The day we arrived in Charleston she was underwater, as she often was, after every drenching summer rain. It was disconcerting, dodging the hordes of tourists, umbrellas braced against the downpour, winding our way around knee deep water at every intersection. Charleston, I’d thought, would be a proper setting for my story, rich with history and culture, but looking around at the drenched crowd, now I wasn’t so sure. Scouring the travel logs, it had seemed far more exotic than rural, dusty Ohio (although the two ended up melding seamlessly into not dissimilar small towns).
Charleston, it turned out, had everything I was looking for, and I was hoping for just a little bit of this city to rub off on me, so I could take it home and pour all her little details back into my story. I hadn’t expected the cobblestone streets, or the crushing crowds, the smell of horses mixed with sweat, or how close the stately mansions were to the Battery. Or how close the ocean was to everything. Experiencing this first hand changed everything in the book in subtle ways. In better ways.
I discovered some great new settings for book two; King Street shopping area was trendy and busy and I’d have never thought to include it in a book unless I’d actually walked up and down it. Standing on the Battery at sunrise helped me fine tune my character’s reaction during a confrontation she had on that very site. The wedding cake antebellum mansion, now a B & B on Meeting Street, turned into perfect house for my bad guy, while driving the roads north of the city helped me create a realistic travel timeline for my heroine. The smells, the feel, the taste of the city all were translated, in some small way, back into the book. None of which would have been possible sitting at my desk.
Now the only question is how soon until I can go back?
Happy writing and traveling! -L