My first novel, Vanishing, Inc., is set in a fictional mountain town in Arizona called Ponderosa. I live in Flagstaff, a not-so-fictional mountain town in Arizona that makes an appearance in my story, but since I’m writing a paranormal romance (a time travel romance, to be specific), I wanted the freedom of a fictional setting. I don’t want some overly-literal reader leaving me a one-star review because there are, in fact, no time portals in Flagstaff.
Hey, you know it could happen. I’m sure plenty of tourists have walked through standing stones in Scotland and become very grumpy because they did not immediately find themselves in the arms of a lusty Scottish outlaw. BTW, how cheap are airline tickets to Scotland these days? Asking for a friend…
But I digress.
Now, where were we? Oh, yeah–Ponderosa, Arizona, which exists only in my manuscript. But you’ll love it, I promise. Especially since it involves a lusty Arizona outlaw.
It also involves the unique landscape of the Northern Arizona mountains, which I’ve been lucky enough to call home for the last 6 years. Now that my world has shrunk to the size of my yard (thanks, Microbe that Must not be Named), my explorations have been a bit limited. But last week I got to take a trip! Go on a journey! Where did I go, you ask?
I took my husband to the dentist.
It’s a thrill a minute around here, I tell ya.
His dentist’s office is in one of Flagstaff’s historic neighborhoods, so I took myself on a mini photo safari while he got his tooth fixed. The primary setting in Vanishing, Inc. is a stone cottage built in 1890, so I paid particular attention to old stone houses. Like this one:
I’ve been fascinated by stone houses since I was a kid. I suppose they remind me of the fairy tales I read over and over in elementary school. We have a lot of rocks around here, so old stone houses are fairly common, but I still find them magical. Look at that texture! At the contrast of textures! And can’t you just picture that house with a time portal in the basement? C’mon, use your imagination…
Take away the modern windows and modern roof, and this one would make a great location for a time portal:
I love how the stone makes the house fit into the landscape like it’s always been there.
Besides writing, I’m obsessed with gardening, so I took lots of pictures of plants and yards, especially where there were contrasting textures. Like this:
And my favorite picture of the day. Look at that wonderful old stone wall! and those red buds popping out of the shade! I can picture my main character stumbling over that wall in 1910, on her way to even more trouble.
And it’s spring, so I couldn’t resist the flowers. Here’s forsythia:
And sand cherry blossoms:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little trek into my world, both real and fictional. I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful, magical place, but beauty and magic can be found anywhere. I hope you’ll take the time to find some of your own.