When I was shaping Eugenia (Gainey) Floyd’s character for The Finder of Forgotten Things, I decided to make her the postmistress of Oak Hill, WV. Since postal counters were often housed in general stores, I put her behind a counter in the back of an imaginary store. Or so I thought . . .

Imagine my delight when I discovered Oak Hill really DID have a combination general store/post office and that the building is still there!

Road trip!

Allow me to introduce you to Gauley¬†River Pottery housed in the very same former store and post office. When I stopped off there in 2020, owner Mary Bethune was a gracious hostess–letting me poke into all the nooks and crannies of the old building. She also pointed out the black and white photo of the store from around the time of my story that was tacked to a bulletin board. Now I could REALLY picture Sulley sauntering in that door!

Shoot, one of those fellers could BE Sulley!

When I first started writing I preferred creating imaginary settings for my stories. But now I’ve fully embraced making them as real as possible! As an author, once I had the chance to walk around inside one of my stories (when I visited Thurmond, WV, for When Silence Sings), I was hooked! Now there are few things I enjoy more than visiting the places I write about and imagining my characters living out their lives in those spaces.

Plus, I now have a new favorite mug for sipping tea while I’m writing.