I'd like to take a moment to introduce the small fictional town of Moonridge, located in Ohio. In my series "Moonridge Memories", the town of Moonridge is both the background setting as well as a bit of a scapegoat for some of the horrible things that happen there. The main character of the series, Theresa, often reflects on the state of the town and in turn, the people who live there. I always wanted to write a book or a series where a town is almost a character unto itself, and although it's not very uncommon in horror fiction, I haven't really seen it done in mainstream fiction...at least not that I can recall. I often wondered if it was too much of a stretch to make a town almost its own entity, but it occurred to me that there are cities and towns in real life that seem to have their own heartbeat and personality.
First, allow me to give a little bit of history of how Moonridge came to be in my mind. When I was brainstorming for the "Moonridge Memories" series when I was a teenager, I drew a lot from aspects of my life and the things I knew well, as many writers do. After all, this was my first book, and I didn't want to overwhelm myself with trying to write a novel about places and people and things that I would have to heavily research. So, one of the most basic elements a writer needs before beginning their work is a setting. I knew I wanted to set the book(s) in a town that had a lot of history and was sort of old-fashioned, almost antiquated. This led me to the city I was born in and still have a great love for: Cincinnati.
I lived in Cincinnati until I was two years-old, before my family moved to Florida. Sadly, I don't recall living in Cincinnati, but every year my family would take a trip back there when I was a kid. Because Cincinnati was a vacation spot for me and very different from any city I've lived in in Florida, it had an almost magical quality to it. It was so rich in history, and all the homes and businesses were old and had a lot of character to them. Although Cincinnati is far from being a small town, it always felt like there was a sense of familiarity among the people who lived there. Both of my parents were born and raised in Cincinnati, so I feel like that's still where my roots are and my home away from home. When I was young, I often longed to live there and be near family and feel connected to my roots. So, when I sat down to write the "Moonridge Memories" series, I knew I wanted that for my characters, for better or for worse. In Theresa's case, she complains about the town and often longs to leave it, but really, she has a deep rooted loyalty to the town she grew up in, and it is home for her, despite all the horrible memories that dwell there.
I wanted Moonridge to be a living, breathing entity even if it is only in the background of the story. As the series progresses, there is this sense that the town is cursed when terrible events keep happening. I think of the town as being haunted by the tragedies of the past, and this leaves the residents in a pretty bad state of mind, which only perpetuates the dreadful events that plague the town.
Fun fact: the town of "Moonridge" was named after a street in Cincinnati by the same name.
So, there you have it! A little bit of insight into the "making of" Moonridge, Ohio. Consider checking out the first book in the "Moonridge Memories" series: Dog Days of Summer
And book two, "Leaves In Autumn", will be out next month!