Creating small town settings with Juliet Madison

Today I welcome the HUGELY prolific Juliet Madison who writes gorgeous romagic stories (is that the term Juliet) and also small town women’s fiction. Her newest release is The January Wish wish is the start of a series. Today Juliet discusses how she went about creating her town.

Welcome Juliet!


Creating the Perfect Small Town Setting

Just as the fabulous Rachael Johns writes stories set in small towns, so do I. I just love the dynamics of a small community and the connection to the landscape. My new Tarrin’s Bay series is set in a small Australian coastal town that has the best of both worlds – beautiful sandy beaches and a village atmosphere, along with lush green pastures and farms. I based it on the town I live in on the South Coast of NSW, Australia, and also a few other neighbouring towns. I wanted to grab bits from each that I liked to form my own unique town, and Tarrin’s Bay was born. I call it the Town of New Beginnings, as people often come to the town and never want to leave, so it’s a place where people can start fresh and begin a new chapter in their lives.

Where did I come up with the name of the town? I have no idea! It literally popped into my head, it was the first name I thought of. I Googled it and couldn’t find anything with the same name (unless I didn’t look hard enough!). But I did find out that the name Tarrin means ‘Earth Man’, which I thought was perfect. I decided to make a focal point of the town a rock formation near the beach that looks somewhat like a man’s face. In the series, the rock formation is known as ‘Tarrin’ and is how the town got its name.

The first book in this series which has just been released, THE JANUARY WISH, is special to me because I started writing it right after I moved house for a seachange. I tried to capture the beauty and wonder of the seaside environment seen with fresh eyes, especially as two of my main characters were new to the town. I discovered the town along with my characters, so writing the story and setting was a journey for me too.

What I love about writing a fictional town is that I can be creative and flexible. I can put things where I want to put them, come up with cool business names, street names, landmarks, and unique locations that add to the appeal of the story.

Some of the places I created in the town that feature in The January Wish (apart from the Tarrin ‘earth man’ formation) include:

– Miracle Park:

The main park in the centre of town where people meet and kids come to play. It’s also where the town holds its monthly markets and regular festivals.

– The Wishing Fountain:

An historic four-metre tall fountain in Miracle Park, which legend says can help make wishes come true each year on the 4th January, the day of its completed construction in the early 1900s. This is where the story of The January Wish starts, when Dr Sylvia Greene makes a wish at the town’s annual Wishing Festival.

– Cafe Lagoon:

The most popular cafe in town, in the main street opposite Miracle Park. Its interior has the atmosphere of a lagoon and has fantastic service, mostly by the young and gorgeous barista, Jonah, whose parents own the cafe (you’ll meet him in the story!).

– Lookout Point:

Situated on a headland a short walk away from the main street, Lookout Point is where people go to admire the beautiful coastal views, eat fish and chips while watching the sunset, and have late night romantic picnics. J

I’ll be revealing and exploring more great places in the Town of New Beginnings in future books (which although a series, don’t necessarily have to be read in order as each is a stand-alone story, though some characters reappear). The second book, FEBRUARY OR FOREVER is releasing very soon, on 1st Feb! Locations that feature prominently in this one include the beach and a beachfront health retreat, and a large rural property up in the Tarrin’s Bay Hills area. I hope when people read a ‘Tarrin’s Bay book’ that they’ll feel like they’re escaping into a beautiful natural world that they’d love to call home.

What do you think makes a perfect small town setting?

>> WIN! Enter via Rafflecopter below to win a $25 Amazon gift voucher and a coastal photographic print of the setting of the Tarrin’s Bay series. Competition is open worldwide and the winner will be drawn at the beginning of February.

Prize-blogtoura Rafflecopter giveaway

Perfect for fans of Susan Wiggs and Sherryl Woods, THE JANUARY WISH was a finalist in the Choc Lit Search for an Australian Star contest:


When Dr Sylvia Greene makes an impromptu wish at the Tarrin’s Bay Wishing Festival, it’s the most out of character action she can think of. Hers is not a life of wishes. Hers is a controlled life of order, plans and preparation…of science and research and diagnosis and treatment. But her past has been weighing on her mind, and decisions made long ago have far-reaching consequences.

A week later, the daughter she secretly gave up for adoption at sixteen arrives in Sylvia’s small coastal town with secrets that can’t be shared. Between feelings of guilt, gossip, and a growing attraction to an emotionally unavailable colleague, Sylvia’s well-ordered life is soon thrown into chaos. She is no longer alone, and for the first time she feels as if her world is open to possibilities.

They say be careful what you wish for, but, for Sylvia, the unexpected consequences may be just what the doctor ordered.

Buy THE JANUARY WISH from all good ebook retailers:

Amazon – Amazon UK – Amazon Aus – iTunes/iBookstore – Kobo – B&N/Nook – GooglePlay – BigW ebooks – Booktopia – JB HiFi – – All Romance ebooks

Visit Juliet online at her website, blog, facebook, Goodreads, and twitter.

24 thoughts on “Creating small town settings with Juliet Madison

  1. I love when the small town has a vibrant Main Street, families that know each other, and when strangers come to town are accepted.

  2. The January Wish sounds great – its going in my TBR! Out of nowhere, my current MS came to me and there’s a house near me with the same name as my small coastal town and I’ve always loved it, so I took it for the town’s name.
    Small towns have so much love – with mine – I have a cafe/bookshop that is a meeting point, the pub of course, but also the yearly Summer Fair held in the three days leading up to Australia Day. I love the togetherness and community that comes from a small town. My mum grew up in Newcastle and although that’s a city – in the 80’s when I spent summers there and I loved it when we would visit tiny beach communities nearby.

  3. Your book sounds great. Is that a photo of Gerringong? Or somewhere around there? Any book name with January in the title is guaranteed to make me check it out.

  4. I can’t wait to read this, have to finish up what I am reading now first though! I love small town settings…and it sounds like I’ll love yours too with all the neat places. 🙂

  5. The sense and feeling of community is something that I love about small towns. I am really looking forward to reading The January Wish. I remember childhood holidays to Gerringong and Kiama, so it will be like going back for me.

  6. “waving” hi, from your small town but country counterpart in Calingarry Crossing! Not entering the draw so someone else can win.

  7. Small towns just hold so much romance, love and affection, in them. Just entering small towns makes me feel the love compared to cities.
    Fortunately I was bought up in two small communities in Victoria, but they were completely opposite to each other, but still held the romantic feel.
    Can’t wait to read your story as you have shared some glorious moments with us..thanks

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