Ashten Falls, Maine is the setting for my small town romance series. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring this town, and this first day of the A-Z challenge, I wanted to introduce you to how I came to writing about this place.
First, I think it’s important to know that the setting for my series is what came to me, first. It wasn’t a character, or an idea, or a particular trope I wanted to write. Over time, and with the planning and writing of the books in this series, I’ve gotten a very clear picture of the place.
At the start of the series, which is Slow Ride, the heroine finds herself stranded on the side of the road. Her car has crapped out on her and she’s waiting for a tow. Some small town that had seen better days was not where Kyla envisioned herself ending up.
Early on, readers see a town suffering under the cruel control of a corrupt police chief. His criminal enterprise stunted the town’s growth, sending it from a once vibrant tourist haven to a place stifled by fear and shrouded in secrets.
Glimpses of the town’s warmth and friendliness are seen at times. The owner of the inn, where Kyla stays; Cooper’s best friends, Sam, Roger and Phil; Sarah, the bubbly chef, with big dreams, a kind heart and a painful secret; a paramedic trying to do the right thing; and others trying to find a little bit of light in the darkness surrounding them.
Local hangouts once included a music store, now barely managing to turn a profit; the cluttered bookstore where people go to find an escape from the drudgery of their every day lives. There’s a beach, though even in the warmest months it’s not a very crowded one; a pier that has seen better days and a nearby boardwalk where small businesses struggle to survive. A renovated warehouse, offering entertainment options to what seems to be a dwindling population, is one of the few businesses trying to find a spark of life in town.
How can a place like this survive? How can its citizens stay here, under the thumb of a violent, sick man? And even if he goes, who will take his place? Will it ever find something close to its glory days of fairs, festivals, and crowds of tourists, boaters, campers, and hikers? Can it ever come back to life and find redemption?
These are some of the questions I strive to answer throughout the Ashten Falls series. During the 2017 A to Z Challenge I’ll be introducing different locations and people through the backgrounds I’ve written and excerpts from current and future books in the series. It’s been a lot of fun to write, to explore, and to uncover the secrets the town holds. I hope you enjoy what Ashten Falls has to offer, and the characters who live there.