By Jennifer DeCuir, author of Drawn to Jonah
If I could live anywhere, I’d live in Hobbiton. Those rolling hills, all the gardens, the round wooden doors painted such cheerful colors. Don’t those Hobbits look like a happy bunch? I’m not sure whether to thank JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson for introducing me to such an idyllic paradise or curse them for creating a place I can never really hope to call my own.
When I was growing up in Southern Maine, I couldn’t wait to get away from small town life and move somewhere more exciting. I didn’t particularly care where I went. I just figured anywhere was better than where I was. I packed up my car and drove cross-country when I was twenty-four. I’ve lived in Los Angeles, San Diego, and now the Pacific Northwest, but not a day goes by that I don’t miss my hometown.
I was living in San Diego when I started my first book, several years ago. It didn’t even occur to me to set it there. I set it in a fictitious town based on my little seacoast town in Maine. Originally I had intended to build a series around a group of friends, but the town of Scallop Shores began to take on a life of its own. It’s my own little world, built from childhood memories and dreams of what my ideal town would be like. Is it identical to the town I grew up in? Nope. But it’s my hope that it is close enough that folks who knew me when I was living there recognize it.
I haven’t been back home in four years. It kills me to even say that out loud. But every time I sit down to write a scene set in Scallop Shores, it makes me feel just a little closer to my hometown. I still want to live in Hobbiton, but Scallop Shores will always be very near and dear to my heart. I hope the town and the characters from Drawn to Jonah make you want to stay and visit for a while, too.