Places of the Heart

I am the first to admit I have an irrational love for the Low Country of South Carolina.  When I travel away I miss the smell of the pluff mud.  My heart skips a beat when I see the waving grasses of the marsh or drive through a tunnel of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss.  As a child of an army officer I lived in many fabulous places including Europe and Hawaii, but no place has captured my heart or become essential for my soul’s happiness like the Charleston area.  I think that is why I view the Low Country more as a character than a setting when I write.  C. Hope Clark, the author of  several mysteries, the latest, Murder On Edisto, recently published a blog on The Seekers ( you can find it at  in which she talks about how the setting not only defines the place, but it also defines her character’s journey.  Her love for Edisto in our shared home state sweeps you up and makes you want to be part of it.   It got me thinking of other books where the setting drew me in equal to the connections I felt with the characters.  I went back to childhood and thought about The Secret Garden. The garden , grew (pun recognized) just as the characters did.  I thought about Nancy Drew and though I loved her little town of Riverside, what a thrill when she and her pals went off to places like New Orleans, the place became a character as Nancy, George and Bess interacted with the local culture.  Sometimes I read a book set in a place I have never been and the writer makes that place come so alive, I move that place to the top of my travel list.  When a writer is passionate about the place they set their tale, they elevate that place, it breathes life in the story, interacts with the characters and touches the heart. I hope as I write my tales set in the place I love, my readers will come to love the place I call my heart and my home.



Dock through the trees

2 thoughts on “Places of the Heart

  1. I’m from Charleston, SC. Grew up on James Island. And you’re right. There is nothing like the smell of pluff mud; or the briney, salty smell of the ocean. And there’s nothing like driving under the canopy of trees on Hwy 61, or in Colleton County on some of the roads off of 17A, or Johns Island.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol Cook says:

    Having spent most of my life in the Low Country, I totally agree with your sentiment. I also truly appreciate “living” in other places through the books I read. It extends my experiences and enriches my life. Thanks, Julie.


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