Welcome to Scarinish, Nova Scotia

Scarinish, Nova ScotiaThe 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.

And, well…I chose Nova Scotia—New Scotland—for another reason, too: I love it!Scarinish, Nova Scotia

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?

5 thoughts on “Welcome to Scarinish, Nova Scotia

  1. It makes perfect sense to use your home province as the setting of your book. It worked well for Jane Austen and so many others. It is wise to make up a town though. But don’t be surprised if people start looking for Scarinish on the map!


    • That would be awesome if people started looking for Scarinish. I double-checked my Nova Scotia map book to make sure it doesn’t exist. I found the name from a place on the west coast of Scotland while researching a genealogy column.

      I love putting my stories in Nova Scotia. This is the third in which I’ve done that, and there’s more to come.

      Thanks, Darlene.


  2. I really enjoyed reading about this new town you created. For the most part I use real places, and most of them are in Massachusetts where I was born, but do not currently reside. My debut novel (In Between Seasons) was the exception to the rule, for it actually takes place where I live now in Connecticut, but in 2034.
    I find it easiest to write about something I know, and as for the confusion with real and unreal–I haven’t run into this!


    • I’ve often used real towns, too, but in this particular instance, I felt it necessary to avoid controversy from the topic I chose to exploit. Farming, cows and biosolids can be a touchy subject for some, particularly to the cow farmers. I live in the middle of cow country, and not being a cow farmer myself, it might look like I’m targetting someone, but I’m not. The story just came out this way. As for the town, it’s typical of many small towns in Nova Scotia, so I’m quite familiar with what it may contain.

      Thanks, Cassandra for your comment.


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