For a number of years, I had wanted to write a novel set in my home community of Brown County, Indiana, which is 250 miles away from where I live now. When A.K.A. Suzette began to take shape in my mind, I decided the Brown County setting was perfect for the story. Initially, I drew upon my childhood memory of the county as I plotted out the action of my characters. My sister Rachel still lives in Brown County, and while writing the book, I pestered her with emails, asking her for information regarding different features of the area. Her comment to one of our other siblings: “Lois has been asking me weird questions. I wonder what kind of tale she’s writing.”
In the years since sustaining my traumatic brain injury, traveling has been difficult for me. But my husband and I did take a trip to Brown County in the summer of 2014. I was delighted for the opportunity to roam around the tiny town of Nashville, and to drive through the hills and back roads of the county, finding the places where Suzette, Lanie, and their fellow characters lived, worked, and carried on the drama of their daily activities.
When my husband and I drove down Lick Creek Road, where Suzette’s fictional house is set, I could feel her spirit there. I’ll never again be able to visit my home community without sensing her presence.