Dispatch 8 - Inspiring Settings

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Readers of "The Harvesting" might wonder about one of my settings in the novel: the HarpWind Grand Hotel. For today's dispatch, and in honor of the approaching end of summer, I thought I would share my inspiration and give you a vacation destination!

Once, long ago, I thought I wanted to own a bed and breakfast. The idea still sounds nice, but life has evolved beyond that picture now. When I thought about names for my imaginary B&B, I ended up with a short-list: Lavender Fields B&B (on a lavender farm, of course), HarpWind B&B, and Green Earth Apothecary and B&B (herb farm). In cause you haven't guessed by now, I'm kind-of a hippy at heart. The name for the HarpWind was inspired by a pervious journey of the self, but the setting is inspired by a very real place: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

 
 
In case you have never heard of Mackinac Island, it is a small island in Lake Huron. Cars are not permitted on the island; you have to travel there by ferry. There is a small community in addition to the Grand Hotel. Here is a short video on the island: Visit Mackinac Island
 
In my novel, Layla and the others find themselves on a similar island, but in my book, the hotel is the only thing on the island. As well, my hotel is designed very differently. The HarpWind is more like a ski lodge than a stately Grand Hotel. I lived on the Great Lakes most of my life which inspired the setting for both Hamletville and the HarpWind. I always loved the mystery of the "what is on those islands?" in the Great Lakes.
 
I first learned about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island via a movie my mother loved titled "Somewhere in Time". The film was adapted from a story by the late Richard Matheson (who wrote Omega Man and I am Legend), the speculative fiction master who died within the last month.
 
The film is described by our good friends at Wikipedia thus:
  • Christopher Reeve plays Richard Collier, a playwright who becomes smitten by a photograph of a young woman at the Grand Hotel. Through self-hypnosis, he travels back in time to the year 1912 to find love with actress Elise McKenna (portrayed by Seymour). But her manager William Fawcett Robinson (portrayed by Plummer) fears that romance will derail her career and resolves to stop him.
It is romance, time travel, and some light scifi all in one. It really is a beautiful love-story. I loved the idea that the protagonist, Collier, had a moment of odd, time confused, retro-cognition when he comes to the Grand Hotel. Have you ever visited somewhere and felt like you'd been there before?
 
Here is a HQ ;) version of the trailer from 1980. Gosh, I hope they remake this film!
 
 
 

Inspiration comes from everywhere. In future dispatches, I look forward to sharing with you the many locations, people, and symbols at play in my writing.

For now, its time for a ROAD TRIP!!  Only 3 weeks until the end of summer . . . go to Mackinac Island (but watch out for the vampires!)



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