I didn’t have any huge topics to research before writing FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR, but dozens of little ones. First, Peculiar is a fictional town, but it had to be set in a real place, so I had to find out a lot about a particular region in northwest Florida, about 30 miles north of Tallahassee.
Second, each of the sisters had her background, so for Carlene I had to research Broadway singers and throat surgeries. Darlene required me to find some really good recipes, and Nolie made me learn all about Leonberger dogs (a pleasure!) and apron-making. And I enjoyed every minute of all of it.
|This is more Darlene’s thing.
|The house, Sycamores.
Oh, and the HOUSE. The girls’ home, Sycamores, is almost a character in itself, so I had to search out an actual (on paper, at least) house and map out the floor plan. So I bought a book of house designs and chose one–one that was actually called Sycamores. 🙂 It was a beautiful home, and fit my needs perfectly.
FIVE MILES SOUTH is mostly a character novel about relationships, so most of my pre-writing work was concerned with understanding who these women were and what they’d been in the past. I needed to know how their pasts had shaped them before I could chart a course for their futures.
If you’re reading this on Saturday and live near Mt. Dora, I’m signing books this morning at the Barrel of Books and Games. Would love to see you!
Tomorrow: The writing. 🙂