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.
The view from inside the cabin. All windows and no curtains–it’s that private!
Hope you enjoyed a little tour of Cedar Key!