Have you ever read a novel set near where you live? While I really liked the exotic feel of Sanctuary for a Lady, my novel set during the French Revolution, I’m enjoying the ease of researching and writing a new story set a couple hours away from me.
Here’s some facts I’ve learned:
Northern Michigan’s copper mining boom produced more wealth than the California Gold Rush. Can you believe that? I nearly fell over when I read it. I mean, everyone learns about the California Gold Rush in history class, but who’s ever heard of Michigan’s Copper Boom?
The railroad came to northern Michigan nearly forty years after the completion of the transcontinental railroad. That’s right. In 1869, you could take a train from the Atlantic to Pacific, but you couldn’t take a train from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Superior until 1907.
Many towns along the Lake Superior coastline could only be reached by boat.
The Northwestern portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula gets over 200 inches of snow per winter.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was originally settled by loggers and miners who came to work in logging and mining camps in the 1840’s through 1890’s. This led to a large population of men and few women, similar to how the West had an overabundance of men and a small number of women.
One of the other great things about reading or writing a book set near you is you can take road trips. The story I’m currently working on is set in the small coastal town of Eagle Harbor, Michigan during the 1880s. Eagle Harbor is located on a little slip of land jutting out into Lake Superior. It had no train or telegraph, and due to the ice on the big lake and in the harbor, was only accessible to ships from April through November. The town was completely cut off from the rest of the country from December to March every year, when it got buried under several hundred inches of snow.
So naturally I took a road trip and found some pictures.
Now that I’ve told you about an interesting place for a novel around me, I’m curious about you. Where do you live? And what historical things occurred in your home area that would make for an interesting book?
A mother of two young boys, Naomi Rawlings spends her days picking up, cleaning, playing and, of course, writing. Her husband pastors a small church in Michigan's rugged Upper Peninsula, where her family shares its ten wooded acres with black bears, wolves, coyotes, deer and bald eagles. Naomi and her family live only three miles from Lake Superior, where the scenery is beautiful and they average 200 inches of snow per winter. Naomi writes bold, dramatic stories containing passionate words and powerful journeys.