Fictional people, real places - Van Kampen Gardens

Monday, May 2, 2011

Guest post by Cheri's husband....

So Cheri is very busy trying to get the 2nd book of the Fateful series, Fractured, released as well as finish the cover for both Fractured and Fair Maiden. As such, I'm going to take this opportunity to give you a bit of background on some of the factual places in Cheri's fictional book Fateful.

Like most books the people in Cheri's books are fictional but they are placed in real places, or at least environments based on real places, though probably tweaked by her imagination. In Chapter 4 of Fateful we are introduced to a place called Van Kampen Gardens.

To tell this story we'll go back to April of 2009. It was our 20th Anniversary and Cheri dreamed of going to England. With a large collection of frequent flyer miles and hotel credits from my business travels we cashed them in and spent two wonderful weeks travelling all over England.

Cheri was finished with Fateful, which was written some time in 07-08, and was looking for an agent or publisher. She had studied this garden remotely over the internet and we purposely picked this as a stop on our trip. This is a beautiful Garden. Unfortunately for us spring had not yet sprung so while the garden was beautiful, it had not fully bloomed.

Just as there is in the book there is a huge wisteria arch that runs through the gardens. Yet as you can see below there were no blooms or green on it yet.

And of course there was a maze. This is the archway and door that lead to the start of the maze.

And of course there is a tower in the middle of the maze.

The area of the gardens is very flat. And from the tower you can see the entire garden and of course the entire maze.

The tower has a secret exit that runs under the maze and deposits you into a garden that is hidden and secluded.

We sort of wished that we could have seen the garden at it's peak. I'm sure we'll try to get back here some day.

We visited the gardens twice in as many days. We took over 400 pictures. For a final bit of trivia it is very probable that many of Cheri's ancestors knew of this place. And even a bit strange, Cheri didn't know she had so many ancestors who lived near here when she chose the location for her book. She only discovered the connection afterward.

Cheri's Great Grandfather was born near here in 1824. For over 180 years prior to that her ancestors called the surrounding area just west of this garden home. In fact, her 2nd Great Grandfather is buried only about 4 miles from this garden. As we visited the area we had to wonder what those ancestors knew of this place and wondered if they had any interaction with it.

If you haven't already picked up a copy of Fateful go get it while it's on sale for .99 cents. It will not be at the price forever....

In closing I just want to say thank you to all of you who have purchased Cheri's book. Keep an eye out for some new books within the next week or sooner. - Drew