When Fiction Meets Real Life by Julie Arduini

Last month I told you how I finaled in a photo contest and was mortified because the process was through Facebook voting, and that meant marketing against other pictures.

Well, I won.

It was a great marketing test as potential readers of my contemporary romance books set in the Adirondacks came out and not just voted, but shared my plea and encouraged others to vote, too. The win was solid, and I’m completely grateful for the people who believed with me.

The prize was a 2 day stay at a lodge in Speculator, New York, where my first contemporary romance is based. I also received a gift certificate that I could use at the local grocery store, Charlie Johns, or the nearby Speculator Department Store. I was able to bring my mom and show her the area I love. We were able to spend quality time that we rarely have because I live 300 miles away.

I was also able to connect with my fiction characters in their own neck of the woods. It was a surreal experience.

Spectacular Falls is my first contemporary romance and it’s finished and under consideration.

Here’s a blurb:

Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl, plows—literally—into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?

The story is of course fiction, but based on real things.

  • Speculator Falls isn’t real, but an embellished village of what is, Speculator.
  • Jenna and Ben are my imaginary friends. Jenna is a compilation of people and has elements of me included.
  • I worked with senior citizens for over a decade. To me, Howard, Shirley, Dora, Roxy, and the other seniors are a composite of the volunteers I had the pleasure of working with.
  • Ben came to mind long before I was married, an Adirondack dream man of sorts I created while visiting Speculator. Fast forward 20 years and when I received the gift certificates, I realized the owner who manages Charlie Johns and other enterprises was probably the person with the closest job in real life that mirrors Ben. I’m sure he was wondering why I was looking at him, but I kept thinking, I think this guy is Ben, if only by job and manager of the store my fictional JB’s is based on.

Here are some pictures I took that led to other surreal moments where fiction and reality clashed. If you write, do you have those surreal moments too? I’d love to hear about them.

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In real life, this is the grocery store, Charlie Johns, in Speculator. In my fiction world, I visualized this when creating JB’s in Speculator Falls.









In reality, this is the view from the Melody Lodge in Speculator. For me, this is what I see when I write scenes from Ben Regan’s cabin home. When Jenna first visits, that’s what she sees off the porch and instantly falls in love. Her feelings for Ben? They don’t happen as fast as the surroundings. 🙂








It’s a beach area right in Speculator, but in this writer’s mind, it’s the view Jenna has when she visits her pastor’s home. The Reynolds family lives across the street, and see this every day. Isn’t it surreal?










It’s a trail in Speculator that they made sure was handicap accessible that leads to the Sacandaga River (I think!) I used this very place as where Ben and Jenna share a moment not long before the town council showdown meeting.

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged,) as well as the stand-alone novellas, MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her other latest release, YOU’RE BRILLIANT, is for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and is book 3 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, as well as monthly with Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to opt in to her content full of resources and giveaway opportunities.
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2 Responses to When Fiction Meets Real Life by Julie Arduini

  1. diannegsagan says:

    I use photographs of real places in my research when I write so that I can not only take myself there, but take my readers there. I think if I can see it that it helps take the reader there. I know that it was exciting for you to go where your novel takes place and walk there, smell the air, touch the benches, and talk to the real people who live there. Thanks for sharing this experience, Julie. Love the pictures.


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