The plan for my novel, House of the Blue Sea, was that it be set in Spain. Problem was, I`d never been to Spain and, at the time I was starting on the initial draft, I couldn’t see how I’d be visiting there anytime in the near future. I had a dilemma. Then, one day, driving home from another inspiring writing class with Rona Altrows, it came to me … Mexico! It had the elements I was looking for in a location: warm during Canadian winter, oceanside, exotic, Spanish-speaking, romantic, and I’d been to Mexico–twice! On top of that, it lent itself to an interesting addition to my main character’s backstory … she doesn`t fly.
Ever since she’d written a report on the Mediterranean in junior high, Sandra had wanted to visit Spain, but when she swore off flying in her early twenties, she gave up the idea of travel to Europe, unless she wanted to drive across North America and take a boat over the Atlantic.
Merriam-Webster says that home is, quite simply, “one’s place of residence”. But, it also says that it is “a place of origin” or “a familiar or usual setting”. By these definitions, we each have more than one home. For me, there’s the place I reside, 20 acres on the Alberta prairie, and there’s the place I come from, the Peace Country of northeastern British Columbia. The third definition, “a familiar or usual setting” opens the door pretty wide.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been going to Frieda’s place. Frieda is my aunt, my mother’s older sister by eight years, and Frieda has always been a part of my life.
When I was a child, many summers we travelled to Frieda’s in Kamloops, BC from our home in Charlie Lake in the northeast corner of the province. My mother at the wheel, we’d make the trek in two days, stopping to camp somewhere along the way in whatever unit we had that year, a tent (or two), a small trailer, and there were varying configurations of the family unit depending on which of my older brothers were not yet old enough to avoid family holidays like the plague. Continue reading →