Wow, September is almost over.
I hope you are healthy and safe during this second wave of this annoying and seemingly redundant virus. I’m good to go. I wear my mask when necessary and, like my sweet dog, Bella, I’ve had my shots.
So, my novel, RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES (RC), categorized as historical fiction or southern mystery fiction, has gone to the publisher. I’m so excited and scared to death. It’s like really putting yourself out there. No more hiding and waiting. I sent the publisher my manuscript, a concept drawing for the front cover, a picture and a headshot to put on the back cover, and a few relevant pictures to put inside at the beginning of the Part Two.
RELATIVE CONSEQUENCES takes place in several locations: (1) Atlanta, Georgia; (2) Bonita Springs, Florida; (3) surrounding areas of Washington, D.C., and (4) Beaufort, South Carolina. The characters visit Atlanta and Bonita Springs more than any of the other spots.
Today, I’d like tell you a little about Bonita Springs, Florida. It is a beautiful town, which is only twenty minutes from the beach. Yes, I did live there for a brief two years when I was a small child. In a previous blog, I mentioned that while doing research several years ago (2016) for my book, I took a trip down to southern Florida. The day I met Martha Simons, the dear lady who helped me regain my bearings at the Historic Liles Hotel, was a lucky day indeed. She sketched a map of “old Bonita” for me. I took that image and expanded it, creating a more detailed hand-drawn map of what it was like back in the 1950s. I placed it on the back of the Part Two divider page. I hope that anyone who reads RC will be able to visualize scenes from time past. Check it out!
In Part Two of my soon-to-be-published novel, the main characters frequent several prominent destinations shown on the map. One in particular is Aunt Prissy’s Kitchen, the diner where they serve the best biscuits in town. That roadside restaurant resembles the diner my father owned and operated when I was a child. Below is a description of how Jessy, the protagonist, sees Aunt Prissy’s dining room.
“When Jessy shoved saloon-style doors into the heart of Aunt Prissy’s Kitchen, a rush of cool air from a window unit stroked her cheek. A soda fountain counter and eight red-vinyl topped stools occupied half the diner’s service area, with matching booths and chrome-edged Formica tables inhabiting the rest. Top-forty tunes played from a jukebox in the far corner.”
Another cited point on the above map, the Everglades Wonder Gardens, a popular tourist attraction, is another major location in the story. The attraction has been in operation since 1936. Take a look at their website at www.wondergardens.org.
A lot has changed in Bonita Springs since the fifties (the years reflected in Part Two), but some things never change—they just grow larger. For instance, there’s the Bonita Banyan tree. The huge tree stands at the corner of Old Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Childers Street and across the street from what is now the Riverside Park Band Shell (the baseball field in my memory). This tree plays a significant role in the story. According to the Bonita Springs Historical Society (www.bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org), the ginormous thriving and now-protected growth has been around since 1921. I remember the relic standing in front of The Pavilion (see the map) where the city held events and gatherings. They tore the Pavilion down later, replacing it with the Community Center.
If you’re ever down that way, visiting the beautiful Gulf of Mexico beaches in South Florida, drive down Old Hwy 41 and make a stop in Bonita Springs. Drive across the bridge that spans the width of the Imperial River, check out that tree down the block, and check out the shops and restaurants that keep the town thriving today.
Next time, we’ll talk a bit more about a few of the other characters in Relative Consequences.
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