I guess we could call this week Ten Beach Road Week at Bookfan! I’m pleased to share this space with author Wendy Wax. She writes about her latest novel and the inspiration for the setting of Ten Beach Road. Take it away, Wendy!
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The House at the Heart of TEN BEACH ROAD
Ten Beach Road, which came out May 3rd, is a story about three strangers who lose almost everything in a Ponzi scheme, except co-ownership in what turns out to be a dilapidated beachfront mansion named Bella Flora.
Madeline Singer, a homemaker who’s celebrating her newly emptied nest right up until the moment it starts filling back up, Avery Lawford an architect and HGTV host who thinks playing ‘Vanna’ to her now ex-husband on their show is the worst thing that can happen until he elbows her out completely, and Nicole Grant, well-known dating guru and matchmaker who’s already battled her way out of poverty once, arrive at Bella Flora planning to put their sole remaining asset up for sale, only to discover just how far from ready this once-fabulous home is.
Caught between a rock-and-a-hard-place choice, they elect to stay on and, with the help of a local (and infuriating) contractor, work to bring Bella Flora back to life, bit by backbreaking bit.
They’re joined over that long sweat soaked summer by Madeline’s unexpectedly pregnant daughter and Avery’s estranged mother, which is a whole lot of estrogen for one house to absorb—especially when the renovation forces them to share a single bathroom and no air conditioning.
I got to tour a number of wonderful homes while trying to imagine Bella Flora and heard some really inspiring stories of both restoration and renovation in the process. I also developed a somewhat unhealthy addiction to HGTV!
In the end I decided to make Bella Flora a Mediterranean-Revival style home, with the foot thick walls, high ceilings and strategically placed balconies and windows that made them so popular in Florida and California in the 1920s. The Don CeSar Hotel, a fabulous example of this period and style, stands at the northern end of Pass-a-Grille, the Florida beach community where I grew up and not far from the southernmost tip of this barrier island where I placed Bella Flora. Of course, I had to mentally move a condo building to claim Bella Flora’s fabulous view of the pass, where the Gulf of Mexico and the bay meet, but I figure that’s one of the perks of writing fiction.
In the end, this wonderful house became a character in its own right as well as the catalyst that helps Madeline, Avery and Nicole rebuild their own lives.
I’m attaching a few photos of the kinds of details that made Bella Flora so special to me, and I hope, once you’ve read Ten Beach Road, to you as well.