So when I got the chance to be a part of the beautiful, rugged little imaginary town of Marietta, Montana, invented by the creative minds at Montana Born Books and Tule Publishing, I couldn’t resist
Writers from all over the globe have added to the population, real estate, geography and utter charm of Marietta, making it come alive so completely I can hardly believe I can’t rent a car and drive there!
My two novellas set in this town, THE SUBSTITUTE BRIDE and THE LONG WAY HOME, were so much fun to write, partly because, while I was writing, I was living there in my head. I can hardly keep from wanting to go to the closest real Montana city, just so I can imagine myself in my beloved little town.
It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve booked a ticket because I fell in love with a region through books.
The most expensive pilgrimage I’ve ever made to a place that didn’t exist was my trip a few years back to Cornwall.
See, I fell in love with Manderley, the doomed and haunted mansion in Cornwell that is the centerpiece of Daphne Du Maurier’s REBECCA, when I was about eleven.
From that moment on, Cornwall seemed like the world’s most magical place to me. All it took to make me buy a book was that word anywhere in the blurb. Du Maurier is the queen of Cornwall literature, of course—with My Cousin Rachel, Frenchman’s Creek, The King’s General, Jamaica Inn, and many other novels.
During my Gothic novel phase, I was always drawn to the Cornwall settings…of course. Victoria Holt was a treasure trove of brooding mansions overlooking stormy seas, inhabited by enigmatic masters. Swoon! I even love the look and sound of the Cornwall surnames…all those Pen-this and Mena-that.
Rosamunde Pilcher’s THE SHELL SEEKERS—among many—fed my hunger for more Cornwall, later in life.
And then nothing could satisfy me except to visit the place myself.
Luckily, His Highness is one of those guys who is part genie. If you have a wish, he’s never going to rest until he finds a way to make it come true. And so, one exciting day, we found ourselves flying to Cornwall. He’s never read REBECCA in his life, but he went with me to Fowey, where Du Maurier wrote the novel, and spent hours and hours looking up every location for every scene he knew absolutely nothing about.
And you know what was really cool? While we were there, he discovered an old manor house that belonged to the Treffry family—which was his grandmother’s maiden name. So apparently, when I was picking the guy I wanted to live my life with, Fate drew me to a man with Cornwall roots! (And, in self-defense, I did also trek with him to Wimbledon while we were in England. That’s the place I suspect many of his dreams are set. :) )
How about you? Have you ever visited a town or a country primarily because you had loved a book or movie set there? Do imaginary places come to life in your heart? Leave a comment for a chance to win one of my books!