Thursday, July 27, 2017

Cully Beach and an Imaginary Florida

Cully Beach, the setting of the novels ‘Shaper’ and ‘Waves’ is completely fictitious. It is based on a number of towns along the Atlantic coast of northern (more or less) Florida. It is to be admitted that Flagler Beach is the most similar to this invented town, both in size and approximate location, but it definitely owes parts of its ‘look’ to other towns (including the whole Cocoa Beach area).

The Jumenoto inlet (Boca Jumento) that supposedly lies south of the town is also made up. There are no inlets like it in that general vicinity. It likewise owes to various passes along the coast — Sebastian, Boca Raton, Matanzas, Ponce de Leon, Boynton.

Scott City has a vague resemblance to Bunnell, mostly in its location, but it could pretty much be any little inland town in the northern half of Florida. Vasco, a bit down the coast from Cully Beach (beyond Jumento Inlet) is fictitious, as well. All we can say for certain is that both towns are north of Ormond Beach.

I have set all this down in a ‘real’ Florida, referring to actual towns such as Daytona, Gainesville, Jacksonville. I have also tied it to the fictitious towns mentioned in my young adult title, ‘The Middle of Nowhere,’ located on the Gulf side of Florida, and to places I have invented in the southwest part of the state. As with Cully, none of these are exact analogs for real locations.

Could I have let all these tales take place in actual Florida towns? Undoubtedly, but I like the leeway my approach gives me. I have read novels set in my hometown of Naples Florida and the little inaccuracies here and there do bother me. Better to avoid that sort of thing, I think — especially if I am slipping in characters based on real people!

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