When The Wooing of Jane Grey first came out I had several readers guessing where Jane’s family lived. For those readers in Ohio, the speculations ranged from Granville, Ohio to Circleville, Ohio and every other small town in between including my native Groveport, Ohio. In reality none of those wonderful communities were the sole source of Gibson’s Run. But I “borrowed” many of the unique charms of each of my favorite Ohio small towns to act as the framework for the quaint village.
Wooing was a great way to showcase Columbus, Ohio, but I found I wanted to write about particular places or spaces and was limited due to public knowledge of certain areas.
When I set out to write “From Scratch”, I wanted the juxtaposition of anonymity against “everyone knows your business” community of a small town for Maggie’s story.
As a writer, I liked the freedom of creating my own place. My own restaurants. My own churches. My own parks. (You get the drift.) And yet, I pulled from the experience of growing up in a town with less than 2,000 residents (the family cruise we went on my freshman year of college had more people on the boat than we had certified residents of the Village of Groveport*.) Knowing I could walk into any place of business, school or church and someone would know my mom, my dad or my grandpa gave me a sense of security. My history was known by everyone. There were no secrets. And yet there were unspoken stories that seemed to hover over my town. Things people didn’t ask. “Let well enough alone.” This is where Maggie’s story unfolded beautifully – everyone cared and yet they let her tell her story as she was able.
With the telling of Maggie and Sean’s story, the character of Gibson’s Run was born.
When I started writing “Life on the Porcelain Edge”, the characters developed through the canvas of Gibson’s Run. (And how could I not return everyone to the nosiness of Sissy Jenkins, the sweet aromas of Only the Basics and begin to delayer the streets we hadn’t yet traveled.)
In “Life on the Porcelain Edge” you will get to visit Gibson’s Run High School, the community church and meet a colorful array of town members. Old friends pop up to give you a wink (e.g. Sissy, Jane Grey, Maggie, Sean, etc.) but you will also meet new friends whom I hope you come to love as much as I do.
Don’t worry - we still make a couple visits to the “big city” (aka Columbus, Ohio). But the character of Gibson’s Run is maturing into a beautiful place bursting to the brim with stories to tell.
*I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Groveport has been a city of over 7,000+ residents since 2010. The town had quite the boom with the turn of the century.