My current work-in-progress, Lavinia, takes place in my home town, Valdosta, Georgia. I went back and forth between using the actual city name or a fictitious one. After doing some research on the pros and cons, I decided to use Valdosta as the name, and I have a few scenes that take place in some local venues. I don’t know about you, but I like reading scenes in novels about places I’ve been to or lived. It gives me a sense of being “in the know.” Although, there can be a downside if your readers find a mistake in a description of a place they know well.
The house my protagonist, Lavinia Sterling, lives in is based on my maternal great grandparents’ house, known locally as the J. T. Roberts house. My mother and grandmother grew up in this house. It’s currently owned by the Valdosta Heritage Foundation.
Lavinia’s house has been in her family since 1845 and was built by her great, great grandfather Nathaniel Sterling. She loves this house as much as I love my great grandparents’ house. She’s lucky she gets to live in her family home. I wish I could live in mine.
A party scene in the novel takes place at the local garden center building next to The Crescent, a restored neo-classical three-story residence built in 1898 by Col. William West.
Lavinia has a lunch date at a downtown restaurant, Steel Magnolias. I met a friend there for lunch recently and remembered I needed to take some photos. I didn’t want to disturb the patrons, so I only took one where no one was sitting. The food here is delicious!
After writing this post, I realized I have very few photos of Valdosta to share. I better go out and take some!