A Change of Scene

- by Phoebe Conn

During a NINC conference in San Diego, I went on a tour of the Hotel del Coronado where SOME LIKE IT HOT was filmed. (It’s a fabulous place. Google it sometime.) It opened in 1888. Thomas Edison strung the lights and the phenomenal landscape architect, Kate Sessions, (1857-1940) did the grounds. I was so impressed with her extraordinary work I put her name and brief biography into my idea file for future reference.

My boyfriend had his own small  airplane and we often flew from Burbank to San Luis Obispo where his friend met us and took us to Morro Bay for the day. It’s a charming beach town and a fun place to play tourist. When I came upon a beautiful nursery with its own gift shop, I took photos to use later to create a business a landscape architect, an admirer of Kate Sessions, would own.

Darcy would have to be a strong independent woman, one who would survey an empty lot and see the beauty she could create with plants and flowers. She’d be a woman with deep roots to her town, her business and her way of life.

The story needed a hero who would challenge her on every level. Griffin is a concert pianist who is more comfortable traveling than at home. That he moonlights for Interpol gives him a dangerous edge.

Darcy spoke with lush gardens and Griffin hired her to create a Zen garden with carefully raked sand. From the beginning she knews he was trouble, but still said, “Bring it on.”

I would never have heard about Kate Sessions nor visited a fabulous nursery in Morro B ay had I remained at home toiling in my office with my tomcat curled on my lap. Darcy and Griffin would never have come to life. Whenever a friend asks if I’d like to go somewhere new, I always say, “Yes!” (You have not really heard ABBA’s Dancing Queen until you hear Orange County’s Gay Men’s Chorus perform it!)

The more adventures we have, the better our books will be. Darcy and Griffin’s story, DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES will be a November 30 release from Samhain Publishing. Where did I get such an inventive title? That’s a story for another day.

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