As a writer, I’m always looking for the next idea, even when I’m fully occupied with the book I’m currently working on. That next idea sometimes seems so fascinating that I’m tempted to drop the current project and plunge right into that new one. Isn’t it funny how the next thing you’re going to do always seems better than the one you’re in the midst of?
The idea for my new Secrets series came directly from an experience my husband and I had a few years ago. We both love staying at B&B inns when we travel, and we’ve found some charming inns and delightful people that way. So when we were heading out to northwestern Pennsylvania for my husband’s high school class reunion, I started looking for a B&B that would be new to us. We found it at The Towers Inn in Ridgway, Pennsylvania.
Ridgway is a small town on the Clarion River, noted mostly for its scenic setting. The quiet downtown gives one the feeling of having stepped back in time. In the mid-1800s, the lumbering era turned it into a boomtown, and several charming Victorian houses were built by the wealthier residents. The Towers is an Italianate Victorian mansion, built by one of those early lumber barons, and it has been painstakingly restored to its original condition after having been neglected for many years. The moment I stepped into the front parlor, with its carefully carved moldings and curved window seats, I knew I had to set a book here. Or better yet, an entire series!
So the ideas began to churn in my mind, and by the time we left, I had envisioned such a building transformed into a site for a number of businesses, one of which would be an Amish quilt shop. All three stories would develop around the building, which became Blackburn House in Where Secrets Sleep.
I had to make some changes from the actual place in my fictional town and building, of course. For one thing, the building had to be a bit larger in order to house the businesses I intended to put in it. But the image of The Towers remained fixed in my mind, and in each scene which takes place there in the book, I had only to close my eyes to see it the way it really is—a graceful reminder of a by-gone era.
Translating my image to the book cover wasn’t without problems, of course, but the art department at HQN Books did a terrific job. What do you think? Share in the comments below.
Where Secrets Sleep, book one in the Secrets Amish Suspense series, will be available in stores on March 1st. To my delight, it received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.
Marta Perry’s lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led her to write about the Plain People who add to the rich heritage of her home state. She is the author of more than fifty inspirational romance novels, including the Pleasant Valley, Three Sisters, and Watcher in the Dark series, among others. Her latest novel is The Forgiven, which releases Tuesday, October 7, 2014.She lives with her husband in a century-old farmhouse.
Purchase Marta’s books here.