Q: What inspired you to write a series with a home improvement hook?
A: I spent a few of my formative years in the Boston area and many of my friends lived in historic houses that had such wonderful stories attached to them! My best friend’s house had a tunnel that wound throughout the closets of the second floor bedrooms and it was rumored that Minutemen had hidden from the Redcoats in them. Some of the houses in the area seemed neglected, but their beauty and strength were still palpable. I think we’ve all felt rundown at some point and I thought it would be fun to do a series where characters find love as they rebuild both their lives and the homes they feel a connection to.
The titles came to me that reflected the sentiment: Flipped! (love can not only flip a house around, but also your entire life), Needs a Little TLC (both homes and people need it to survive!), and Fixer Upper (we’re all a bit of a fixer upper, aren’t we?).
Q: What made you want to base the series in the Rust Belt?
A: My love of second chance stories and a penchant for rooting for the underdog. A few years ago, my husband was offered a great job in Dayton, Ohio…a city that had just recently made it onto a ‘top ten dying cities’ list. I began researching the area and found a region that was anything but dying. Dayton is home to such is a rich, diverse, and interesting history. It’s where the King and Queen of the entire nation’s gypsies settled, where the Roswell aliens were rumored to be stored, where Mound Builders dwelled, and so much more. I tried to sprinkle the fun and magic throughout the stories.
Q: Although you base the story in the Dayton region, the town itself, Spinning Hills, is fictional. Is there a reason for that?
A: I came across blogs and articles about a few historic neighborhoods here that people were working hard to bring back. The before and after pictures of some of the houses (even entire blocks), left me in awe. One neighborhood, The Oregon District, is nearly completely restored. The level of caring, hard work and determination that goes into achieving so much is inspiring. That’s where the idea of three brothers working to restore an entire town came from.
When we moved here, we learned the region was home to a hippie town, the most haunted village in Ohio, and an entire town made up of houses built mostly between the 1920s and 1940s, it looks like it was lifted from the page of a children’s book. I thought it would be fun to create a town that captured a little bit of everything. The result was Spinning Hills, a town founded by wintering gypsies and made up of storybook architecture.
Q: How did you come up with the name Spinning Hills?
A: I saw it on a map of the area, near Spinning Road and the Mad River. Somewhere between Spinning and Mad…I loved it.
I hope you visit Spinning Hills and get to know the Amador Brothers, learn about their “curse” and meet their quirky friends including the meddlesome owners of the Gypsy Fortune Café and Bakery who believe in great coffee, pies with meaning, and that plenty of unsolicited advice can make any situation better.