Introducing Cedar Key–a New Setting for Adventure

Happy Sunday! It is raining so hard here in bucolic Auburn, Alabama, that I have suddenly developed lakefront property (as in, my back yard is a lake of standing water). The dogs are snoring downstairs, and it’s a good day to get a lot of work done!

First, though, I wanted to share a place I daydream about. I’m not a beach person. I mean I am seriously not a beach person. If I get too much sun without sunblock, I break out in a rash. The glare of sunlight on sand hurts my eyes. I don’t like being hot. I don’t like crowds. Well, you get the picture.

I do love the ocean, though. The sound of the waves. Being near the water. So on a whim last September, while driving back from a book event in Florida, I stopped for an overnight stay in Cedar Key. And I knew I’d have to set a book there.

It’s what I imagine Florida looked like in the 1950s. It’s a small chain of islands about three miles off the coast of western Florida, southwest of Gainesville. For reference, here’s a map:

I write kind of like a monkey using a mouse, don’t I? Gonna have to work on that!

Anyway, I fell in love with the place. It’s a tiny little village on the main island of Way Key, and my friend and I rented a tiny little cottage that backed onto the water with a private dock. Palm trees and huge live oaks dripping with Spanish moss filled up most of the yard leading to the waterfront, and on a spit of land across the cove behind the cottage, we could see great white herons foraging for fish. Overhead, ibis traveled in v-formations.

Cedar Key is the setting for the first half of LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP, which starts its eight-week run as a Kindle Serial on December 30. (If you want to preorder, the first episode will automatically download to your Kindle or Kindle app on that day.)

I used a fictional marina and bar in which to set major scenes, but kept the layout of the town the same. The cottage that my heroine, Gillian, rents is the same one I stayed in on my short visit last fall. Here are some shots. In a day or two–when my Internet service gets straightened out and doesn’t constantly disconnect me–I’ll post a video so you can hear the sound of the wind rustling through the big live oaks and palms.

 An aerial view of Cedar Key’s main island, Way Key.

“Downtown” Cedar Key.

 The tiny little cottage is probably no more than 500 square feet!

 A pier leads off the back yard far over the water.

 Ibis fying overhead.

 Huge live oak in the back yard.

 Gorgeous sunset!

The view from inside the cabin. All windows and no curtains–it’s that private!

Hope you enjoyed a little tour of Cedar Key!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

11 thoughts on “Introducing Cedar Key–a New Setting for Adventure

  1. you definitively sold me now and i’m glad to see the description frm the first chapters and teh result in my minds were so close to teh real thing ( i was afraid i got it wriong) it’s really gorgeous and for lovers of ocean sound like the perfect place

    thank you for sharing the picture and source of inspiration with us! ( now if the postal service could deliver NOW i would be rassured and even more relaxed and happy because those pictures does relax one so teh real thing is just perfect….)

  2. Ok, now I need to stay in that cabin! What a view! No wonder it lead to inspiration your book. How did you ever get yourself to leave it?

  3. Really enjoyed the pictures. Somehow I thought Lovely, Dark, and Deep was set on the ocean side of Florida fun to discover it’s on the gulf side.

    • LOL–I should have set it on the Atlantic side–it would have made it easier for my characters to sail to Nova Scotia! But I wanted to use a place I had been…well, not that I’ve been to Nova Scotia. I want to, though 🙂

  4. Who cares how big the cabin is with a view like that? It looks gorgeous. I do look forward to the new book Suzanne, will it be published as paper later on?

  5. Thanks, everyone, and Happy Christmas Eve!
    Aurian, yes, Lovely, Dark, and Deep will be out in paperback and audio after its serial run. I don’t have a date yet, but my guess would be early March. Thanks!