Last month I was invited to speak in Speculator, New York and share the writing process behind my Adirondack romance, Entrusted. What made it extra special was I spoke at the Lake Pleasant library, a place I used as inspiration in the book.
Once I finished sharing the process, guests lingered to chat. I came away encouraged and tempted to become like Jenna Anderson, the heroine, and pack it all up and move to the mountains once and for all. What encouraged me was hearing their stories about Adirondack life. Because I visit and don’t live there, it was important my research was accurate. They let me know I was right on track.
Here are some of my thoughts now that I’m back in Ohio:
1. Naming the village Speculator Falls instead of the real Speculator worked. It’s fictional and although I brought a lot of real experiences to Entrusted, having a fictional village gave me flexibility. They let me know my research was accurate and they appreciated that when I needed to embellish, it was okay.
2. Paying attention to the cover paid off. They loved the cover and felt it was Adirondack authentic. One woman felt she knew the exact location in Lake Placid where the picture originates. I explained that for some across the country, they see hills and believe they are mountains. My Speculator friends know the difference and were honest enough to say they would have called me on it.
3. They were so wonderful to share, but nervous to at the same time. More than once I heard, “You’re probably going to put this in your book…” What they appreciated was in Entrusted they couldn’t find anyone that was real and yet everyone felt like a real friend. I explained that I took everything I loved about Speculator and made composite characters. Each person in the story has something that reminds me of the people there.
On the flip side, I returned to Ohio full of mountain air and pleasant memories. I compiled video and pictures and organized everything for the Embrace Women’s Book Club featuring Entrusted. We had our first meeting last week and I had some reflections from the Ohio side, too.
1. The ladies find Adirondack life as peaceful as I hoped they would. From the tall pine trees to the lack of chain hotels and locals who stay year around, the readers in this book club were instantly enamored.
2. They immediately respected the people who choose to live there year ’round. We had a rough winter in Ohio but the Adirondacks saw temps as low as -40. I’ve been in Lake Placid in September when there was ice on railings. It is especially isolating in a winter as the one we had.
3. Everyone felt as loyal to the Adirondacks and the people as I feel. If I’d had a bus chartered and announced we were leaving for Speculator, everyone would have been on it. They understood the love for the woods and desire to protect them. Most couldn’t relate to living in a county where there were no traffic lights but they admired the literal frontierland.
And that’s where the summer will take us as a book club—a literal frontier land. Jenna leaves everything in Ohio to pursue a life without regrets. She wants to belong and with a non working GPS, inability to access Wi-Fi and constant conflict with the town grocer and councilman, it isn’t easy. Trying new things never is.
Have you ever visited a setting from a book? What observations do you have?