The setting for my first romance novel, Pockets of Wildflowers, is Nova Scotia, Canada. Why Nova Scotia? Because I’ve been from one tip to the other and around most of its shorelines. I’ve cut swaths across it from north to south shore and from north to eastern shore. I’ve bathed in its lakes, peed in its oceans, climbed its mountains and crossed its rivers. I’ve camped, skied, hiked, witnessed every season, endured extreme storms and survived its forests.
Writing a story about people in Nova Scotia feels like home. Everything is at my fingertips.
All this love and knowledge of Nova Scotia was great, but there was one thing wrong. I didn’t want to use an actual town in the province as the hometown for Olivia—the main female character. Some folks might think I’m talking about a particular person or a particular businesses in that town, and I didn’t want that to happen. After all, not everyone in the romance novel is a respectable citizen. In fact, they might be downright murderous. And there’s a business in town which doesn’t always put the health of its customers first.
The last thing I wanted was for someone to write and ask, “Is this so-and-so?” just because the story took place in that town. So, the town of Scarinish is completely fiction with fictional characters to match.
Scarinish is like many small towns in Nova Scotia. You’ll find a post office, bank (or teller machine), grocery store, liquor store, farm store, RCMP station, local hangout (which ever store that might be), corner store, barber, tavern, Tim Hortons, gas station and…the local gossip mill. You’ll also find farms, both small and large, on the outskirts.
The town is populated with every-day, down-home kinda people, including good-ol’ boys and bad-ass bastards you wouldn’t trust with your daughter or your wallet.
Scarinish fits well with other place names around the province. We already have Antigonish, Ingonish and Tignish. Scarinish is a Norse name. Skari means seagull and ness means point.
Welcome to Scarinish. Enjoy your stay.
Do you use real places in your novels? Or do you create a place to avoid the possible confusion between real people and fictional characters?