Before our trip to St. Simon's Island a few weeks ago, I started reading this series by Eugenia Price. It's three books all set on St. Simon's. When I started reading, I didn't realize it was based on real people, but it is. The series follows the family of James Gould, who built the first St. Simon's lighthouse. The second book is about his son, Horace. And the third is about Horace's daughter Anna, and her husband Anson Dodge, who built Christ Church.
They're beautiful stories, and they pulled me in right away. And so, when we were on the island, I made sure we visited a few of the spots mentioned in the books. We couldn't go visit the plantation because of the days we were there and the times it was open, but I am promising myself that I will next time we go. We did climb the lighthouse, although the one there now isn't the one built by James Gould (his was destroyed in the Civil War), but the museum did have several interesting items about him and his family. We walked on the beach his family played on. We saw the crabs and dolphins and oyster shells at low tide.
And one afternoon, my husband and I snuck away from our napping children (benefit to having Grandpa go with us) and walked around Christ Church. The church building is the same one Anson Dodge built back in the late 1800's, and the wood on the walls is beautiful. According to the helpful man who offered us some history and a tour, they've never had to treat the wood in all these years. Four different presidents had worshiped there, including George Bush, who also chose the island for a honeymoon spot. We found the gravestones of quite a few of the people mentioned in the books, including the Goulds. And we found Eugenia Price's gravestone, too. Because even though she lived so many years later than that family, she was buried nearby in the same cemetery, having fallen in love with the island and its history.
Thus far, my books are written about fictional people in mostly fictional towns. But seeing this, it makes me wonder. Will people ever come visit and take pictures of my graves one day, simply because they read a book I wrote once upon a time? Will my stories impact people as much as Eugenia Price's have over the years, becoming priceless and living on despite the years? I will probably never know, but I hope that my stories touch at least a few souls as hers continue to do.
Have you ever gone exploring around a place where you'd read a story that you loved? Would you love to? Where?
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)