A fun part of writing has been the creation of a world within my book, The Portal’s Choice and one of the first steps in this process was to decide where Tallis Challinor and the rest of the characters in the book live. I decided to keep it easy and make the main setting close to home. My family and I live in a small town in Southern New Hampshire. I didn’t want to use a real town and then have to make certain that every detail in the book matched reality, so I created a town and named it Landry, New Hampshire.
How did I come up with the name Landry? First of all, I made certain that there wasn’t a real Landry, New Hampshire in existence. Then I looked for names of towns in New England and in England. I wrote down the ones that resonated, ones that sounded like they’d be pleasant, friendly places to live. And finally, I decided on Landry. Landry sounds like a safe, friendly place. No one would suspect that a deadly, devious group of spirits was hanging about a sweet, small town like Landry, waiting to do their worst. Whoo hoo, I had a name.
What does Landry look like? Like a quaint New England village, of course. There is a downtown with fun, local shops and a large, public park where the community can gather. There are forested areas in and around the village for cycling and walking. And there are quaint older homes, well-preserved and lovely to see. And of course, there are many old cemeteries.
I have to confess that I also used another small town as I created Landry in my mind. My husband and I lived in Lawrence, Kansas when I was in law school and I must admit that Lawrence is stuck in my head when I see Landry. Landry has a long, busy main thoroughfare and so does Lawrence. I even lived on that busy street, as does Tallis. And there is a fun downtown area with lots of fabulous shops and places to eat in Lawrence. Just like Landry.
What I realized as I created my setting was that, while every part of the United States has its differences, there are many similarities between small towns. And that is what makes each small town or village charming. But of course, each is unique as well. So, while Landry may be a creation based on New England villages and small Midwestern towns, in the end it is a place of its own, and the home of Tallis Challinor.