Whickering Place just released yesterday, and I’m so excited about this story, the characters, and the setting.
Before I even started writing, I knew I wanted to set the follow-up to The Meadows in Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville is one of my favorite towns in the world. It’s an artsy mountain setting and one of the best foodie destinations I’ve come across.
Although you don’t see a lot of the town in this novel due to Avery’s condition, it’s worth noting the inspiration for the house itself. Whickering Place was inspired by Homewood House on Zillcoa Street in the Montford Historic District. It’s now used as a venue for weddings and events, but it has an interesting history.
In the early 1900s, Asheville was a popular destination for sufferers of tuberculosis. It was widely believed that the mountain air was healing to the lungs, and patients often slept on screened-in porches in the hopes of curing their illness. In 1904, Dr. Robert Carole purposed to build a Highland Hospital in Asheville. Homewood House was his private residence and was built with entertaining in mind. The house boasts a 1,500 square foot ballroom in which piano concerts by Bela Bartok were held and attended by such illustrious guests as F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife.
The structure and approximate history are referenced in Whickering Place, although the house itself is slightly different with a much darker past. I also used old photographs of 1920s ballrooms to inform my description of the very important Great Room of Whickering Place. The space is important for several scenes in the story, including the climax.
I hope you’ll enjoy the story, and if you ever have a chance to visit Asheville, be sure you take the city bus tour. It will take you right by Homewood House, as well as the building where Zelda Fitzgerald spent years in a mental facility and eventually died.
**Photograph of Homewood House from Wikipedia.com