Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Tour of Inspiration Valley

By Guest Blogger Lucy Arlington

I’m Lila Wilkins, the brand new intern at A Novel Idea Literary Agency, and it’s my pleasure to take you on a tour of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina, the setting of Buried in A Book: A Novel Idea Mystery. You could reach my bucolic berg by car, but the road is curvy and winds through the blue-green mountains curling around our little town like a sleeping cat. So let’s take the train. On the Inspiration Express, you can relax on plush seats and read a novel or select a cappuccino and cinnamon roll from the pastry cart and watch the scenery go by.

The moment you step off the train you’ll inhale a breath of pure air scented with a hint of jasmine from the trellis at The Secret Garden, the plant and flower store. As we get closer to my office, we’ll pass by Six Pence Bakery and the heavenly aromas of baking bread and chocolate croissants fresh from the oven will have you drooling, but I promise to buy you a treat at EspressoYourself, the coffee shop located right below A Novel Idea.

Here’s the quaint brick building where I work. I have a view of the park and the Nine Muses Fountain. And did you notice that the streets are all made of cobblestone and are lined with urns bursting with marigolds and snapdragons? This is the prettiest downtown I’ve ever seen.

Come on into the coffee shop and meet Makayla, the beautiful barista. Not only does she make the world’s best caramel latte, but she also keeps a little lending library in the café and she and I talk about books every day. And take a look at all the walls! Local artists created all of these gorgeous watercolors and oil paintings. Inspiration Valley is loaded with writers, potters, photographers, weavers, musicians, foodies, and book lovers.

After I show you around the literary agency and try to not to feel too guilty about the stack of query letters and proposals pilling up on my desk, we can have lunch at Catcher in the Rye, which is an amazing sandwich shop, or head over to the hot food bar at our local grocery store, How Green Was My Valley. For dinner, I recommend trying out Voltaire’s. I’ve been dreaming of sharing a candlelight dinner there with Officer Sean Griffiths, the dashing policeman I met when an aspiring writer died at A Novel Idea.

Yes, there’s been a murder in this Southern paradise! But don’t let that keep you from visiting. My mother’s a psychic and she’s predicted that with the help of Makayla, Sean, and the other literary agents, I’ll find out who decided to silence an innocent author forever.

Would you like to spend some time in Inspiration Valley?