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December 2006

Here is just a beautiful autumn shot of the park.
Holly Jacobs
Erie, PA
28th December 2006

Writing Close to Home.

I've set a lot of my books here in Erie, PA because...well, because I'm awfully fond of my hometown! As a matter of fact, I set an entire series (Perry Square, Silhouette Romance) in the middle of downtown Erie, on Perry Square. Of course, I totally fictionalized the Square, adding businesses and buildings that aren't really there, but I tried to keep the flavor alive.  It's a great way to be able to showcase my "home". And it gives my books a unique setting. Yes, that's right, most other authors don't think about setting books here in Erie. Okay, Susan Gable does (and has) but she lives here, too! LOL Anyway, it give me glee thinking that I've introduced Erie to people in more than twenty countries so far.

The real Perry Square is surrounded by businesses. In my Perry Square book I've added fictional businesses such as Snips and Snaps Beauty Salon, By Design, The Chocolate Bar, a law firm and a eye doctor's office. This isn't any reflection on the very lovely stores that really make up the square. If you're ever in Erie, I hope you stop by and visit them. In the meantime, I hope you'll read about my fictional ones!
If you go a few blocks down from Perry Square, you'll reach our bayfront, Dobbin's Landing. In my books I take you there a lot. Characters go visit the tower. And they've even taken dinner cruises.

Next October I'm taking that idea of writing close to home to an entirely new level. 10/07 is the release of my first Harlequin Everlasting Love, THE HOUSE ON BRAIR HILL ROAD. It's not set in Erie, but does feature a lot of my real-life experiences in it. You see, I lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer in '04. It was a horrible time. She was the heart of our family and my best friend. Watching her loose her battle was one of the hardest times in my entire family's life. We all still miss her terribly. Writing a book featuring a character with breast cancer, watching how that fictional woman's battle with the disease ripples through the whole family hit me close to home in an entirely different way. The story might have been inspired by real life, but book is fiction...a fiction that hits close to home, and really was the hardest book I've ever written, but one I'm exceptionally proud of. I hope that it pays a fitting tribute to my mother-in-law, one of the lovliest women ever, whose sense of humor and heart was the cornerstone in our family.

Perry Square is a real two block park in Erie, PA. It's named after
Oliver Hazard Perry, made famous during the Battle of Lake Erie. This is a statue of him in the park.

A view up State Street from the tower. Perry Square is about five blocks straight ahead!

I think all writers write close to home in one way or another. Settings, situations.... they influence us all.


A view of Presque Isle Peninsula from the tower.

Finally, see the little stack in the background? That's our Maritime Museum and the Blasco Library!


For more news about Holly's books, please visit her website.

Questions? Email Or Call (253)238-5353