The best part of researching for a novel is taking day trips with my loving husband to explore and experience a place. Trying to imagine what life would have been like in a past era in a present location or house or, in this case, along a road.
The fictional haunted roadside inn in my upcoming new series, Fury Falls Inn, is situated along the Winchester Road that connects Huntsville, Alabama to Winchester, Tennessee. I invented a location and setting in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau in northeast Alabama. But was my fictional locale at least plausible? I don’t mind a little poetic license but I strive to stick as close to what’s plausible and possible as I can.
So we went for a drive one pretty Saturday afternoon not too long ago. As I drove up the current busy road, I noted that the road stays away from the hills, sticking to the flatter terrain alongside.
But then we came across the Old Winchester Road and it turned to hug the base of the hills close. So we turned to explore where the older road would take us. We followed it up into the low mountains with homes here and there and forest all around. A river ran along the valley, bisecting a crop field at one point.
We wound up and around and eventually came out at a T-intersection with another highway. By that time we had crossed into Tennessee which is beyond the boundary for the location of my series. So we turned around and headed back, deciding to turn again to explore the Mountain Road that took us up and over the ridge and down the other side. All the while that I was driving through the steep hills I was trying to imagine walking or riding horseback along a more primitive dirt/mud road. Or driving a wagon pulled by horses or perhaps leading a team of oxen over the hills.
We even came across a small waterfall but not as steep a one as I imagined in my book. But there are points along the foothills that could possibly have a waterfall if conditions were a little different.
All of this experience gave me more confidence in the plausibility of the location and setting I’ve used in the first story in the series. The brick and clapboard inn, the stable and corral, the mineral springs and water fall with a river running across the property. All are inspired by my research into 1800s farms and homesteads.
By the way, after doing a bit more research into titles for this genre, I’ve changed the titles. The first book is now called The Haunting of Fury Falls Inn (Fury Falls Inn Book One). I think that’s a more descriptive title that speaks to the entire storyline perfectly. Although I often struggle with what to call a book, let me tell you! Titles are hard to choose.
One last note. Starting this Friday, I’ll be sharing some guest author interviews with you all. I’ve invited some authors of all genres to share not only their latest release but also more about themselves as authors and readers. I hope you’ll find some new books to read and enjoy!
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