Settings set the stage for a story. Location is important for a multitude of reasons. In a way, a town is a big neighborhood.
When I was growing up, York, Pennsylvania seemed like a small town even though it wasn't. There were smaller towns within an hour or so of it--Gettysburg, Hanover, Lancaster. Whether parents thought it was big or small, as kids we felt it was just right. We had our neighborhood. I went to Catholic school and the rest of my neighborhood friends went to public school. We were together after school, playing at each others' house or all around the block with bikes. Especially in the summer, our garages were barns, ladders made horses' stalls, azalea flowers were food for pretend families. There were six of us who stuck together, three guys and three girls, and we were in and out of each others homes all summer long.
As I grew up, I realized our neighbors were true friends. My mother baked food and shared it as did other neighbors. When I was in high school my neighbor drove her granddaughter and me to school every morning and my dad picked us up. Everyone helped when there was a loss in the family or a crisis.
When I reached the age of ten, my mom let me ride the city bus alone. We rode it together every day to school or to go downtown where major stores were located. In the downtown area, my interests were simple--Beatles singles as they were released, clothes and the latest Nancy Drew books. I would take the bus, meet friends or my cousin, shop and eat lunch at the Bon Ton tea room. Or there was the Woolworth soda counter as an alternative.
When I was a teenager, a mall opened at our end of town. That became a new meeting place once we all began to drive. My first job was a sales position at Montgomery Ward's in that mall when I was on summer break from college.
York was the first capital of the United States. Also known as Yorktown in the mid 18th to early 19th century, it was founded in 1741 by settlers from the Philadelphia region. Downtown is historic and has many well-preserved historic buildings like The Golden Plough Tavern, the York Meeting House and the York Central Market. I remember going to Central Market which was a farmers' market with my mom or aunt, choosing fresh produce, baked goods and flowers.
The first book I had published by Meteor was set in York, as well as my first book for Silhouette. I felt grounded there, knew where everything was located and could describe it in detail. I found myself returning to York for HER SISTER for all those same reasons. I wanted to concentrate on what happened in the storyline, the emotions driving the Thaddeus family, and the background and feelings that came from the place they lived. My memories of my childhood played into Amanda's background and became alive again as I wrote.
Below you'll find some photos of York, Pennsylvania, the setting for HER SISTER. Another setting in the book, Pine Hill, a rural community near York, is fictional but based on communities surrounding York such as Loganville, East Prospect, Dallastown amd Red Lion.
|York Hospital before a parking garage under construction in this photo blocked the stately view.|
|The building in downtown York which housed the Bon Ton Department Store.|
|Entering the square in downtown York. The pillars of the historic courthouse can be seen in the distance.|
There are multiple settings in HER SISTER, including Texas and New Mexico. How does Albuquerque play to the setting mix? More about that in a future blog.
I'd love to hear about your hometowns and what they mean to you. Please feel free to share.
I'll be giving away HER SISTER, Book 7 in my SEARCH FOR LOVE series, on Amazon Kindle from April 14 - 18, Sunday through Thursday. If you enjoy it, spread the word to friends and family.
©2013 Karen Rose Smith
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