I lived in the house that inspired TPOADM from age 5 to age 9. It wasn’t haunted (and there was no turret), but it seemed huge to me; there was so much land… If mom wanted us home for dinner we could have been in a number of places; catching frogs at the pond, playing hide and seek in the barn, or even running through the grove (yes, it did/does exist). My parents’ marriage ended there as well but I don’t think that played a part in making the place a fictitious scary place.
It took me about a year-and-a-half to write the book, between working a day job and all the other commitments that make adult life busy. I spent so much time “on property” (even though it was all in my mind) that I began to miss the place…and I was (and still am somewhat) dying to check it out, but I promised myself I wouldn’t until the book was done. I didn’t want the mental pictures of my childhood potentially tainted enough so as to interfere with the story.
I got my chance a few months back. I parked my car on a nearby street and walked into the woods in search of the grove…as a trespasser. I won’t go into too much detail in case it changes your mental images of the story, but I will say that it was not as dark and romantic as my nine-year-old memory had preserved it for me. At least I have now recorded those memories permanently in TPOADM.