Getting the Location Right

For me, one of the hardest parts about starting a new story is deciding on a location. You'd think it would be easier, considering I write stories set during the American Colonial and Revolutionary periods. The number of cities I have to choose from is far fewer than it is for my contemporary peers!

Le Chevalier
Still, how each colony/state reacted to the revolutionary fervor differed. When I Le Chevalier (set in Philadelphia just prior to the British invasion) the setting can have a definite impact on the path the story takes.
write, I tend to create a storyline first and then choose a setting that supports it. Oftentimes, as in the case of

My favorite setting so far was Rhode Island. I loved having a chance to play up the colony's rather uncooperative nature in Willing Love. I even had an opportunity to have one of my characters refer to it as Rogue Island, a derogatory name that stems from its unwillingness to cooperate before and after the Revolution.

Caution to the Wind
I took the "easy" way out with Caution to the Wind and its sequel, Cupid's Arrow  (due out in February 2016). These two stories were predominantly set on ships. I out the quotes around "easy" because, while it's relatively easy to consult a guidebook to reacquaint oneself with the coastline of Rhode Island, what does it actually feel like to be on a tall-masted ship at sea? Luckily, other writers have paved the way, so I read voraciously. Plus, I was able to tour the Pride of Baltimore II at a tall ships festival in Duluth, MN.
Cupid's Arrow
Coming soon!

I have my latest work sketched out and have started writing. In this draft, it takes place after the Coercive Acts but before independence is declared. Getting the exact time period right can be even harder than the location. I want the setting to be tense, but I also want it to be a time when 'independence" isn't top of mind for everyone. Certainly, there is no "war" at the moment.

For context, I should also mention that my heroine was raised up in a royalist family, although she's more led by her heart. My hero is a rebel, but has a secret which shall be revealed in due time.

Anyway, for location, I'm thinking of Delaware. Maybe Wilmington. Delaware didn't see much action during the Revolution, but it was close enough to Philadelphia that you just know the people had to have strong feelings. I'm looking forward to learning more about their role as I complete my initial research. If you know of good revolutionary-period sources, I'd love to hear about them.


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