When I decided to submit to Love Inspired I knew it would be a good idea to create a three book series and set it in a small town. I started by selecting a nearby small Mississippi town as my prototype. It was a typical turn-of- the-last century town – stately courthouse in the center of town flanked by rows of stores and businesses housed in charming brick buildings. I gave the town a special landmark. An historic bandstand gazebo that had become the symbol of the city.
I named it Do Over. Where second chances happen every day. The name morphed into Dover by the time I actually submitted the book. But any way, I had no idea how my little town would grow and how complicated it would become with each book. As I was writing on Book 1 I started to realize I needed certain locations to make my story work. I already had the gazebo in the courthouse park, but suddenly I needed a hardware store and a pizza place. And later a park with walking trails. Then I had to create another neighborhood for the hero’s family. Oh and a pharmacy.
Book 2 demanded new places. An old jail, a Victorian home in need of restoration. I added a ministry to the story that helped with repairs for those in need. That meant creating another neighborhood. My heroine decided she wanted to buy an old building downtown – had to create one. My couple had to finish their project in time for a big event – yep. Had to invent one – The Founder’s Day Festival. Complete with hot air balloons. Oh yeah and an old plantation home. It is the south after all. J
Love Inspired gave my series a name – Home to Dover and three more books. And boy has my town grown. It’s really fun, but I’ve had to start a file to keep track of what I named the stores and churches. With each story Dover has become more and more real to me and hopefully to the readers. I now have two churches, a deli, a café, a tea room, and a motor lodge. Book 3 had to have a lake and some cabins, along with a police department. Book 4 takes place inside Latimer’s Office Supply. I added more stores and burned down a building and created another event – the Annual Sidewalk Sale and Catfish Cook-off. Dover gets a new library in the next book and I get to reuse many of the places I’ve already created like the family park and the Senior center.
Dover has evolved into a charming and fun place. I’m inviting you to come and visit. You can take a tour of many of the places in Dover and the scenes from the books on my Pinterest boards. I have one for each book.
I hope you’ll stop by and visit Dover, Mississippi. I think you’ll like the people there. In my next post I’ll introduce you to some of the families and the characters in town and tell you how the town got the name Do Over.