Happy to have author Liza O’Connor as my guest today and she’s going to talk about a piece of her worldbulding for SAVING CASEY, which involves answering the question: How can Connecticut not have a Walmart?
Take it away, Liza!
Liza: It’s a foundational requirement of civilization.
Actually, there are 32 Walmarts in Connecticut.
However, they aren’t any Walmarts in the Eastern Gold Coast communities of Darien, Greenwich or New Canaan. But then those towns aren’t your normal typical seaside communities. They are uber rich seaside homes with quick access to NYC.
Today, I’d like to share some interesting facts about Darien, Connecticut.
First off, you are almost certainly mispronouncing the name of the town. By not pronouncing their town correctly, they can identify a poser at once. Darien is pronounced like “Dairy Ann” emphasis on Ann.
Darien has a population of about 20,000 with about 6,600 homes in its 13,000 square miles. The household median income is about $188,000. And while that is high, (7th in the nation) it clearly indicates that more than millionaires live here, because a $22 million house should come with a billionaire or a mega millionaire. (Oddly, there are only two billionaires.) And the lesser $4 to $10 million houses should come with a multi to mega-millionaire. However, it is possible that our current tax codes allow them not to recognize most of their income so their ‘federal tax’ income is much less than their real income.
When I checked out the houses for sale, I discovered most of them were in what one might call the middleclass (2,000-3,000 sq. ft) & lower middle class (900-1500 sq ft) living except for the price. To buy your middleclass normal sized home, you’ll need $1-2 million. And to buy a lower middle class small home, you’ll need $500K to a $900K.
Clearly, real poor people can’t afford to buy a house and live there, and honestly the towns around aren’t much cheaper. Thus, explaining why Darien has only 2% citizens living below poverty line. (You’re considered in poverty if you only make $11,670 as a single person. BTW, CT has 25% of its population below poverty, so 2% is incredibly low). Honestly, I’m surprised they have any who are that poor. I must presume they are the young or old and must depend on the socialite charity efforts to survive. The town has a great deal of philanthropic efforts.
And how did these smaller houses come to be? After the Civil War, the mega-rich began building summer homes in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan. Naturally, they required servants, so a ‘poor section’ of homes formed around the railroad tracks in the early 1900 to serve the great mansions on the Gold Coast. And this explains the existence of tiny homes and moderate homes. It also suggests how a poor person could still afford to live in Darien, if the house had been passed down each generation and they receive relief on their property taxes. Darien also has senior care homes.
96% of residents are white with a sprinkle of Asians, Black, Indian and Pacific Islanders. While Darien High School is ranked #1 in Connecticut, many of the uber rich appear to still send their children to private schools outside of Darien.
Darien has over 20 boutique shops (that won’t let my character Cass buy anything), 9 country clubs, 11 parks or bench areas, and 5 harbors.
I considered driving up there to walk through the town with Cass’s eyes, but the one time I was in Darien, I got horribly lost in the hills. I finally found a normal home and a guy who told me how to get back to the turnpike before I ran out of gas. I honestly felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone of mansions.
Speaking of horror films, both versions (1975 & 2004) of “The Stepford Wives” movie were filmed in Darien. Which indicates they might have a sense of humor. Otherwise, why would they allow them to film in their town?
Book 1 of the Requires Rescue Series – Contemporary Suspense
When 80 year old Cass Goldman learns she has inoperable cancer, she decides to end her life, peacefully on her terms. So imagine her horror when she wakes to find herself in a hospital with strange rich people staring at her. It’s not until the doctor arrives to examine her that she realizes she’s no longer old. She’s in the body of a seventeen year old teen named Casey.
Unfortunately, her new body comes with some serious baggage. First of all, the kid has burned every bridge imaginable. Secondly, those ‘people’ in her room are her outrageously rich parents and while the Dad seems friendly, the mother wants nothing to do with her. The moment they take her home to a horrifically huge mansion, which she dubs Tara, she’s abandoned to the care of the butler.
While Cass is determined to turn this train wreck of a life around, doing so is far harder than she expected. In fact, without help, she’ll end up dead just like the last occupant of this body. Thankfully, her dad has his hunky head of security become her body guard. Between her eighty years of life lessons and hunky Troy’s help, she just might live long enough not to be jail bait.
A moment later, a knock sounded on the door. “Come in,” Cass yelled.
A curly-haired young man, wearing a black suit, entered and smiled at her.
Damn if her body didn’t warm by twenty degrees. “And you are…?”
“Jason. The car awaits you for your outing.” He lowered his lids in a sultry ‘come hither’ look.
She dropped her book as arms and legs tangled in the simple act of getting off the couch.
For Godsakes, calm down! It’s just a driver under the age of fifty, not Justin Beaver…Beamer, or whatever the hell his name is!
Her nerve endings didn’t listen. The mere sight of a young man sent them pinging.
She had a great desire to whack herself on the head, but resisted, fearing it might frighten away the driver.
Finally getting vertical, she stared about the room as she tried to get her brain to rein in her sexual overdrive. What did she need to successfully go shopping? Money.
“Do you have the credit card?”
He smiled and nodded.
“Then I guess we’re ready to go.”
“You might want to fix your hair.”
She hurried to a mirror to see what her hair could possibly be up to. Seriously, how much trouble could two-inch stubs get into?
Wow! The back half stood straight up as if frozen in a giant tsunami.
Three minutes under a sopping wet brush and the black stubble finally settled down. She turned to the young man. “Ready.”
His eyes rounded in horror, as he gave her a slight shake of his head.
He focused on her sweats.
“It’s all I have.”
“I don’t think they’ll let you in the store to buy anything.”
“Then we’ll go to Walmart. They not only let people wearing sweats enter their store, some old person will even smile and greet the poorly dressed slob.”
“We don’t have one of those.”
She was about to counter that she was a shoe in for the role of town slob, but then realized he meant something even worse.
How can a town not have a Walmart? It’s a foundational requirement of American Civilization. “Let’s just go. I’m sure we can find someplace willing to let me in.”
SALES LINK: AMAZON
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (written BY the author – I’d never call a friend who was visiting a ‘nut’ LOL):
Liza O’Connor is a nut.
Not a real nut, but she is prone to being a smart ass at times, and not surprisingly her heroines say odd and inappropriate things in her book, as well. So even in a suspense novel you can expect to laugh along the way. That’s because Liza loves to see humor in the crazy world around her.
Saving Casey was actually the first book Liza published. Having recently reclaimed her rights to the book, she is happily re-publishing it as her 18th book. And because her books sell better when in a series, she using Saving Casey to kick off a new series called Requires Rescue. It will be different from her other series where the same characters show up in each book. This series will be about strong women who are trying to go it alone, only when help is offered, they have the good sense to accept the helping hand, because in all of our lives, there will come a time you need someone else to help you. Being strong doesn’t make us invincible. Book 1 is Casey/Cass’ story. Book 2 will be about an entirely different young woman who desperately needs help before she’s murdered on the streets of NYC. Book 3, well the plot is super unique, and more books will follow.
You’ll be able to read the series in any order you want, but in each case, you’ll have a strong young woman, a guy stepping up to help when no one else does, and danger galore with humor stuffed in anywhere I can.
I hope you’ll come along with me so you can laugh, love, and get revenge.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIZA O’CONNOR:
Liza’s Blog and Website Facebook Twitter