Friday, November 19, 2010

SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS - Researching A Small Town

Hi from Gail Gaymer Martin at

Research is so important to even a contemporary novel. I enjoy writing stories that are set in real places and though the people are fictitious, the places and much of the information are real.

Last week my husband and I drove north to a small Michigan town called Harrisville. I'd found it on line and later realized I'd actually been there. But not for research. That makes all the difference.

This town has about 500 residents but it's a town that has many wonderful events throughout the year so it interested me as a setting for my Christmas novella which will be released as a duet book in November 2011. My story is ttitled SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS.

The first thing we did in town was stop for lunch at this great place called, Flour Garden. It's a bakery, small store and restaurant with really good food. You can see me standing in the entry way, anxious to have lunch. Manny, the owner, was so helpful.  Across the street from this restaurant is a large fur tree which they light up for Christmas.  He told me about the event in detail so I can include it in my novel. Already the streets were decorated with Christmas decorations.

My next visit was at Alcona Elementary School where I met the principal and a second grade teacher plus some other staff. They welcomed me and allowed us to take photographs and answered a multitude of questions. My heroine will work at this school.

I also visited the library and met the very nice librarian who told me about all the activities that they have there. I came home with brochures and great info. One thing they do at their Christmas In The Villiage event is to have Santa visit the library where the kids are read stories and have cookies and hot chocolate.

The town is on Lake Huron with a marina and a Harbor Park as well as a state park nearby. I viewed the homes and streets to get a feel for the community and visited the boutiques and shops in town where I also made some good connections.

I've learned after writing so many novels that accurancy pleases readers and makes me happy too.  I like my novels to feel real and so I try to be accurate.  I hope you enjoy the novella when it comes out Christmas 2011. 

Meanwhile, have a blessed Thanksgiving filled with love and blessings.


CarlybirdH said...

Great article Gail. Harrisville sounds like the perfect setting for a Christmas story. I am really looking forward to reading it. Happy Thanksgiving!
Carly Kendall

Anonymous said...

Hi Gail,

Harrisville sounds wonderful. Kudos to you for using a real place. While I base my towns on real places, I use fictitious names in my books so I can add or delete buildings, parks etc as needed. In my upcoming 2011 release, I blended two towns in Northern Arizona together and used the best of both of them. Happy Thanksgiving.

Rose said...

i love small town settings.