TURNABOUT’S FAIR PLAY–Settings
If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that in addition to finding Real World Templates (pictures of people) to use as inspiration for my characters, I also like to find images of my settings, especially people’s homes. There’s a lot that can be learned about someone from the type of home they choose to live in. In the Matchmakers series, I’ve had some historic homes (Zarah’s, Caylor & Sassy’s, and the Bradleys’) as well as a pretty snazzy, relatively new condo (Bobby’s). Because of who Flannery and Jamie are and the lifestyles they lead, historic homes weren’t even in the cards for them.
Though Flannery had a typical suburban upbringing in Nashville, the daughter of a surgeon and a football coach, five years ago, when she, Caylor, and Zarah moved out of the rental house they’d shared since college, Flannery bought a condo in the brand-new Encore! condominium building. As someone whose life’s ambition was to be an editor, she’d occasionally dreamed of living and working in New York—but though she’s enjoyed visiting NYC as often as possible, she realized a long time ago that she would hate living there. So downtown Nashville is the next best thing for her. Especially since the condo building was only a brisk seven-block walk from the offices of Lindsley House Publishing on Lindsley Avenue. But then, three years after she moved into the eighth-floor one-bedroom, the publishing house outgrew its downtown location and moved eleven miles south to the Maryland Farm business park in Brentwood. So she’s been considering selling. (Click the image to view a slideshow of Flannery’s condo in a new window/tab.)
(In the book, there’s also a chair-and-a-half and ottoman creating a bit more separation between the living room and the dining/kitchen area.)
For the first few years he worked at the Gregg Agency, which is located in “the second tallest building” in downtown Nashville (Google it—you’ll find it), Jamie still lived in the apartment he shared with Danny in Murfreesboro while in college. Then, once he’d saved up enough for a down payment, Jamie bought a townhouse in the only area of town he’d consider living in—because, at the time, it was “the” address for an up-and-coming young marketing executive to have: Old Hickory Boulevard right on the border of Nashville and Brentwood (on the Nashville side, though, which meant a lower price). As an extrovert, he loves living in a townhouse community, especially one that’s as vibrant and active as his is, mostly filled with other young up-and-comers. And the location of his condo puts him only a few minutes’ drive from Lindsley House’s new location in Maryland Farm! (Click the image to view a slideshow of Jamie’s townhouse in a new window/tab.)
(Obviously the decorating in this townhouse leaves a bit to be desired—y’all have seen what Jamie’s like here on the blog, so just picture the condo furnished to his tastes! Which should be a lot easier for those of you who’ve already had a chance to read advance galleys of it!)
There are some other, very recognizable, locations in Turnabout’s Fair Play—such as Starbucks and Panera. I always try to put plugs in for as many local restaurants and coffee shops as I can . . . but with the locations in which Flannery and Jamie live and work, the fact of the matter is that they’ve been mostly overtaken by national chains like these.
For those who have read both Love Remains and The Art of Romance, you’ve either learned through online research or guessed that the church which plays the biggest role in the books, Acklen Avenue Fellowship, doesn’t really exist. Yep, I made it up. But I did set it right across the street from my own church. I’ve described Acklen Ave. as having a red-brick exterior. I imagine it looking something like this:
Where the small part on the left is the original church structure, built in the 1920s, and continually added onto over the decades until the final expansion ten or twelve years ago (Dylan was in high school) when they gave everything a more modern facelift. The original small sanctuary still exists, but is now the “chapel,” while a new, modern worship center with all the technological bells and whistles hosts the several services on Sundays.
The very name of the church gives its location—Acklen Avenue runs through the Belmont/Hillsboro Village area of Nashville, which is one of my favorite places in town. It’s Midtown adjacent, with Vanderbilt University lying between it and the true Midtown area. For tourists, Hillsboro Village is most famous for The Pancake Pantry (and I must admit, having lived here almost sixteen years, I’ve never even attempted to eat there—I’m not really big on standing in line for four hours just for pancakes). This image is the street-view photo from Google maps of 21st Avenue South (looking north toward Vanderbilt/downtown), which is the main drag through Hillsboro Village—and yes, traffic is almost always that bad!
A new location I introduce in TFP, even though just for one scene, is the Scarritt Bennett Center—a conference and retreat center just off of 21st Avenue, not too far from the Village. With its Gothic architecture and grand old trees, it’s like taking a step back in time—and across the Pond to a quaint, ancient village in England.
One thing I’ve tried to do with each of the books in the Matchmakers series, since they are set in such an iconic city, is make sure that I’ve done my research—because if you’re anything like me, you get curious about the places mentioned by name in a novel set in a real place.
Do you ever look up the names of places from novels to see if they really exist in that city? How “real” do you think an author needs to be when using an iconic city like Nashville in fiction?
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