I am working on interviews for my upcoming Tainted Blood blog tour (Oct 20, mark your calendars!) and one of the bloggers posed a question about my book locations. Do I make them up? It was a great question, and it’s stuck with me.
The short answer is no. Places I write about in my books exist or used to exist.
There really is a Coast Guard House in Narragansett (which, freakily, was badly damaged in the Hurricane Sandy after I wrote in its destruction in Hell’s Belle). NY System gets a mention in Tainted Blood. So does Haven Brothers. Babe’s bar is based on the old dive bar Babe’s on the Sunnyside, which is no longer. It’s still a bar, but now it is now much more fancy-pants.
I also research homes and apartments. For Nina’s apartment, for example, I looked for floor plans of lofts to come up with a layout that worked for her. This means I often spend a lot of time looking at real estate listings.
That’s how I found this beauty. Willimantic, Connecticut is home to Eastern Connecticut State University and a few miles away from UCONN’s main campus at Storrs. Even though it’s sandwiched between universities, it’s still a rather depressed town. It’s proximity to Boston and NYC made it a popular drug corridor, and it has the dubious distinction of being the Heroin Capital of the US.
It also has some amazing old Victorian homes.
I am working on a paranormal romance (not part of the Hell’s Belle series) that is set in the area. So I was trolling the real estate listings and came across this beautiful Willimantic home. Will the layout be exact in the book? No. I need an attached retail store (the listing says this has one, but damned if I can see it) and I need a parking lot/driveway, which this house doesn’t have. But the bones are there, and I love that it’s pink!
So, this place exists. And while it will be tweaked for paranormal fiction, it began as a real place.