The last day of our visit to Washington DC.
Yesterday we went out to the National Arboretum and I went for a walk through Fern Valley, the location of Beth and Warren’s wedding. It took a while, but right at the end I stumbled upon the perfect location – in my mind – for their big day. I won’t be posting a photo as I know anyone who has read the book will have their own mental picture and I don’t want to ruin that. For the record – wedding aren’t actually allowed in the arboretum, but this is fiction, so I can do what I want!
I’ve loved Fern Valley. There weren’t many ferns, but the area has been planted with the locate flora in mind and resembles the natural areas around DC. I loved the paths that wound through the area and sat at one of the benches for a while. It was beautifully tranquil after the past several days – just what I needed.
When we finally made it back into the city (that’s a whole other story) we spent some time around the incredible WWII memorial and then wandered along the side of the reflecting pool up to the Lincoln Memorial. There are so many people around these areas, but it doesn’t detract from the experience at all. It’s surprised me how well I’ve coped with the vast crowds.
Today we took a walk into one of the main shopping areas of Crystal City. It was wonderful to see the area my characters live in and I’ve taken pictures of the streets, buildings, and parks for future reference.
Visiting New London and DC has been a dream of mine for so long and bringing the dream to life has been better than I could have hoped for. I’ve walked the sidewalks my characters have strolled, and seen what they would have seen. I can’t say I’ve felt them with me, but I’ve pictured them around as though they have been showing me a photo album of their day to day lives. I’ve been flooded with inspiration for more White Rose books, plus completely different stories as well. It’s been a remarkable trip.
DC has been particularly special. It was right from the beginning, and the city has cemented a place in my heart. I’ve laughed with taxi drivers, been moved by memorials, listened to the stories of the places I’ve been, and been amazed by the stunning architecture. It’s everything I hoped for and so much more. I can’t wait to write more stories set in this wonderful place.
Next up is Texas and the dude ranch. I bet there won’t be a shortage of inspiration there!
by Alison Clifford
My dad used to take me bushwalking occasionally when I was a teenager. We’d go to the top of Mt Buffalo (Victoria), pick a trail, and enjoy a day wandering among the trees and rocks. I also did a few bushwalks on school trips—one of the joys of living so close to the Snowy Mountains. My most fondly remembered experience was a week spent at Mittagundi, a bush property near the Mitta Mitta river, reached by hiking over the top of Mt Bogong—a two day trip each way.
The Victorian high country has always held a place in my heart. There is nothing can compare with standing on a mountain, of breathing the air and experiencing the sheer majesty of nature. There is a peace that can’t be found anywhere else, and sense that I am insignificant, but a part of the whole. It is a spiritual place for me.
These experiences and memories now influence my writing. Beth (White Rose books) is a botanist who loves the snow gums of the high plains and Nell’s home (Seeing Red) backs onto a forest. Forests have a way of working into every story I have written so far. I don’t fight it, I welcome it, and now I deliberately seek it. I may not climb many mountains these days, but I always make time for being amongst trees—they give me peace.
My current work in progress is roughly at the half-way mark, and the next book is heading to my professional editor in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for release date and title announcements.
I had fun with Canva after my morning walk in the Gardens. For some reason, today's photos had a theme - up a tree! I love walking in the Gardens, and today was a cracker day for it. The sun shone, sparkling off the waters of the Derwent River, and a fresh breeze gave a lovely freshness to the air. After that start to the day, I'm now off to do some writing.
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