It's raining outside.
I live in the San Joaquin Valley, where we get very little rainfall. Only 11 inches a year, to be exact. If we're lucky. It is no coincidence that I have always fantasized about living someplace where there is more...rain. Greenery. Trees. My favorite books growing up: The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, The Chronicles of Narnia, the Jane Austen books--all set in the very drenched and emerald England.
But as fate would have it, I found myself setting my first book in a landscape much like the one I was raised in--a farming community. And as I immersed myself in my book, I found myself falling in love with my dry, hot climate and came to see the beauty in it with fresh eyes. The more I read my manuscript (finished but still revising), the more I came to see the merits of where I live.
It's funny because as intrigued I am with all things England (and Ireland), I have a cousin who's English who visited us a few years back. He stayed with my sister on her husband's family's sprawling ranch and, having been raised in London, had always wanted to visit a real American farm. Really? We were amazed. You think Los Banos is beautiful? But he did, and when we looked at it through his eyes, as a tourist, we could also agree. And reading my own book, as I revise (and revise), I have come to see my own backyard as a tourist, and have rediscovered its beauty in a new way.
In case anyone wants to see pictures of my family's ranch, here's a link to their website: