One of my favorite things about being a writer is having the chance to live so many experiences through my characters. That includes living vicariously through different settings, whether it's a rural farm town or the heart of a bustling city. Here's where my writing journey has taken me so far:
1. Fairlane, Iowa (Beyond the Horizon)
I wrote my debut novel, Beyond the Horizon, during Covid lockdown in 2020. My family and I escaped the city during quarantine and took refuge in the countryside, where we were surrounded by natural beauty. The bucolic setting inspired me to pen a novel about a young woman who relocates to a peaceful Iowa town and takes on the duties of the farm she shares with her husband.
It was fascinating to research farming, a topic I knew virtually nothing about as a city girl. It gave me a new level of appreciation for all the real-life farmers out there who work tirelessly to feed their families and keep their passion alive.
Even though Fairlane is a fictional town, it holds a special place in my heart. Beyond the Horizon is a standalone novel (for now), but I might just revisit Fairlane in a future series!
2. Oak Plains, Pennsylvania (After the Music)
Even after I returned home at the end of lockdown, my love for small-town romance followed me back into the city. That's when I created the cozy, charming town of Oak Plains as the setting of After the Music. Readers have told me that Oak Plains reminds them of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, and I can see why! They both have a very similar atmosphere and the same tight-knit community where everyone always looks out for each other.
My favorite place in Oak Plains is Alcott Park, where the annual summer concert is held. It's a fun occasion where everyone in town gets together and watches budding artists perform—namely Bailey Flynn, the town's resident country star!
3. Oak Plains, Pennsylvania/New York, NY (Before New York)
Because BNY is Book 2 in the Oak Plains series, it naturally takes place in Oak Plains as well. In this book, though, the main character Eden leaves OP behind to restart her career in New York City. The dual setting is special to me as someone who grew up in a small town and moved to the city in her early twenties. As Eden chases her goals and builds a new life for herself in the city, she tries not to forget where she came from—something I struggled with too.
I'll try not to share too many details from this book, since it hasn't officially come out yet. But I do think this novel will resonate with readers from all walks of life, no matter where you come from or where you are in life. I can't wait until you all get your hands on Before New York in early 2024!
What kinds of settings do you enjoy most in the books you read? Let me know in the comments!