Monday, November 2, 2015

Inspired By Place: 16th Century England meets Small Town, USA

Hatfield photo borrowed from:

Here at the alley we are spending the next couple of weeks talking about places that inspire. I took this assignment rather literally as I am going to share my latest inspiration for my newest novel, Goodnight, Lizzie.

I have been all caught up in 16th century England for the past three years, but more and more, I also find myself inspired by
every day beauty as I live life in my part of the world.

So with NaNoWriMo in full swing, my brain worked in overdrive to think up a great story to whip up in a month.

Usually, I am one who decides on "place" first...guess it's the Landscape Architect background or my love for traveling...or my historical bent that calls for a rich setting...

I decided this year, I'd base my story where I've been living lately...Small Town USA, but still weave it with my great love for history and Elizabethan England.

(Maybe one of these days I'll share exactly how I am going to do that...let me get a few chapters under my writer's belt.:))

Whether it be a large, mysterious castle, or a tiny coffee shop in the Midwest, the most important thing that inspires me is that life can be lived out there, and I can play "dolls" with my characters for a good long session of make-believe. If I can visualize life lived out, then I can write it on the pages. Glad I can hop in my car and drive just down the street for a good gulp of research--perfect for the time crunch of NaNoWriMo, huh?

So, how did you come up with the setting for your novel? Or, what's your favorite place to go find inspiration?

Happy 2nd Day of NaNoWriMo!

Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written six historical novels and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one-sheets and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check her personal blog at and connect at:
Twitter: @angiedicken


kaybee said...

Good morning Angie,
The novel I'm shopping around now is an Oregon Trail story, and I think the setting chose me. 400,000 people made that trek and every one of them had a story. And What If my heroine and hero were two people with a history who were thrown together on the trail and had to make the best of it for 2,000 miles of danger, death, deprivation and sometimes boredom? You got it. I could probably do Oregon Trail stories for the rest of my life, and every one would be different. The sequel to the Trail book happened naturally -- what was life like for the settlers after they Got There? What was life like in the Promised Land?
Good luck with NANO. I'm not doing it this year, got other projects to finish and know my limitations.
Kathy Bailey

Angie Dicken said...

The Oregon Trail is so intriguing! I have a synopsis for a story based on that part of history. Isn't it great when you can dig into a storyline and see new stories sprout from it in the future? That's how I feel about my 16th century novel...I have already written a short story based on the main idea, and have several other short works, and novels that can sprout from it!
I decided to try my hand at contemporary for's been fun so far!

Thanks for stopping by, Kathy!

Anonymous said...

What an intriguing novel idea. ;) (Pun intended)
I love writing about places I've been or am super familiar with. Have so much fun with this new novel!

Robin E. Mason said...

when i was writing my first novel, Tessa, and getting to know the characters, i became aware that her mother was from western New York state, then moved to NYC—i've never been to New York, state or city, in my life. so i set to my (google) research. I created what i think was a believable town (2 towns actually)based on google earth.

a bit different with the generational family home, which much of the sequel takes place in—set in a real town in WV, i took literary license with some of my setting. again, i've never been to WV except to travel thru it on the way to DC—when i was maybe eleven years old! lots of google research, and input from a couple of writer friends who live in or are from the state!

oh, and how did i come up with these settings? the characters told me so.

Unknown said...

Great post, Angie! I'm all about location when I write. When we were stationed in Georgia (Fort Benning), I fell in love with Callaway Gardens and Pine Mountain. So when my first story idea and story people showed up in my head, I knew exactly where to put them. I've lived in famous lovely places, but I like to write about the lovely places most people don't know about.

Rock NaNoWriMo! :)

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks, Meghan! I have loved it so far!!

Angie Dicken said...

Robin, Love how connected you are to your characters! It sounds like they take you all over the place! ;)

Angie Dicken said...

Patricia, I think much of my inspiration comes from traveling around as a child when my dad was in the military. My love for British History definitely comes from being stationed in England for four years as a child! Thanks for your encouragement!!