"Write what you know."

“Write what you know.” It’s a phrase every writer has heard. As a new writer, I anticipated that building a story, developing the characters and remembering long-forgotten grammar skills would be challenging enough. So, when it came to choosing a setting for my story, I decided to go with my native state of New Hampshire.

The setting is fitting since like Amanda, my main character, I set out at eighteen eager to put my childhood behind me and build a life somewhere new. Also like Amanda, I headed to New York. However, this is where our adventures deviate from one another. I took a long detour through California before returning, not to New Hampshire, but to New York.

This time I settled out in the suburbs, along with my husband and three children, a far cry from the single working woman I had been the last time around. The suburbs are lovely—or at least they can be. We don’t have non-stop traffic, sirens at all hours and unidentifiable smells when the weather turns hot. That being said, even in the suburbs, people talk fast, move quickly and are generally on fast forward.

And so, it has been easy for me to relate to Amanda’s desire to move back to New Hampshire, where the smell of pine trees and lilacs fill the air and life moves just a bit slower. Fortunately, my mother and five of my siblings, along with their families, still live in the Granite State. That gives me an excuse to return frequently.

Both my husband and I look forward to those trips. Not a single visit goes by where we don’t discuss what it might be like to move there. In fact, I usually come back and spend at least a few minutes searching through real estate websites imagining it in more detail.

I fancy a house on the lake. Or deep in the mountains. A piece of property large enough to build the ice rink my son—the aspiring NHL player—asks for year after year. I imagine summer nights sitting on my deck watching fireflies and listening to the frogs and the crickets. The ability to pop over to my brother's house, have lunch with my sister or drive my Mom to her appointments.

Amanda is not me. I am not Amanda. But I enjoyed living through her eyes, once again getting the chance to experience my native state. I hope you enjoy it, too.