Small towns are full of unique charm, heartwarming characters, and even some mystery. Four authors have come together to bring insight into what has inspired the small town settings in their romance novels. Find out what makes each of these settings so unique, then pick up a copy so you can experience all the heartwarming charm for yourself!
While I did attend church as a kid in St. Clairsville, Ohio, I actually didn’t base the name of my fictional town on that; instead, I created the name from two unrelated influences. One, I just love towns named after women. I feel like it gives the location a soul somehow. One of my favorite movies, Super 8, took place in the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio and it was filmed in a city where I used to live. And Bethany, West Virginia is near where I used to go to school. Once I zeroed in on picking a woman’s name, I grabbed the St. from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri where I have family and picked a name that sounded good with the prefix.
And that was that! I took a bunch of pieces from my past, mixed them with things I love and the town of St. Claire took shape.
I drew heavily from my own hometown, Prairie Grove, Arkansas, when I created the small fictional town of Shady Springs. It’s a lovely place with a lot of history. We have loads of antique shops, some cute restaurants, and a Civil War battlefield. When I was a kid, there was only one stoplight in Prairie Grove, but they’ve since added a few more.
The fictional town of Shady Springs has a couple additional restaurants: a sandwich shop and a diner. I also changed the park in the center of town from a battlefield to a natural spring. We have plenty of those in Arkansas, so it wasn’t a stretch. What I worked to capture is the small-town feel in Prairie Grove. I always loved how we’d see someone we knew everywhere we went. The people there truly care about each other and support each other. A Summer in Shady Springs is my debut novel, but I’d love to bring the town to the page again someday!
Summer Creek is a fictional town that was inspired by a real town. Outside of Charleston, South Carolina, there are two suburban towns north of Charleston. Goose Creek and Summerville. Locals sometimes call the two towns, whose borders overlap,
So, in the Summer Creek series, I take the liberty of having my characters visit restaurants and locations in both towns under the guise of one. The first book in the series, Christmas Confusion, had the heroine, Tiffany, teach first grade at Summer Creek Elementary, but date night took place in Charleston and, if you read Christmas Confusion, you may recognize the Christmas Lights Festival shinning on from nearby James Island.
The second book in the series, Sweet Summer, released on July 6th. In that book, Shelby, Tiffany’s youngest sister, works on King Street in downtown Charleston, but drives north to babysit for the middle sister, Emma. Getting to know her hero takes her to Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms beaches.
The Charleston area has so many beautiful places!
I don’t have any photos of Charleston, but here are 2 from nearby. One picture is of the Isle of Palms from the rooftop of a restaurant and the other is Sullivan’s Island looking across the Inter Coastal Waterway at sunset. I took both of them so forgive the lack of professional perfection, but ah, I love God’s creation!
I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter. The August newsletter will include a free short story/novelette of Tiffany’s wedding to Nick Walsh! Yes, the happy ever after!
In my novel Snowbound in Winterberry Falls, Christmas is celebrated for the entire month of December. The town is transformed from the everyday into a winter wonderland where the Christmas spirit is alive and well. Competitions, special exhibits and all kinds of seasonal fun can be enjoyed by all. The Merry Month of Mistletoe is one of the quaint mountain town’s tourist appeals.
This festival isn’t contrived. It actually exists!
Very Merry Middlebury is a month-long Christmas festival celebrated in the town of Middlebury, Vermont. The town is located in Addison County, in western Vermont. It’s surrounded by the Green Mountains and became the perfect inspiration for a small town romance!
As for the town`s Christmas charm, my inspiration comes from Canada’s oldest city, le Vieux Québec (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada). Visitors are treated to the pages of history as they explore the narrow cobblestoned streets and enter through the gates of the fortified city. Quebecers know how to do Christmas! Festive window displays compete with the city’s old world charm, decked out in twinkle lights, garland and everything Christmas.
What do you get by merging the old world Christmas charm of Québec and the festive spirit of Very Merry Middlebury?
Why, Winterberry Falls of course!