Saturday, September 29, 2012


. . .is a source for inspiration. Why is that true for a writer?

Place sets the scene.

Place brings the story alive in the writer's mind even before the writing begins.
Place helps the reader visual the actions in a story and the characters moving through it.
Place provides the atmosphere.
Place can become a character in and of itself.



When I think of 'place' in great literature, I think of Tara in Gone With the Wind, Thornfield in Jane Eyre, Manderley in Rebeccah. Then there are titles such as Northanger Abby and Wurthering Heights.

In a recent interview I was asked what inspired me to write the Daughters of the Potomac Series. I answered . . .It is never ever one thing for me, but a combination of things that inspire the development of a story. But if I were to narrow it down to the barebones, I’d have to say the Potomac River. I live in a historically rich area. The Potomac is not only beautiful but it is rife with history. Everyone has heard about Harpers Ferry. Within a few miles south and a few north of there, is the major setting for all three books. 

On the Virginia side, there is an overlook, and when I visited there and looked down into the deep gorge, across to the Maryland Heights, my mind drifts back to the past. So, instead of a person or a historical event being the inspiration for this series, I found it in a place where the water flows placid over boulders and joins with the Shenandoah nestled between the lush hills where three states meet.

Here are photographs I took of the Potomac River area. Below are a few photos where my heroines journey in England.

The Hope Valley in England...

How important is 'place' to you in a story. 
Share in a comment your favorite 'place' in a book you've read. 


Brenda Hurley said...

Wed Oct 4th,
"Morning, Rita".
Thank-you for an opportunity to win any of your novels. To date, I have read: "Before the Scarlet Dawn", and, "Surrender the Wind". (Especially enjoyed 'Before the Scarlet Dawn' !)
Take care, and, God Bless,
In Him, Brenda Hurley

Brenda Hurley said...

Message #2 ...
Ooops, sorry Rita, I was jumping ahead to your next blog.
"Place" -- how important is it to me .. very ! Because I am so attracted and drawn in to scenery (beauty of the landscape, oceans, waves, blue skies, white fluffy clouds, gardens/trees, exotic birds, etc) ... I naturally gravitate to a Christian novel set in -- Ireland, Scotland, England, and of course ... anything to do with the "Hawaiian Islands" ... places like that.
The Pontomac River looks beautiful !!!
Thanks for sharing.
In Him, Brenda Hurley

Rita Gerlach said...

Thank you, Brenda. The best novels have a strong sense of place.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

Wow - Stunning vistas!

Susan :)

Rita Gerlach said...

Hi Susan,
The Potomac River gorge is beautiful. I am so blessed to live in an area that has so much history and that is so visually inspiring.