On Location: Nemesis

Combining wild horses, a ruined mansion, and two historic Georgia cities seemed natural when the time came to write Tasha and Carter’s book. I’d already set up her home as Savannah, and he works in the Collegium, in Brunswick. To learn more about the area, my husband and I visited Cumberland Island National Seashore. We’d heard about it while staying in Kingsland, Georgia, to visit the Okefenokee Swamp and do research for other books in the Light Mage Wars series.

What we found amazed and enchanted us, and we only scratched the surface of the place. Putting what we saw there together with trips to Savannah and Brunswick was huge fun!

 

The trip to Cumberland Island starts from a National Park Service dock in St. Marys, Georgia. A ranger gathers everyone who’s going to the island and explains about the scarcity of potable water sources and the rules for the ferry trips. We had packed lunch and water, so we figured we were okay with that.

The most important rule is that the boat leaves the island on schedule. Anyone not planning to camp overnight and not on the dock when it goes will need to hire transportation to return to the mainland.

 

The ranger also explained the importance of leaving the horses alone. They’re wild animals, not pets, and don’t necessarily take kindly to people coming close. We decided to give them plenty of room. With a zoom lens, after all, we could seem closer than we actually were. Here’s a group of horses came by while we were eating our picnic lunch under the live oaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researching the area around the swamp led me to read up on the island, and I knew there were ruined mansions on the southern end. The one that most interested me was Dungeness, a former Carnegie family home built on land originally owned by one of my Revolutionary War heroes, General Nathaniel Greene.

When we reached the ruin, we were delighted to discover horses roaming around it. We were very careful to watch where we stepped!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the “cistern” that plays a role in Nemesis. For the book, I made it deeper than it appears to be here. I also don’t know whether this actually is a cistern, but that seemed a reasonable thing for it to be, so I went with it.

 

 

 

 

On the way to Dungeness, Tasha and Carter go through the woods, which are mostly live oak trees festooned with Spanish moss and thickets of saw palmetto. The saw palmetto is the plant with the bladed leaves that kind of form a disc. It’s the bright green stuff close to the ground in the photo

 

 

I also like the approach to Dungeness. My cover designer, Lyndsey Lewellen, and I looked at using this for a cover photo, but it didn’t work well with a shirtless guy and text superimposed on it!

From Cumberland Island, my husband and I went to Savannah, which was founded in 1733. It was the first city we visited together, and we’ve always been fond of it. It’s very walkable with a lot of history on display. Here are a couple of photos from that visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One scene in Nemesis is set in Colonial Park Cemetery Here are the entrance and the tombstone wall Tasha explains to Carter. (This is not the cemetery from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, in case you’re wondering.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Nemesis, we learn that Tasha lives in a Victorian fixer-upper near Forsythe Park. Here’s a street across from the park. Below is the fountain in the park, which is a beautiful green space on the edge of the historic district.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a couple of photos of the historic district.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fountain, which is on Factors Walk, isn’t mentioned in the story. I’ve included it here just because I think it’s cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also not in the book but a favorite sight of mine is this balcony. It’s on the side of the Owens-Thomas house, a Regency mansion that’s well worth a visit. In 1815, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed there when he toured the United States. He delivered a speech from this balcony.

 

 

 

 

Because Carter lives in Brunswick and Tasha has clients there, that city also figures in the book. I visited it most recently with author Jeanne Adams. Founded in 1738, the city has a pretty downtown area (shown below), beautiful close-in neighborhoods, and marshes (almost like swamps!) nearby. The poet Sidney Lanier wrote a poem about it, “The Marshes of Glynn.” (Brunswick is in Glynn County.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city also several waterside parks. Jeanne and I stumbled onto this one, Mary Ross Waterfront Park, as we drove into Brunswick. A flea market, mostly featuring food, was going on under the shed at right.

A couple of the vendors recommended neighborhoods for us to visit. The park features in “Magic & Mistletoe” as well as Nemesis, and it’s the location for a very special event at the end of the book.

 

 

A couple we met while wandering and photographing one of the older residential neighborhoods told us not to miss seeing Old City Hall. It’s no longer the seat of government and has space that can be rented for events. I loved it so much that I used it at the end of the story.

They also pointed us to a couple of other local sights that didn’t fit with Nemesis but will surely pop up later in the series. Their neighborhood was so appealing that Stefan and Mel (from Guardian) bought a house there.

 

 

 

Here I am on River Street in Savannah. I can’t always walk the ground my characters do. When I wrote Renegade, the Okefenokee barely played a role because I’d had to rely on the internet for research and was afraid of getting things wrong.

I’m so pleased that I could visit the locations in Nemesis before finishing the book. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them as much I enjoyed seeing them.

 

May 22 2018, 12:00 pm No Comments

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