The Maryland Horse Country Setting

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The setting of The Language of Light, although fictional, is based on the Greenspring Valley north of Baltimore. I lived on a horse farm there with my husband and young sons when I first started writing in earnest. I used to split wood in the mornings to stoke a wood stove that was the only heat source in the outbuilding that served as my office. Many walks through the woods, along the stream, and around the pond helped me sort out what I was trying to do: The Language of Light was not just my first novel, but also the first thing I ever sat down to write in a serious way.

Nelly’s farm is very like our own Piney Hollow Farm in most respects other than the house itself. The horse-racing scenes in the novel are based on races we went to, and the hunt ball draws from balls Mac and I attended there. When Nelly rides, she rides much as I did: with kind friends who leant me horses, who waited while I dismounted and passed through gates around jumps they took. And while no character in the novel is based on any real person, the warm friendships we found in Baltimore certainly inspired me to want to re-create this lovely world on the page.

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