NEW WEEK NEW FACE – LESLEY ANN MCDANIEL
The Making of Crescent Cove: Creating a Fictional Beach Town
by Lesley Ann McDaniel
There’s something about a small town that makes you want to put your feet up and stay a while. At least, that seems to be the consensus among readers of romantic fiction.
So when I decided to write a series of stories centered around a seaside inn, it made sense to place it in a small town. And since I went to college in Oregon and have had a few getaways to that state’s magnificent coastline, that seemed like a natural place to build my fictional town.
People often ask me why I don’t set my stories in real towns. There’s certainly an appeal to that, particularly when you think about the marketing edge you would have in that community. But the scrutiny your stories would be up against by the locals—who have not only an intimate familiarly with their town, but a strong emotional investment in its being portrayed as accurately, yet positively, as possible—would be daunting. It’s hard enough being an author without creating that extra set of standards for your books to live up to.
And besides, creating an imaginary town is really fun.
In the first book in the series, TESTING THE WATERS, we get a view of the town through the eyes of our leading lady, Teresa, as she steps out onto the balcony of her room in the Inn at Crescent Cove:
Leaning on the wooden railing, she surveyed the busy lane that ran along this stretch of the ocean and served as the main thoroughfare of the town. The inn sat on the corner, its front door facing the intersection of this street and a cute little residential side street.
It had been a pure godsend that she’d called the Inn at Crescent Cove only minutes after a last‑minute cancellation had freed up their best room—second floor corner with a balcony directly over the front porch. Apparently this weekend happened to be one of the busiest of the year for this small coastal town, with some sort of beach festival going on. No wonder there was so much activity down below.
Do you feel the salty sea breeze brushing your cheeks? I hope so.
Later in the story, we get a little tour of the town as Teresa—who’s now pretending to be a French woman named Térèse—agrees to help inn-employee Curt find things about the town to recommend to tourists:
“Let me think. There are many things to do in this cute little town.” She slowed to look at a display of beach-themed home décor items in the window of the shop next to the bakery.
“How about that for starters?” He nodded toward the store. “Window shopping?”
“Shopping?” She gave him a raised-eyebrow look that suggested he was way off the mark. “Is that not what you would call a ‘girl thing’?”
“I guess it is.” He looked around. “And I guess watching baseball at Sluggers Sports Bar is kind of a ‘guy thing’.”
“Absolument. Ab-so-lute-ly.” She smiled. “We could perhaps include a nice restaurant.” She gestured toward a quaint old fashioned building on the corner.
Curt slowed as they approached the pale blue two-story structure. Regarding the plain but elegant sign above the door, which read simply, ‘Elite’, he nodded. “This place is supposed to be good.” Luke had mentioned it was worth trying. Since it was on the non-water-view side of the street, the food would have to be great if they wanted to draw customers.
He veered toward the window and looked at the menu posted there. “Our chef says they’re famous for their escargot and their wine selection.”
Her face puckered. “I do not eat ze snails.”
He chuckled. “And I do not drink ze wine.”
She giggled, and he breathed relief that she had taken his lame stab at a French accent in the spirit in which it was intended.
“Moving on then.” He scanned the area as they crossed the side street, wanting this process to be quick and painless. “Hey, there’s a tea room. How about high tea? That’s romantic, right?”
“Maybe.” She tipped him a playful look. “If you are ze queen of England.”
He shook his head. “See. This is why I need your help.”
In book two, OCEANS APART, we get the perspective of the owner of the inn, Lily, as she reveals a part of her future dreams to Matthew, one of her guests:
She led the way down the front porch steps and around to the yard in front of the inn. Once they got to the spot under the oak tree where the southern end of the cove came into view, she stopped and pointed up at the bluff overlooking the water.
“See that house up there? The blue one looking down over the cove?”
“Yeah.” His gaze trailed up to where she pointed. ‘That’s the house you want?”
She nodded. “I’ve had my eye on it since I moved to town. I drove up there one day to look at it, just out of curiosity. It doesn’t look like anyone’s lived there in a while, and it’s pretty rundown. I’d love to buy it and renovate it into my dream house.”
“Nice.” His tone sounded genuinely approving, like he believed she could actually do it. “Is it for sale?”
“No.” She moved around the tree and gestured toward the bench swing that hung from one of the lower branches and faced the street and the beach beyond. She sat on one end, leaving plenty of room for him on the other. “But if I could, I’d turn it into one of those sweet beach houses with high exposed-beam ceilings, mostly painted white. I’m sure it’s more than I’ll ever be able to afford, but wouldn’t it be great to…”
She let the thought drift off, like the breeze from the ocean might have carried it away. It was a dream, but the truth was, she’d be doing well to afford a little cottage on flat land with no view of the water. And even that would only happen if she saved every spare penny.
She sighed. “It’s fun to dream, anyway.”
I happen to agree with Lily. It is fun to dream!
And if you decide to take a little trip to Crescent Cove, I hope you have a great time. You can find these and the rest of my books on Amazon: amzn.to/1Wu6W7E
While earning a degree in acting at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, Lesley Ann McDaniel fell in love with theatrical costuming, and pursued that as a career while nurturing her passion for writing on the side. A native Montanan and a Big Sky girl at heart, Lesley now resides in the Seattle area with her family, three cats and a big loud dog. In her spare time (ha!) she chips away at her goal of reading every book ever written. Lesley loves to hear from readers.
Please visit her website at: www.lesleyannmcdaniel.com
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Lesley Ann McDaniel, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Testing the Waters, Oceans Apart