We follow in the footsteps of Winter Hart, in Storms of Winter as she stepped onto the covered porch at the old Cassadaga Hotel. The hotel sits in the middle of a 119-year-old community of Cassadaga, Florida. My friend, Brenda Kennedy and I had planned to visit the town where the story began and have our lunch at the corner table where Winter first laid eyes on the sexy Cole Stuart.
We entered the lobby where Winter first encountered the local psychic, Anne Gunter, descending the old staircase. I stopped and stared up at the stairs, expecting Anne to being coming down at any moment. I had to remind myself I was the one who created her.
Brenda and I spent a little time roaming the 1940's decorated lobby when I noticed someone sitting in the parlor looking at me. My sister, Renee’ Strickland had surprised us. She knew we were coming and wanted to make sure we would have that same table in the Sinatra Ristorante’, where Winter ate her meals during the restoration of the famous Dupree’ home.
I introduced Renee’ and Brenda and then Renee’ led us to our table. A cheerful, nice looking woman took our order. Renee’ ordered the Bruschetta Burger, an 8oz. Black Angus ground beef, char-grilled, topped with bruschetta, pesto aioli, and mozzarella cheese, and Brenda and I ordered the Bruschetta and Metterainian Escargot.
As I was eating, I saw a striking young man behind the bar that looked like he stepped right out of my book. He was the spitting image of what I imagined, Joseph, the owner, would look like. He was about 5'11 and had thick jet-black wavy hair with green eyes. I had to do a double-take to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
When we finished our meal, Renee’ headed back to her home, but Brenda and I wanted to drive through the picturesque little town. We meandered up and down the narrow streets admiring the small bungalows. Each home had a shingle hanging out front that denoted what spiritual services they offered.
I had a wonderful time sharing this adventure with my friend, Brenda and my sister. It brought back all the feelings I had that propelled me to write this book. I felt transported in time; I was living the book again, feeling every emotion that Winter felt, and seeing the town and it’s people through her eyes. I guess that’s the magic of a book. We can relive the adventure as many times as we want. As a writer, the characters allow me to get into their heads and feel the story through them.
I become the book!