Have you ever hung out in a cornfield? Picked some random back road in the middle of nowhere, gave it a not-so-clever name, and designated it as next Friday night’s party spot after the home football game? Did you ever have a fight with your best friend, and the next day had your homeroom teacher ask you if you were okay because she somehow (ahem, blabbermouth teenagers) heard about it? Well, if you have, then I don’t need to induct you into the small town club. You’re already an honorary member and have the T-shirt—probably with the names of your entire senior class printed on the back (yes, they all fit)—to prove it.
This was my hometown in a nutshell. Cornfield hangouts, back-roading like complete idiots (God, what were we thinking?), and the entire town knowing your business before you did. But I loved it.
My world is a little bit—okay, a lot—different now. And not just because I’m officially a grown-up (because let’s face it, that has a lot to do with it), but it’s also because I no longer live in that cozy small town. That’s not to say I’d be a twenty-nine-year-old drinking cheap beer in a cornfield if I still lived there. Because I wouldn’t. Again—grown-up now. But there is just something about living in a town that doesn’t even have a stoplight that makes it feel “home-y.”
Speaking of stoplights, we have more where I live now than I could possibly count, not to mention an abundance of every restaurant imaginable, and there’s not a back road in sight. And you know what? It makes me miss that nosey little town. While I love my life, my house, my busy Indiana town—that quaint little Illinois town I grew up in will always have a special place in my heart. (Insert cheesy music here.)
My hometown was such a huge inspiration for me as I wrote my new release, “Lovers Restored”. We didn’t have a Gina’s Diner, but we had a Pizza King. (It was also the movie rental store!) We didn’t have an annual beer festival, but we had the Fall Flop carnival and street dance.
So when I decided I wanted my hero and heroine to reconnect after a long time away from each other, I knew the best place for memories to resurface and for old flames to ignite would be in—you guessed it—their hometown. It’s small, it’s nosey, and it’s….home.