Everyone told me to write what I know. Not everyone does, can, or wants to visit the places where their books are set, but there is an undeniable bond with a setting when you've walked that earth, and breathed that air.
I SPENT A YEAR enjoying the quaint towns and history of New England, specifically Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. There are things I enjoyed about each one, but Maine had a little something extra. As morbid as it sounds, some of my favorite places to visit were the graveyards, especially the ones that dated back more than 200 years. I would stand alongside the graves and wonder what the area was like when those people lived.
I also enjoyed the forests and coastlines. I visited Maine when the tourists had mostly gone away or had yet to arrive for the season, so I enjoyed more time for quiet contemplation. At this time, I had yet to think up a story set in Maine, but years later, when I was plotting out Shadow of the Forgotten, I knew it was the perfect setting for my two main characters to meet for the first time. It was also a perfect place for murder.
Not because it's crime-ridden (opposite), but because in the right place at the right moment, there is a sense of mystery and curiosity. The same could be set for a lot of places, but Maine had the added benefit of being on the east coast, where all of the story takes place, and being a place I'd visited enough to know that both the rich and rocky soils are worth walking upon, that whether in the forests of by the coast, the air is cool, fragrant, and fresh. The towns are also a lot of fun, too!
There are plenty of places one can get lost, or pretend one is lost, but also plenty of people to help you find your way if you veer too far off course.
There are beautiful homes and ramshackle cabins and cottages. Both make for great backdrops. I enjoyed playing tourist, but I liked the out-of-the-way places best. That's where are the stories are most likely to "jump out."
A writer's imagination is a rich well of possibilities, and the internet makes it possible for us to pull up a Google Earth map and zoom in on almost any location. From there we can see the landscape, the towns, and in some cases even drive down the streets. I've done this once or twice with a location I've not visited, but most of the time I prefer to write about places I've seen.
Have you been to Maine? Would you like to go?
If you've been, what did you like most about it?
“It’s not a bad place to get away.” Jordan enjoyed the sound of the birds and the water behind them. The breeze had turned to a mild wind, and he noticed Heather fret over the flowers she’d arranged. “But you really should see more of the world. Alaska, for instance, is incredible.” He winked at her when she glanced sideways at him, and she responded with a light laugh.
~from SHADOW OF THE FORGOTTEN
A woman preyed upon by corruption. A man who won't abandon her. An obsession that could destroy them both. As the threat against them grows and the questions multiply, they’ll have to trust each other—and their feelings—if they’re going to survive.
Type: Short Story
Heat Level: 3
Language Level: 3
Violence Level: 3
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