Sea Breeze: How to Use Memory and Reality to Produce Fiction

Back in the spring, with nothing to guide me but my memories of my last visit to New Brunswick some twenty years ago and Internet research, I wrote my newest release, Sea Breeze, part of the Sweet & Sassy: Small Town Romances (Sweet and Sassy Romance Book 5) box set.

At the time, we were still under COVID restrictions, and while I’d intended to visit St. Andrews by the Sea, New Brunswick, before I wrote Sea Breeze, I based Eva’s drive to the town on what I remembered of our trek to St John, New Brunswick, years ago. Have things changed? Yes. For one, the toll highway I recalled is no longer a toll road, and it’s four lanes instead of two, but the moose and deer signs are still there. I surprised myself by how close I still came to the reality of the long drive and the town where I set many fictitious locations, including my resort, Sea Breeze. Since the book is part of my Cocktails for You series, the Sea Breeze is also a drink and the name of a busy local restaurant. I had the chowder! It was delicious.

The town of St Andrews by the Sea is every bit as quaint and beautiful as I thought it would be.

While the deer walking freely through the streets were a surprise, the rest of the tourist town wasn’t, with the exception of the marina from which the fishing and the whale sightseeing boat tours departed. In my novel, I’d assumed there would be fishing boats there as well, but they use a different harbor. As well, thanks to the warming of the waters, the large whales are rarely spotted here now.

In my book, I set my hotel on the bluff overlooking Minister Island.

We did make the trek across the seabed to the island. At low tide, there is a three-hour window where you can drive over and visit. The first picture shows us going over, the second is when we came back. The fictional Sea Breeze Resort would be located atop that rise on the left. If you use your imagination, you can just picture it there.

Finally, among the items that can be found along the beach at low tide, I mentioned a Mermaid’s Purse, a skate egg sac. While I didn’t walk along the shore–bad knee still an issue, I did see one at the aquarium. This one is hatched. In case you don’t recognize it, it’s that lovely black thing in the center of the picture. Wouldn’t you like a necklace made of that? Eva wasn’t sure she would either, but treasure, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Finally, I make a big deal of the full moon rising out of the ocean. I’m not a photographer and all I had was my i-phone, but you would have to see it for yourself to appreciate its incredible beauty and wonder. The smaller light on the right is a buoy.

So, there you have it. If you ever have a chance to visit St. Andrews by the Sea, please do. The food is tremendous, the craft brewery in behind the post office is fantastic, and if you can stay in The Algonquin Resort, do so. Oh, and don’t forget to take the ghost tour of the hotel. But that’s fuel for another book.

Sea Breeze is available in the new Sweet& Sassy Small Town Romances box set.


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About Susanne Matthews

I'm a retired high school English teacher turned author. I'm Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren.  I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.

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