No Place Like Home

By Jennifer DeCuir, author of Drawn to Jonah

Drawn to JonahIf 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.

5 thoughts on “No Place Like Home

  1. EllieWrites2

    I love stories set in small hometowns and your fictional town sounds like a winner! I grew up in the city of Chicago, and while we had a wonderful neighborhood, it’s just not the same.

  2. Becky Lower

    My sister lived in Maine for many years–first on Peak’s Island, then upcoast in Bar Harbor and Pleasant Harbor. When I wrote my contemporary, Blame It On The Brontes, I had a small version of Bar Harbor in mind as the setting. Maine is lovely, and I thoroughly enjoy books set in that state. You’re on my list, Jennifer!

  3. arickard

    I grew up in an Air Force home and moved around a lot. Being able to stay in one place and have a “home” town truly is a wonderful fairy tale story for me. Can’t wait to get a chance to sit down and get cozy in Scallop Shores!

  4. M.J. Schiller

    I grew up in St. Louis and it made its way into many of my books, as has my current location. We may live a number of places in our lives, but I think the place where you spend your “formative years” is always the place nearest and dearest to your thoughts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here today, Jennifer!

  5. Brenna Chase

    Hobbiton would be lovely. Or Imladris. It’s nice to have a special place you can go back to. I’ve never been to Maine, but my father-in-law is from Rangely, though he and my mother-in-law have lived in Alabama since I’ve known them. Anyway, great post.