If you like your romances based in a small town where you get to know the locals, look no further than author Melissa Shirley and her two fantastic locations, ‘Storybook Lake, Il.’ and ‘Battlecry, Tx.’
I was lucky enough to grab some time with Missy to ask some questions about both places.
- Firstly, can you give us a brief introduction to Storybook Lake and Battlecry, for those who may not have read your books?
Storybook lake is located in the heart of Illinois half way between Chicago and St. Louis, MO. Someone, right around the 1960s, came in and decided to make it a tourist attraction the likes of which had never been seen. Buildings were refurbished to look like the business mission statement. There is a giant pair of ballet slippers housing the dance studio, the library is an open book and the ‘Little Shop of Hairs’ beauty salon is a giant Venus Fly Trap. The town is dedicated to stories of the past with street names like Dr. Suess drive and Tolkien Trail. Visitors travel through fiction at the wheel of a motor vehicle. Storybook Lake originated with storytellers of the past and is home to an entire generation of people who find their happily ever after within its borders.
800 miles south we find Battlecry Texas, home of the Laugherty family. An old town that prides itself on its deep south roots and southern hospitality, Battlecry is sheriffed by the youngest Laugherty, and a woman at that.
- And where would you rather live – Storybook Lake, or Battlecry?
I would rather live in storybook lake because I love the people there. Mable’s tea pretty much guarantees a good night every night. Simon is always good for a grin and with that much eye candy running around, no day is ever going to be boring.
Plus the people always seem to come together to help each other. I like that.
- If you had to be related to someone from either town, which family would you choose to be part of?
The Laughertys. They are all very close. They get along pretty well. There isn’t a lot of drama inside the family.
- Who would you pick to be your best friend?
I think I would pick Simon as a Bestie because he went through something horrible and just bounced right back with a smile on his face. Plus, he’s fun and funny. But he already has Keaton so I would have to split best friend time. So maybe, but only because Simon already had keaton, I think Becca because she has awesome clothes and shoes and loves fashion.
- Who is your favourite person we haven’t seen a lot of yet?
Cody is my new book boyfriend but I have done others coming to Battlecry. They should arrive just in time for Christmas next year. This year, Cody gets a fairy tale. I can’t say much but it’s all reality tv and a wedding and he probably gets a happily ever after.
- Do you have anyone who is evil, or truly bad, to balance all the nice?
Kind of. I have a wicked flame from the past in Storybook Lake, an eccentric ex, also in Storybook Lake. And a wicked pair of sisters in Battlecry. I can’t say yet whether anyone finds redemption but if I had to guess I would say “maybe”.
- Which other character, from book or film, would you most like to steal for Storybook Lake, if you could?
I would love to drop Shirlee Kenyon from the 1992 film “Straight Talk” into Storybook Lake. She was a radio talk host who dispensed real world down home advice and she would fit in with the quirkiness of the town, and she probably would not mind working inside a giant microphone every day.
- What would you do for your day job in Storybook Lake?
Hmm. I think I would like to work at the resort. I’ve heard that Keaton is pretty great to work for.
- Where would you best like to live in the town?
And I would definitely line in the fairy tale section of town where Danielle and Keaton live. There’s going to be some action there. I can feel it.
- Have you got any new construction planned?
Hmm. I definitely think there will be a radio station, a giant microphone because I just thought of that this morning. And I think they need a regular soda shop for the kids so I need to build a giant milkshake in an old time cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
- What future stories have you got in the works?
There are probably at least 4 for Battlecry. Lily Laugherty has one due for sure. Then there is a new family coming to town for Christmas. Cody’s story is yet to come. And definitely at least 3 for Storybook Lake. The evil Danielle will get redemption and a man. Kelly has a story that may or may not include love with Gatlin, or someone new. And there will be some Storybook Lake short stories on my blog in between the times the other books come out.
My thanks to Missy for her time – that all sounds very exciting, and it looks like I could end up having a very long TBR list next year!
If you haven’t yet read anything set in Storybook Lake or Battlecry, I urge you to get started with Decadent Publishing’s “For the love of… Geese”
(part of the Beyond Fairytales line) as more stories will be hitting the shelves soon.