Bona Fide Location Inspiration #Travel
Write what you live? Settings for books are always important and in the age of the internet it’s fairly easy to research a fancy locale or find someone who’s lived there via friends on Facebook. You don’t have to visit the place in person to get the details right.
But, there is a certain bonus to visiting the locations you put in your book prior to writing. A full submersion experience that can’t be gained from internet searches and detailed conversations. With the first book in my newest series, Bona Fide Beauty, I found inspiration in my own backyard.
Northwest Arkansas. Nestled in the upper, west corner of the state this Ozark, forest-rich, culturally diverse area contains a certain metro feel combined with blend of the country. Ask anyone who has flown into our airport and then driven into town – Ruth Chris Steakhouse but not a quarter mile away is a field of cows?
For the book I focused on Bentonville, the home of the biggest retailer in the world. But the area is booming and the entire downtown re-inventing itself over the last several years. Homes are being re-vamped and updated. Fancy restaurants with culinary chefs from some of the biggest metros are flocking here, boutique stores, and upscale hotels.
My first photo is an example of a small, older house in downtown Bentonville. My heroine, Kat, has a house similar to this. Over the last few years some of these houses have been bought out and torn down to make way for progress or purchased, updated to code, and restored. Exactly what my heroine is facing, her old family home is under threat.
My heroine enlists the help of my hero, Dev. An image consultant from further south in Ft. Smith, but he loves the downtown atmosphere of Bentonville and takes advantage of the many trails we have. The area boasts trails that can be biked and hiked over thirty miles. Dev’s favorite is Compton Gardens, located right off the square and with a mile or so of the fabulous Crystal Bridges Museum.
I mentioned the upscale hotel experience, right? Off the square, a block away is the ritzy 21c hotel, museum, and restaurant. It may not look like much from the outside, but this place has hosted the crème de la crème of Hollywood, including Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford. It’s the perfect place for Dev and Kat’s mutual enemy to host her organizations gala celebrating the changes they are affecting to Bentonville.
Enchanted? I’ll admit the photos don’t do the area justice – since it’s winter here still and everything is dead. I love sharing my home with other people and think this book series highlights the other fabulous parts of the area besides the big business that drives the economy engine.
Bona Fide Beauty - Book 1 in the Bona Fide Series
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She's going to lose her house.
Kathleen Baum has four months to complete the city's required code changes to her grandma's home. Otherwise, she loses it. Strapped for cash, Kat's only way to get the funds is to bargain with her devil cousin. She agrees to an unwanted makeover, but she's not good at taking direction, pretend or not.
He's going to lose his business.
Devid Esposito has worked all his life to build a successful image consulting company, but if he doesn't start bringing in new clients the business will be bankrupt in three months. The board is ready to oust him when his partner, Kat's cousin, enters with the opportunity to get his mojo back; all he needs to do is help Kat, with a makeover. Unfortunately, Dev doesn't take on female clients anymore since the last one broke his heart and used his tips against him.
When they find out they have a common enemy, his heart-breaking client is her code-breaking-whistleblower, and the easiest way to bring the foe down is to accept the other's help. Losing their hearts to each other was the one thing they didn't plan for.
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Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.
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