• Denise Liebig

What You Don’t Know About Dear Maude

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

I’m often asked for some backstory on my books—information regarding the people, places, and things from Dear Maude and beyond. Well, here goes! I hope you enjoy it. And if you have any questions or would like to read more about things mentioned in The Dear Maude Trilogy, please leave your comments below.

Spoiler Alert! I’ve written the following information assuming you, the reader, have read Dear Maude. If you have not, you can find it by clicking HERE. To find out about my other books, you can click HERE.

Why New York?

Chapter One of Dear Maude begins on the campus of the fictitious Carlston University in upstate New York. You might wonder why I chose that setting, and I have several reasons to offer:

Since the main character, Emily Stanton, is from a close-knit family in Oregon, I wanted to locate her school a long plane ride from home, somewhere outside her comfort zone.

See what I mean?

We all have to begin somewhere, and Emily’s college experience is just the first step in establishing her independence. Little does she know that college is only the beginning of her life living outside the box.

Pretty, right?

I also wanted the campus to be in a rural area but close to a major city or two. Emily’s eventful limo ride and later meeting with George Winston required an expensive restaurant in a nearby city. Upstate New York seemed the best fit, so I Googled it. And there it was—several large cities such as Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo, plus plenty of open territory to locate my fictional college with room to spare for Niagara Falls, the Adirondacks, the Catskills; the list goes on.

But a good setting wasn’t my only reason for choosing New York; I also was drawn to the social history that helped shape the state. During the Gilded Age (about 1870 to 1900), many wealthy and influential families established large estates in New York, and subsequently shaped its social scene. From that time and into the early 1900s, girls from those families were among ones who married lords, earls, dukes, barons, and other titled suitors. Those American heiresses and their inheritances were often used to financially support their new husbands’ failing estates, and in exchange, the girls received the title their mothers had fought so hard to land. Sounds like a good deal for everyone other than the girl! The television series Downton Abbey is based upon such a union, only in that situation, Lady and Lord Grantham are in love. In many cases, that didn’t occur.

This is the world in which Emily Stanton finds herself immersed; it is one of extreme wealth and power, where corruption isn’t far behind, and young females are used as assets to gain even more influence. It’s a challenging place to be for an unsuspecting sociology major from Oregon!


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Next time, I’ll explore the part of Oregon Emily is from: St. Helens.

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