A Return to Light Fixtures’ Setting

Each year in late spring I return to NW Louisiana and to the countryside community of Chalybeate (Kuh-lee-be-et) Springs, where the setting of my young adult novel Light Fixtures takes place. A fiction writer’s story may be full of imaginative parts, but the setting is often based in an actual place. A critical ingredient to the story, it backgrounds the narrative in reality.

In Light Fixture’s case, it does just that. And upon my recent return from Chalybeate Springs I feel more confident in having chosen that scenery. That’s because I walked the rich countryside full of pastures, ponds, and thick woods where Aurora, the book’s protagonist, spent so much of her time, as she discovered her mystical friends Hematite and Mr. Dragonfly–and more importantly herself.

Walking the steps amid the warm thick-with-humidity Southern air, I could easily detect the smell of the sweetness of wild honeysuckle flowers as it mixed with the pine from the loblolly trees. Only one thing had changed in the pastures Aurora’s grandparents once tended. Now the open fields where the cows once grazed have been planted with fast-growing pine trees. That feeling of openness that Aurora once knew was no longer there.

But back in 1963, the land was cleared and full of light and smells. A perfect setting for Aurora’s summer with her grandparents as she comes to realize and understand via her experiences who she really is.

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