As a reader, I love feeling physically grounded in a place as I’m reading. Growing up, the novels I liked the best had a strong sense of place—you know, the stories where the setting is almost a character in the story.
Almost Right with the World takes place in a fictionalized version of the small town in northwestern Connecticut where I spent my teenage years. I’ve often fantasized about returning there to live, but for several reasons it would not be practical. So I did the next best thing—I set the story there. Writing the novel was like being on an extended visit to this town that I felt so nostalgic about.
Take this innocuous-looking stretch of country road known as “the flats” when I was growing up and as “the open stretch between Newbridge and Lakeview” in the novel. A lot of the action in the story takes place there. It’s the scene of Passionella’s many trips north to Lakeview to carry on her clandestine romance with Jeff and her many trips back to Newbridge mulling over the fickle course of love, true or otherwise. It’s also the scene of inebriated Julie’s barf-fest on the way home from watching her ex-husband and his band perform at the Stagecoach Inn. And, perhaps most memorably, on a rain-driven night, it’s the scene of Passionella almost being run off the road by a weaving, tail-gating driver whose SUV she recognizes just as it drives out of sight.
Never a dull moment on those lonely country roads . . .