Sean Patrick Smith has been preparing his novel for over three years. His murder-mystery Three Miles of Eden is set almost entirely in Seven Lakes and was released on both digital and paperback platforms in early June. In only two-and-a-half weeks, the novel sold over 100 copies and garnered two five-star reviews on Amazon.
“I was pretty happy when I saw those early numbers,” says Smith. “There is no marketing team. It’s just me.”
Smith has been a resident of Seven Lakes on and off since his arrival in Moore County as an adolescent. Falling in love with the serenity and community of Seven Lakes, he chose this area to raise his daughter as well as base his first novel.
Three Miles of Eden follows author Ray McCarthy, whose best friend is murdered, leading the protagonist to search for some way to go back and change his friend’s fate while navigating multiple plot twists. Ray discovers that when he runs around Lake Sequoia, he can travel back in time to June of 1984 to his younger self. Upon reaching the end of the lake’s footpath, though, Ray is returned to his adult life in June of 2016.
“I had a great affinity for that time period, the ’80s,” Smith says, “I kind of romanced that time period in my life. I wanted to kind of honor that.”
Smith incorporated into his writing real individuals from his own experiences in Seven Lakes. He even obtained permission from families to bring back individuals who had passed before the novel’s release.
“Anne Dykeman knew that I was going to include her husband, Art, and a version of a phone conversation she and I had together,” says Smith. “Deputy Rick Rhyne’s wife I reached out to through a mutual acquaintance.”
Anne Dykeman of Seven Lakes North passed in March as the final edit of Three Miles of Eden was nearing completion. In late June, Smith heard from Mrs. Wanda Rhyne.
“She said I was ‘spot on’ in my portrayal of Rick. It did my heart good to hear that,” Smith said.
Smith pays homage to the ’80s by using lyrics and songs in his book’s storyline.
“All the songs and the music from that time period serve as a Greek chorus to the story,” he said.
“There are a lot of themes going on and a lot of symbolism with the time capsule that is in play and with Sequoia lake,” says Smith. “There are a lot of things going on, but I think what I want people to take away from this book is how important your lifelong friends are.”
Smith also made sure to include a tab on his website for book clubs and teachers, and he made sure to avoid severe vulgarity in his book in case a teacher wanted to use it in the classroom.
“When you read it, it’s a valentine to Seven Lakes,” Smith says. “Seven Lakes is pretty much a character in the book.”
To learn more about the novel, upcoming book releases, or for more information, check out Smith’s website at SeanPatrickSmith.com.