Shopping for a location for your next novel? I’ve never felt the need to look beyond my adopted state of South Carolina. As one of the original thirteen colonies, we have everything the historical novelist could ask for, from the early settlement of Charles Towne Landing to the Pirate House in Charleston, rumored to have hosted Blackbeard himself. Don’t forget, Charleston’s the birthplace of Rhett Butler, the most infamous of southern bad boys.
Prefer a mountain setting? How about a romantic wedding at Symme’s Chapel? Called Pretty Place by locals, the chapel is located near Caesar’s Head just outside of Greenville and offers a jaw-dropping backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Speaking as a former wedding photographer, it’s one of the most beautiful wedding chapels I’ve ever seen—despite my fear of heights.
Figure 3 Symme's Chapel, Caesar’s Head, Greenville County, S.C.
Want to write a military story? South Carolina participated in the Revolutionary War, and those who know nothing else about the state can tell you we started the Civil War.
If you write contemporary novels, Columbia is home to Fort Benning, and North Charleston was home to a massive Navy base until the late 1990s. In fact, the base sits unoccupied today. I’ve long thought the Admiral’s house looks like a tempting location for a story.
Speaking of unique settings, South Carolina is the nation’s second-largest peach producer.
The state is dotted with massive peach farms. Driving down the back roads near my home, I often see this scene in springtime, so often that I set a series, Those Devilish De Marco Men, on an eight-hundred acre peach farm.
Novels need more than location, of course. They need conflict and tension. The people of South Carolina are conservative, religious, and hard-working, but the state doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to civil rights. We still have three active klaverns of the Ku Klux Klan, and despite a Supreme Court ruling in 1967 that outlawed bans on interracial marriage, South Carolina’s anti-miscegeny laws stayed on the books until 1991. I’ve used all those facts in my interracial novels.
The current state attorney general seems poised to back the state referendum that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, so any LGBT author could set a story here and not have to work hard to escalate the tension.
The conservative mindset led state lawmakers to repeal the law allowing video poker parlors in 2000. To date, South Carolina stands alone as the only major jurisdiction to ever have allowed this type of gambling and then made it illegal. I, for one, don’t miss the jangling noise when stopping for gas, because rather than large casinos, the video poker industry was mostly confined to a few machines in the back of every convenience store, but the fact was unique enough to lead me to start a new series with a story, Rain on Me, centered around the ban on video poker.
To make your story feel authentic, you’ll need to know that the common forms of address are ‘ma’am’, ‘sir’, and ‘y’all’. ‘All y’all’ is grammatically correct when referring to more than two. No one will bat an eyelash if you say ‘ain’t’. Sweet tea is the house wine. That’s black tea laced with enough sugar to start a cavity—and please add that sugar while the tea’s fresh-brewed, then pour it over ice. And if you visit, do ask a native to teach you the state dance, the Carolina Shag.
Connect with Eden Connor: http://edenconnorwrites.blogspot.com on http://www.amazon.com/Eden-Connor/e/B006PFIPB0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1, https://www.facebook.com/Author.EdenConnor and https://twitter.com/EdenConnor
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