Do You Insert Real People or Places in Your Stories?

I did only in Tall, Dark and Damaged. I created the setting based on my seven-year-old memories of my grandparents’ home in Winnetka, IL. Read some of those details in this excerpt.

The mansion in the novel is an exact replica except for adding the art galleries, theater and First Edition library. All the other rooms, decor, gardens, orchards, fountain, etc., are real. The spiral back staircase to get to the kitchen used to creep me out, the thunderstorms really did sound like cannon fire against the cliff and the stormy Lake Michigan waves pounding against the cliff made the house shudder. The stone staircase to descend to the beach really was dangerous, narrow and slippery and the boathouse WAS carved into the cliff, halfway down, and shaped like a miniature castle!

My great-grandfather, Clayton J. Howel did, in fact, invent Orange Crush. And yes, he also sold the patent for very little money, just like Devon’s great-grandfather.

As for inserting people, I didn’t base any of the characters on anyone in particular, but my siblings and I had a nanny when we lived in England named Gwen Farlow, so that became the cook’s name. Moore and Morrow (the art restoration firm’s name) and Walter,  are also names of family or friends.

If there’s a particular scene in the book you’d like to know more about feel free to ask me!

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