In the shadow of Chicago is my fictional small town of Berryville. Sitting on the flat Illinois plains as conspicuously as a raised mole on otherwise clear skin, it’s suddenly experiencing a rash of burglaries and vandalism.
This idea was prompted by the “inner city element” that has pervaded my own hometown; in this case it’s from Baltimore and D.C., but being a Midwestern girl til my last breath, I set my story in Illinois. (Hey, that rhymed!)
So this means my characters have a setting, and nobody has a more prominent setting than Alice Harper, who dwells in the almost-magical Peanut House:
Sunken flagstones embedded in a fragrant ribbon of Roman chamomile and lemon thyme offered up their calming, fruity scents to anyone who followed the meandering path to Agnes’s small stucco house. Painted a dull salmon with brown comma-shaped accents painted randomly on all four sides, it was affectionately called The Peanut House. Gypsum sand twinkled in the sunlight, adding to the odd structure’s whimsical air.
Detracting from the dwelling’s somewhat homely charm was the spiderweb-like crack in the south-facing picture window. It bespoke of the recent outbreak of break-ins and vandalism that had been plaguing once-peaceful Berryville for the past three weeks…….
And voila! We have a setting established!