First is the farm house to which my protagonist Nora MacKenzie flees.
“Ahead, perched high on her mountain overlooking the Vermont mountain ranges, was a sunlit terrace. And standing she spied the peak of the redwood and brick structure looming high above the purple heather. Next appeared the large, angular windows divided by a mammoth beam and lastly, the breadth of the house.” (pg. 43, "The Long Road Home")The inspiration behind the house described in the novel is a family home where I spent many of days as a young wife and mother, tucked away in the Vermont mountains outside of Manchester. A photo of the home is included in the book trailer posted on my website. It's at that home where I learned how to raise sheep, which happens to also be an important element of the story.
Spending time on the farm, I learned a thing or two about pesky porcupines, and I can handle my own when it comes to a shotgun. When you're living way up in the mountains, isolated from police or even a neighbor, a woman must know how to defend herself and her children, just in case.
I give a little nod to my German roots through the character Nora, who periodically reflects on the wise words of her Oma, or grandmother.
And the novel begins with a quote from one of my favorite poets, whom I studied in great detail in college.
“For he hears the lamb’s innocent call,What a wonderful experience it was to blend some of my life’s favorite things with the imaginative stories that lived in my mind for such a long time. As the expression goes, write what you know.
And he hears the ewe’s tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.”
-William Blake “The Shepherd”