A Time Traveling Victorian Village...with a Killer View of the Rocky Mountains

Erie Village as viewed from the neighborhood park
Regular readers of this blog know that I write novels set during the Victorian era. That said, what better inspiration could such a writer have than living in a neighborhood which seems to have appeared from that time period, full blown, like a Victorian version of Brigadoon?

Imagine, if you will, a modern housing development whose homeowners' association encourages rather than proscribes unique and even eccentric house colors, that mandates large, covered front porches, and requires that house designs date from 1880 to 1910.

My own house is shown here. A white picket fence surrounds the front yard and the porch includes a full sized gazebo for three-season outdoor dining.

The neighborhood was conceived about fourteen years ago on farmland once owned by the Erie town doctor. It lies twelve miles east of Boulder and about twenty miles north of Denver.

The interior of the homes here can be as modern or traditional as the owner wishes. Naturally, given my love of all things Victorian, I favor as many historical design touches as possible, as long as they do not actually interfere with modern comfort and convenience.
My Writer's Nook

My home office, for example, offers all modern necessities, yet still conveys a homey warmth supplied by a fireplace and abundant window light.

The room is small--small enough to almost merit a designation as an "Inglenook" or chimney corner. An inglenook, historically, was an alcove containing a fireplace and a seating area. It was originally used for cooking, but in later times became a cozy spot to shake off the winter's chill and enjoy conversation and a warm beverage or two.

My writing companion
and silent critic relaxes nearby
Frank Lloyd Wright often incorporated such design features into his Prairie Style homes.

Though traditional inglenooks feature a centered fireplace with built-in seating lining both walls, my office feels cozy enough to at least be called a Writer's Nook.

My office also contains a lovely stained glass window, one of five in the home. Does all of this Neo-Victoriana inspire me and infuse my writing with its own unique flavor? Too early to tell. Though I have owned this house for two years, I have only just begun to live here full time.

I have previously written books in all sorts of surroundings and I sometimes think too much comfort is actually a detriment. It becomes so easy to let one's mind start wandering...and not in a creative way. Yet, there is much to be said for surrounding oneself with whatever sparks the imagination.

Living in Erie Village is a full-throttle immersion in the grace and beauty of a bygone moment in America's past and I feel so fortunate to call it home. 



A Short Vacation into the Long Past

Nearly a decade ago, this profile of me was published in True West Magazine. I recently came across it when moving my office files from my farm outside Kansas City to my present, now full-time, home in Colorado. The interview reflects my writing life as I viewed it in early 2003.

I read it over and was mildly surprised that I would probably answer many of the reviewer's questions exactly the same way today. I still love historical research, it is still one of the main reasons I love to write, and I still believe that America's ideas about the West--whether true or myth or something in-between--define much of our national character.

By the way, the novel referred to in the article as "The Eye Dazzler" was re-titled before its publication to become, The Second Glass of Absinthe. And my first horse, Solomon Spring, also mentioned below, is still in the family. He is now cared for  by my daughter-in-law, who is studying to become a veterinarian. Final declaimer: My hair is no longer brunette!