Pacific Coast Inspiration

Cover of Spencer's CoveI’m excited that Spencer’s Cove is finally out. I had the idea for the story probably two years ago while visiting Point Arena, California. But it took a while for everything to come together. Point Arena is along the Northern California coast, in Mendocino County. It’s literally one of my favorite places. The coastline of the Pacific is ruggedly picturesque. I’ve taken a million photos of that area. My wife and I stay in cabins near Point Arena as often as possible. There is actually a shop named Cove Coffee and Tackle, which is mentioned in the book. Many of the landmarks I reference in the book are real… But of course, I changed a few things and embellished others. That’s the fun of fiction, right?

I thought I’d share a few photos from our last trip to Point Arena, the village that I renamed Spencer’s Cove. A place where magical things happen.

Point Arena lighthouse

The lighthouse that started it all.

Nearby the lighthouse.

Nearby the lighthouse.

The lighthouse stairs.

Climbing the stairs inside the lighthouse.

Gate near the cabin where we stayed.

Gate near the cabin where we stayed.

Porch where I wrote the excerpt, my writing retreat.

My writing retreat.

Missouri Vaun drinking coffee.

Me drinking coffee. A very important part of the creative process.

Here’s an excerpt from Spencer’s Cove I literally wrote while sitting on the porch in the photo I captioned, “My writing retreat.” I wanted to write it while the details of the drive were fresh in my mind.

To say the drive from San Francisco had been scenic was like saying Homer’s Odyssey was a poem. The Odyssey was epic, and so was the Pacific Coast Highway.

From Bodega Bay heading north, the two-lane road wove from rocky cliffs with plummeting seaside drop offs to shadowed stands of redwoods. Micro-climate shifts of fifteen degrees modulated between sun and shade. The shadowy curves were carpeted with ferns, thick at the base of the redwoods.

Wild lupin, foxglove, yarrow, punctuated with the vibrant orange of California poppies clung to the cliff edges between the ocean and the blacktop. At one point she’d driven through a grove of eucalyptus. The smell of menthol invaded the car’s open windows, cool like camphor, bright and cleansing.

California’s Highway One was a bizarre convergence of forest, rocky cliffs, and the vast blue green of the Pacific. The end result was a breathtaking drive that felt like you’d wandered into a painted movie set, a landscape that couldn’t possibly be real, except that it was.


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