Even though I live close to a medium-sized city, Youngstown, Ohio, I’m a country girl at heart. I’m originally from Upstate NY where it took us 30 minutes to travel anywhere. Grocery store. Doctors. Church.
With my Surrendering Time Series, I wanted to bring my favorite place to readers. Although I don’t get to visit as often as I like, the Adirondack Mountains are peace to me. If someone offered me a trip to Hawaii or the Adirondacks, I really think I’d take the mountains! The specific village I love most, Speculator, is where my dear friend from college and her family reside. It is where we honeymooned and where I based ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED (due later this year.)
Speculator Falls is fiction and the biggest compliment I received was when an Adirondack reader read ENTRUSTED and went to Google Maps to find Speculator Falls. They said I wrote it so authentically they thought they missed the village all their years in the mountains. I loved creating my characters in the county that in real life has no traffic lights. The original Speculator has one stop sign at “The Four Corners.” I was told that when the census bureau labels the area, it is still considered frontier. I love that!
Using a small village gives great conflict for the characters, too. For Jenna Anderson, she moves to Speculator Falls from Youngstown, Ohio and her car is not equipped to handle the winter. Carla Rowling needs extra help as a single mom because her cosmetology school is more than an hour away during the harsh winter. Trish Maxwell was the mean girl in ENTRUSTED, and she’s the heroine in ENGAGED. She left Speculator Falls and her job as senior center director when she got a job in New York City. She’d never made a secret for her disdain for the mountains, so when she loses the dream job and has to move back home, she’s got a lot to figure out, and a lot of apologies to give.
Speculator Falls truly has heart. There might be squabbles between the senior citizens or mogul Kyle Swarthmore and local grocer Ben Regan, but if someone is in trouble, they unite and pitch in. In ENTANGLED, Will Marshall is one of the people who makes himself available to teenaged Noah Rowling when Carla is at school. Ben and Jenna are there to help out, as much as Carla makes sure she’s in town to help Jenna with wedding plans. That’s country living at its best.
I know a lot of readers who enjoy city settings. But me, give me a quaint village where residents drive to the library parking lot to connect to Wi-Fi anytime. Yep, another Speculator true story!
Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her website, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.