All Roads Lead to Savannah: The Story behind Emerald Green
Author, Lindsay Marie Miller
My debut novel, Emerald Green, is set in the historic, classic, oldest city in Georgia. Savannah. But I have a confession to make. I’ve never been there.
Yes, I know. How can you possibly construct a fictional narrative in a town you’re never visited before? Whose food you’ve never tasted, whose sights you’ve never seen, whose oceans you’ve never swam in, and whose trees you’ve never climbed? It’s a sin, I know, to not partake of the culture, setting, and atmosphere that you are trying to emulate, but I have been near Savannah.
In fact, I was staying in Georgia on that fateful night, when I scribbled out the most unorganized outline of a story about Tom and Addie, two teenagers who would become irrevocably smitten with one another among the throws of danger, mystery, and suspense.
I was in Atlanta, and I couldn’t sleep. So, when it came time for me to set the location of my star-crossed lovers , I chose a town that wasn’t that far away, a town that I had seen several times on wide green interstate signs, on the drive up to my grandfather’s house from my home state of Florida. Savannah.
Perhaps the reason why those two cities had been grouped together in my head, was because Savannah was where Mammy had insisted Scarlett O’Hara go, when she was young, beautiful, and in mourning. (My grandmother raised me on Gone with the Wind and fried cornbread, so forgive me.)
*Side Note: One summer, I watched Gone with the Wind every weekday for two months straight. My daily routine: Lunch. Movie. Swim. I know, it was a problem.
If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that Scarlett goes to Atlanta anyway, because that’s where Ashley will be. And there I was, in the same town, and yet that other possibility loomed before me. What would have happened if Scarlett had gone to Savannah instead?
So I went to Savannah for her, in my mind, of course. And when I gave up my headspace to that town, not the one that I’d seen overhead on bright green road signs, but the fictionalized version, the Savannah that I had imagined, the Savannah that I wanted it to be, the pen in my hand couldn’t write fast enough. As Addie began to tell me her story, her voice became clearer, and easier to understand, while I wrote by a dimly lit lamp on the bed in my grandfather’s guestroom.
Looking back, I now realize that I never knew how pivotal that moment was at the time. But isn’t that how life is? You don’t appreciate how great a film is, until 75 years have passed and not a single movie since has been anything like it.
I want to see Savannah one day – the real thing, in the flesh, not that moving image in my mind – and I will. I’ll make sure to stop by Atlanta on the way though. Sure, it’s 250 miles out of the way and in a totally different direction, but I would feel lost any other way. Because in my mind, I had to go to Atlanta to get to Savannah.
Besides, I hear they have a really nice Margaret Mitchell Museum, in memory of the beloved author, who fashioned an epic romance of Southern belles and gentleman and war, and most poignantly, all things that were swept up, lost forever, and quite literally, Gone with the Wind.
I’ll read the road signs, and I’ll follow the map. But no compass could ever lead me towards that blessed destination in my mind, that Savannah, that Tara, or that Atlanta. Because they are all one in the same, infinite points, simultaneously splitting and converging, only to do the same thing again.
I know where I’m going, and I know where I’ve been, because all of the tire tracks always lead back to the same place – that dark, secluded, mystical haven of fortune and fate.
On a chilly December night in Savannah, Georgia, seventeen-year-old Addie Smith dreams of an alluring young man, too mysteriously handsome to be real. When spring semester commences the following week, at Maple Creek High, a new student, named Tom Sutton, arrives, bearing a striking resemblance to the beautiful stranger from Addie’s dream. Addie feels inextricably drawn to Tom, and his rare, unwavering resiliency, as the enchanting nature of first love takes hold. But when a cold-blooded criminal returns to Savannah, in pursuit of a long-forgotten possession, Addie must confront the darkest secrets of an elusive, hidden past that threaten to destroy her future.
Author Bio: Lindsay Marie Miller was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL, where she graduated from high school as Valedictorian. Afterwards, Lindsay attended Florida State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with an English Literature major, Psychology minor, and Specialized Studies in Markets and Institutions. Lindsay began writing young-adult romances at the age of 16 and had completed 6 (unpublished) novels by the age of 20. Her debut novel, Emerald Green, has just been released as the first installment in a four-part series of young-adult romantic thrillers. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys singing, playing the piano and guitar, and writing songs. Lindsay currently resides in her hometown of Tallahassee, FL, where she enjoys summers under the sun, in the company of beloved family and friends.
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