Why South Carolina?
Why not set my first novel in Kentucky, where I live? Or Florida? Or any number of places where I’ve been or would like to visit?
I chose South Carolina because in 2003 I visited there with my family and absolutely fell in love with the coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. North Litchfield Beach was where we stayed, and it is close to Pawley’s Island and Georgetown, SC.
The area has a large state park with beach access and an abandoned dwelling that was once owned by an artist. Across the main road is Brookgreen Gardens, a large botanical garden and outdoor art gallery. It is magnificent.
It is within easy access of shopping and tourist traps to the north, and historic Charleston to the south. If you’re fortunate enough to stake out a beach spot on the public beach, but close to the edge of the state park, you will have almost a private beach. It is amazing.
The other reason?
Honestly, it was a dream I had. I think it was a combination of that vacation and a re-watching of the movie “Rebecca,” based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.
The movie, and the book, starts with the line, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” and has been billed as one of the best “first lines” of literature. Hitchcock must have thought so, too, because he used it word-for-word in the movie.
In MY dream, I was walking around an abandoned plantation house in South Carolina. My main character, Sarah, has a dream much like this, and it sticks with her throughout her experience in South Carolina.
Isn’t it amazing how a place can stick with you? Have you ever visited a random place that simply spoke to you, and made you strongly consider living there?
It’s the stuff that dreams – and novels – are made of!