My novel-in-progress takes place in two, distinct locations and time periods. I’ll use two, significant characters to help explain. Jenna Hickson lives in present-day New York City, and Sophia deKeith is living in 14th century Scotland. You may wonder how there can be a connection between the two, but there is. And… just in case you’re wondering – it’s not time-travel.
New York City
I was gently persuaded to use New York City as my present-day location for Jenna. I was hesitant and a bit resistant at first, but now that I look back, it was an excellent suggestion! With some dedicated research time and Google Maps, I found the perfect neighborhood for Jenna and her best friend Padma, and I was able to accurately help them navigate around NYC.
The next decision to be made was the location for Sophia’s 14th century Scotland. I’d made the choice early on that she and her family should reside in a castle. Why not? There are so many breathtaking castles there; I just needed to settle on one that would work for me and my characters. I knew for certain that I wanted it to face a large body of water – a sea or an ocean. It had to be big.
It Chose Me
I scrolled through endless Internet images of castles located in Scotland. They were all beautiful, with stories of their own to tell. Then, there it was. Dunnottar Castle, perched on an outcrop that faced the North Sea. There was no doubt in my mind; that castle had chosen me, and I felt like it was granting me permission to use it in my story. I purchased a book about the castle and researched everything I could find online. I am weaving historical facts into my story, including the deKeith name and some of the family members that lived at the castle back then.
Opening Paragraph Introducing Lady Sophia deKeith:
Sophia deKeith walked silently through the interior of the small, stone church, wondering if the ghosts of the English soldiers were watching her. William Wallace had trapped them inside and burned them alive in 1297; edges of the stone and the crevices between them still bore the blackened traces of fire and ash. It was part of the stone now, a permanent reminder of the horrors of war. Yes, England was the enemy, but these were men with families, homes, and loved ones whose lives were torn apart by what had happened here. They were all dead and gone, taking with them generations that would never be.
Until next time…