Kinsey Milhone lives in a studio apartment over her friend Henry’s garage. Travis McGee lives on the Busted Flush, a houseboat he won in a poker game. Holmes and Watson live at 221B Baker Street. The places are as iconic as the sleuths.
Wickeds, when you picked your sleuth’s home, what did you pick and why? Is it modeled on a real place or purely a product of your imagination?
Liz: The Victorian home Stan lives in is modeled on a real place – an adorable, mint green Victorian on the real town green around which I modeled the stories. Stan saw the house purely by chance and fell in love with it. She felt it really embodied small-town living and the new reality she wanted to create for herself. Plus the house overlooks the green, where lots of important town events–and gossip!–happen regularly.
Edith: When I first imagined my Quaker midwife, Rose Carroll and the Bailey family she lives with, I knew they lived in my house in Amesbury! It was built in 1880 for the people who worked in the Hamilton Mills just a block away. I love writing the scenes that take place at home. For my farmer Cam Flaherty, I’d seen an antique saltbox in the next town and that became her farm house. And Robbie Jordan lives at the back of her country store restaurant in southern Indiana, which is directly modeled on the Story Inn in Story, Indiana (about which I have written before).
Barb: Julia Snowden’s been in four published books and lived in three places. In Clammed Up and Boiled Over, she lives in her childhood bedroom at her mother’s house. The description of that house is kinda-sorta based on the dwelling pictured at left which is actually an inn in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. But it’s also, kinda-sorta based on that most romantic of houses to little girls from my era, the house Hayley Mills and her family move to in Beulah, Maine in the Disney movie, Summer Magic.
In Musseled Out, Julia lives in the little house by the dock on Morrow Island, and in Fogged Inn, she lives in the studio apartment over Gus’s restaurant. In the novella, “Nogged Off” coming October 25th, in the collection, Eggnog Murder, we even get to go to Manhattan to see Julia’s former apartment there.
Jessie: In my new Change of Fortune series set in Old Orchard, ME in 1898 the protagonist Ruby Proulx lives in her aunt’s hotel. The hotel is a small compared to the others in the area and Ruby’s aunt decides that in order to stay in business she needs to offer a special experience. She hires a staff of paranormal practioners like astrologers and mediums in order to cater to Spiritualists and other metaphysical enthusiasts. I’ve loved outfitting the hotel with a ladies’ writig room, a library and a seance room. I’ve imagined the Hotel Belden to look a bit like, and to be placed in the same spot, as a real building. Minnie’s Seaside Rest was built in 1896 by a Mrs. Charles Green as an affordable retreat for missionaries on leave from overseas.
Sherry: Sarah didn’t have a lot of places to pick from when she moved off base and into Ellington, Massachusetts during her divorce. But she found an apartment in a house that had been converted to a four-plex. The real house that I based it on doesn’t have a covered porch but I’ve added one. Her apartment is on the second story and overlooks the town common. I love when I go back to Bedford, the town Ellington is based on, people ask me which house is Sarah’s. Here it is!
Readers: What’s your favorite fictional house? Have you been to any of the places where we set our books – either the real town or the area where our fictional towns are set? Did you want to go find the protagonist’s home?