One of the nicest things I hear about my books is that the setting becomes a character. Where a book takes place is very important to me, and to most readers, methinks—we like to read about places we’d love to visit or live. Robyn Carr’s latest series, for example: Thunder Point, the small town on the awe-inspiring Oregon coast. Escapism at its best.
I’ve always written books set in places I’d love to live—the northern coast of Maine, or a tiny island in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, or a scruffy, charming town in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. But for THE BEST MAN, setting became even more important: this would be my first series, so I’d be thinking about this place for a year and a half of my life (or more. And so, the Finger Lakes, specifically Manningsport, New York—a fictionalized version of Hammondsport, the coolest small town in America, according to Trip Advisor.
The Finger Lakes region of New York is classic America: rolling farmland, beautiful lakes, white steeples and red barns, 300-year-old cemeteries woven with lichen-covered gravestones. Small towns dot the edges of the lakes, and vineyards abound, rising up from the shores into the gentle hills. Farmers-turned-winemakers keep the region connected strongly to the land; many farms have been in the same family for six or seven generations, as is the case with Blue Heron, the vineyard owned by the heroine’s family in THE BEST MAN.
The town itself is a village, really, snuggled up at the base of the Crooked Lake, Keuka. The tiny green is ringed with brick buildings that house shops and eateries. The library and town hall and a stone church complete the downtown. It’s only about a block, but so much goes on there.
Manningsport was definitely a place I wanted to stay awhile. I hope you’ll feel the same way!
I’d love to hear what you like to see in a book’s setting—is it the view? The town? Mountain or seaside, east coast or west?
Thanks for coming by today!