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Creation of a Setting: The Place of My Dreams

Posted by on May 8, 2020 | 1 comment

Creation of a Setting: The Place of My Dreams

Creation of a story setting is one of the most important tasks of an author, and one I enjoy. The story world lives in my mind as vividly as if I lived there myself.





Within Golden Bands

The Creation of Setting for Stonehaven Farm

Loch Garry, Scotland is the setting for Kieran’s Stonehaven Farm, in both Land of My Dreams and Within Golden Bands. The loch, located in the central Highlands of Scotland, owns a unique beauty. In reality, its main claim to fame is the unique perspective of a map of Scotland when viewed from the A87 highway. The odd shape is due to a dam built for hydroelectric power in the early 1960s. However, I spent only fifteen minutes at the overlook on our trip to Scotland in 2006.

In order to create a farm that doesn’t exist, I studied hundreds of photographs online. The location near the bridge across the loch is for purely romantic reasons. The photographs have been my screensaver for 8 years now. I dream of a return trip to Scotland and the opportunity to stay in a “holiday rental,” looking out over the place of my dreams.

Creation of a story setting is one of the most important tasks of an author... #storyworld #setting #amwriting Click To Tweet

Creation of Kieran’s Farmhouse

The MacDonell family farmhouse is the actual location of Ardochy House, where there are three self-catering cottages. Built originally as an 18th Century shooting lodge, the house is the perfect place for my Scottish sheep farmer’s home. With beautiful bay windows overlooking the loch and sheep in the fields, it settled into my heart. The descriptions of the house arose in my imagination from places we stayed or visited on our trip to Scotland.

Of course, my favorite room is the library, decorated in MacDonell tartan, and the clan crest engraved above the fireplace. Though I prefer the modern, red MacDonell tartan, I chose the ancient tartan of blue and green. Kieran is nothing if not a man of respect for ancient tradition and heritage. I also chose the older spelling of McDonnell, rather than the more common McDonnell.

The descriptions of the house arose in my imagination from a real home on the shores of Loch Garry. #setting #authorlife #WithinGoldenBands Click To Tweet

Location of My Story World

Glengarry, the narrow valley where the loch sits, was once the home of the MacDonnell’s of Glengarry, now populated by only a few estates. The depopulation occurred during the Highland Clearances in the 1750s to 1860s. Wealthy landowners drove out the small farmers and crofters, similar to share-croppers, in order to expand their sheep herds. Today, the glen is known for  brown trout fishing, deer stalking, and Munro-bagging, the climbing of mountains over 3000 feet tall.

In Within Golden Bands, the areas disputed by the miserable antagonist, Gavin Gunn are all south of the loch. To plan each scene, I spent hours on Google searches, examined maps, and lived in my imagination. I discovered pictures of the islands at the end of the loch for the place where Bonny rode her horse, Misty when upset with Kieran.

I lived in my imagination to plan each scene. #fictionauthors #Scotland #romance Click To Tweet

My husband and I shopped in Fort William and stayed at the Highland Hotel on Loch Linnhe. It is a charming town at the foot of Ben Nevis, which we were fortunate enough to see on a clear day. Belford Hospital, where Bonny spends time is real, and she and Eilidh shop on the High Street.

Within Golden Bands, Romantic Suspense set in Scotland coming May 19th! #Christfic #RomSus #preorder Click To Tweet

Creation of Prizes Related to the Story

The Buchan Thistle pottery Bonny uses for everyday dishes is unique, hand-painted Scottish pottery. During the Book Launch Party on May 19th, one lucky member of the Team will win a small vase! The other big prize, a small Nambe ware serving bowl, comes from Bonny’s home state of New Mexico!

Obviously, readers will imagine Bonny and Kieran’s world in their own minds. However, since many of the places exist in the real world, I wanted to share some photos. Enjoy the beauty of my story world!

Thanks to:,_Lochaber

About the author:

Norma Gail - AuthorNorma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.





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