One of the first things Lori and I did was book a trip to Maine. (She lives in Missouri, and I live in Florida. We didn’t exactly know a lot about our northeastern-most state.)
We booked a room in a charming Ogunquit bed and breakfast called “The Puffin Inn.” (See photo). And then we set out to explore the town. Not much of an agenda, really–we just wanted to soak up the atmosphere.
Ogunquit has a tourist area down by the shore called “Perkins Cove.” Lori and I spent a lot of time down there, snapping pictures and getting a feel for the terrain. We also went out on a lobster boat–my strongest memory of that experience is having a migraine. When the lobsterman came toward me, intent on showing me the difference between a male and female lobster up close, I lowered my head and muttered that I was going to throw up if he put that lobster any closer to my face. LOL! (That photo was taken on the lobster boat.)
Poor Lori, she was so compassionate with me–I think I had a migraine on and off for most of the weekend. Anyway, after our excursion–and after my headache abated–I took her to the “Lobster Pot,” a restaurant where you can pick out your lobster in the tank and then eat him. Lori had never eaten a whole lobster–and I doubt she ever will again. I tried to find my picture of her in her lobster bib, but it seems to be misplaced . . .
When we weren’t out taking in the town, we were back in our room at the Puffin Inn, populating the town of Heavenly Daze. Lori has a real knack for names–so that’s how Vernie and Bea and Cleta came to be. I wouldn’t have thought of those names in a hundred years.
We also set up the structure of the book. Since we live so far apart, we knew it wouldn’t be feasible to write “back and forth.” So we created seven buildings for the town, and decided that each novel would feature two buildings. Lori would write the story for the inhabitants of one building; I’d write the other. Then we’d get together–either at my house or hers–and we’d “merge” the two stories. We also knew we’d have to stick to a tight timeline, because Lori couldn’t have her story transpiring over three months if I had everything happen in one month.
So–we decided that each HD book would cover one month in the town. We actually plotted enough events to get the townspeople through an entire year, but our first contract was only for three books–three months.
We began in October, which is a lovely time of year in Maine. Tomorrow–the writing.