When Real Places Become Imaginary
When you write a novel, you create a world where your story resides. Very often these places have their roots in real locations which are stretched, customized and painted to suit your story and characters. Destiny Falls, the place where my series takes place, has its roots in some of the island cities near where I live.
The Pacific Northwest is home to one of the most glorious collection of islands called the San Juan Islands. I once spoke to a fishing captain who had traveled the world, including the south Pacific, The Maldives, and the Greek Islands. He was retired and moving to the San Juan Islands because he said he thought it was the most beautiful place he’d ever traveled by boat. I’m lucky enough to live near these islands, and we’ve enjoyed many vacations exploring them.
One of my favorite locations is Friday Harbor. It’s a small harbor town you reach by boat or ferry, and it’s located on the largest island of the cluster. There’s a population of just over two thousand people who live there, though they have just as many visitors. It’s such a magical place that’s it’s been the setting for a number of movies including Practical Magic, Pirate for the Sea, Namu the Killer Whale, and several Hallmark movies. It’s fun to know that during the filming of the final scene of Practical Magic the entire population of the town was invited to show up in costume and appear as townsfolk.
The landscape of Friday Harbor is that of a farming community meets harbor town. It’s filled with wildlife that peek out at you from time to time. We’ve seen seals, foxes, otters, sea lions, raccoons, eagles, deer, and of course the rare but exciting spotting of Humpbacks and Killer Whales off the coast.
There are plenty of places to walk and hike, and you can even rent a small three-wheeled moped to explore the island.
The community itself is filled with restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and more. Every location has a warm charm that embraces you and calls you back again and again.
I’d love to share an excerpt with you from Falling in Magic where Hayden first discovers the charm of Destiny Falls, which was inspired in part by my delight over my own visits to a similar (but non-magical) town.
EXCERPT from Falling into Magic
“I thought we’d just drive around town and let you get familiar with the lay of the land.”
“That would be totally awesome!” I said. Then I told myself to tone down the excitement a bit. I didn’t want to scare him away by sounding like an excited teenager. Though that’s how I felt.
We drove up and down the side streets and my head swiveled. Destiny Falls looked similar to many harbor towns. Lots of small shops of every kind, and local services from grocery to a dentist to a post office and of course, the quaint, little library. I wondered if behind one of those boutique clothing stores was a shopping mall – one could hope.
The one place I hoped we would stop, the ferry terminal, we didn’t. I asked about its destinations as we were walking by, and his answer was, “It depends on your destination,” but then we were interrupted by someone he knew. There were introductions and small talk, and I never did get back to that topic.
We did quite a bit of walking and I was enthralled with the lovely small-town atmosphere. Not to be confused with backwoods, though. There were restaurants of all kinds, I spotted Sushi, Thai, Italian, and Indian, and a sweet-looking Vegan café. There was Wi-Fi in all the coffee shops. I saw art galleries, several high-fashion boutiques, a FedX, a Crate and Barrel, and even a small computer goods store. All the modern conveniences, but the stores were made to look like something you’d see on the Hallmark channel.
The atmosphere here was quaint and intimate. People smiled at each other on the street. The sidewalks and storefronts boasted trellises, window boxes, and hanging baskets of flowers. Buildings typically had spaces between them with trees and landscaping. There were plenty of small parks and open spaces scattered throughout the town. It was a breath of fresh air.
Eventually we decided to stop for lunch. We agreed on a Vietnamese restaurant and ordered bánh mì sandwiches. They baked the baguettes right in the shop (there was a full-scale bakery in the backroom), and the sandwiches were topped with locally grown fresh ingredients. When I looked out the back window, I saw what appeared to be a small farm! We took our bags to go and landed in a nearby park on the waterfront. We set up our food on a picnic table which boasted a view overlooking the peaceful harbor. We watched the seagulls and boats as we whiled away the afternoon.
About the Book:
When Hayden was a child, she lost her cat. Adults told her the cat ran away, but she knew the truth. The mirror had taken her.
She knew because the mirror had given her a glimpse of an alternate world and had nearly pulled her in, so she was certain the cat had suffered that fate.
Twenty years later Hayden discovers the secret of the mirror when she is thrust into it. She learns of a world she never knew existed, and a family she never knew she had.
But danger brought her here, and it followed her. Now, Hayden is on a mission to remove the threat, so that she can begin her magical, meaningful new life in this enchanted world.
Falling into Magic is a full-length magical cozy mystery novel with a touch of humor and a hint of romance. It is the first book in the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series.
Purchase Link: Amazon
About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives near Seattle and is the mother of four and nana to one. She’s excited to present her first work of fiction.
You can follow Elizabeth here: