My Wicked Excellent Field Trip

By Julie, SO enjoying this wonderful weather here in New England

This week I went on a wonderful field trip to Duxbury, Massachusetts. I lived in Duxbury until 9th grade, so it is a part of my formative youth. I hadn’t been back in years, but when I was creating Goosebush for the Garden Squad series, I decided to model it on Duxbury. The town was as beautiful as I remembered when I drove through that winter day, and it sparked a dozen ideas for Goosebush.

Now I’ve written the third book in the series, and I decided to take another field trip. I’ve asked by niece to create a map of Goosebush, so I wanted to give she and her sister a tour of the town, but to tell them the story of the series during the tour. “This is where Lilly lives”, “This is where Ernie’s store is”, “This is where Warwick works”, “This is where the Star is”. Those sites interspersed with “that’s where we grew up”, “that’s where your mother had her bike accident”, and “that’s how we got to the beach” made for a wonderful, full day.

The picture above is Hall’s Corner. In my memory there was a Woolworth’s there, on the right. That’s where the Star is in my mind. In the 80’s there was a not great redo of the buildings, but my recent visit shows the charm of the place has been reclaimed, though the building are all one-story now.

Here’s a video I did showing where Goosebush and Duxbury meet:

Now, Goosebush is inspired by, not a replica of, Duxbury. I’ve changed the coastline a bit, added rotaries, changed some of the architecture. But I’m fortunate to be able to visit my inspiration, and will do it more often. Tilling the Truth will be released in August (and is available for pre-order now) so I’ll be showing more pictures of my excellent field trip on social media in the coming weeks.

Readers, what do you think of my map idea? Do you enjoy tours of the places that inspire our series?

36 Thoughts

  1. I love it, I am a very visual person, I think pictures help cement things in our brains. I loved the first book and have preordered book two!!

  2. Thanks for the tour! I remember going to Duxbury with you for a book event some years ago (yes?), and it’s a lovely town. I might need to hire your niece to do a map of Westham for my Cape Cod series. ;^)

  3. How cool to be able to drive through your fictional town, sort of. I bet that map will end up being awesome!

    1. I think it’s going to be great. I also bought a Duxbury placemat and I’m going to use a sharpie to help me. It gets confusing, this world building.

  4. I love the idea! A little while ago Sherry posted some pictures on Facebook of places that are in her Garage Sale Mysteries and it was so interesting! A lot of them looked like I had imagined.

  5. I love maps! It’s fun to see if the layout is anything like I imagined.

    1. Isn’t it? As we were driving through I showed her where Lilly’s house is, but I told her it looked different. When we came upon a huge house with all sorts of add ins, she asked me if that was Lilly’s house. Her mind was whirring. It’s tough to explain my imagination, but she gets it.

  6. I love books with maps (and also images of the manor house floor plan)! My Victorian Village series is modeled on two different towns–my New Jersey home town and Boonsboro, Maryland (Nora Robert’s empire). They could not be more different on paper (one a suburban bedroom community for New York and one a small rural town) but they are physically oddly similar, and it helps to know where the “real” roads are.

    1. I love that it’s a mash up. I’ve never heard of Boonsboro. So many places to inspire us. You must have an atlas with all your series!

  7. The town of the books we read become like our hometown and the people in them like family and friends. So yes, a map of the town and area sounds like a very logical and fun thing to have along with the stories.

    Your field trip sounds like not only great information to add to the story, but also a fun and memorable time with the girls.

    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. It was a lot of fun. I want to make sure the readers still have room to embellish with their imagination, but they have a sense of the town.

  8. I think all books should come with maps of the town so we can see what you see.

  9. I had my daughter do a map for me a few years ago. I’m making her do another one while she’s home for the summer. (I say making because she’d rather watch Criminal Minds reruns on her computer, lol.) Love them! Can’t wait to see yours.

    1. How cool is that? And yes, streaming shows are a distraction, but she draws or paints every day, so I’m focusing her for a bit. Between dark shows. What is it with the dark shows and teenagers?

  10. I do enjoy maps and visuals of setting. Makes the story all the more real. Thanks for showing us your world.

  11. Fabulous town and very New England to my eyes! I am one of those who loves maps in books. I want to know where the characters are, the main settings, and how to get around.

  12. The maps are never right because they aren’t how I picture them. 🙂

    I do enjoy seeing how things are supposed to be, however.

  13. All books should have maps! So glad you are doing one for Goosebush, though having only read Pruning, I already have some pretty firm ideas about how/where things should be!

  14. Oh, I love Duxbury and the Weyerhauser Museum there. It’s been at least 25 years since I’ve been there and I miss it.

    I love maps and layouts and floor plans of buildings and grounds. Even when they have no real clues to the mystery, they are fun to study.

  15. Yes, I love maps and pictures. I imagine that you have to keep track of things from book to book.

  16. I love the idea of maps because sometimes I need the visual references when I’ve turned myself around in the town I’m reading about.

  17. I love the map idea & look forward to seeing more pictures from your field trip.

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