, so it makes sense that two places inspired it. The exterior is much like Merchants Restaurant downtown.
Jean is admiring the door that looks just like the ones our players rush through for a pre-game meal, a meeting with an agent, a beer with buddies — or maybe while hoping to catch sight of her.
Our last stop of the day was at the Crow’s Nest in Green Hills, the inspiration for the interior of our team’s favorite hangout. The staff is just as friendly as the Big Skate staff. They even let us in a few minutes before opening time, as if they knew The Big Skate staff did the same thing for Emile in Face Off when he was desperate to feed a very distraught lady.
The artwork here is lovely, but there wouldn’t be room for it at The Big Skate. That’s where the framed Jersey and hockey action shots hang.
We hope you have enjoyed our pictorial tour of Sound Town—and we hope you’ll let us take you there with words, starting with Face Off: Emile
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