I knew before I even started the Sherbrooke Station series that the setting was going to be more than just a backdrop for the stories' events. Montreal has always been such a special place to me, and in a way, this series is a way to pay homage to that and capture all the things about the city that I love and want to make other people love too. I may be a little bit fanatical when it comes to good ole' MTL.
Several scenes in Your Echo take place in what is probably my favourite place in the entire city (I may even have a tattoo of its geographic coordinates. I told you I'm fanatical...) To me, Parc Lafontaine is like a slice of everything that's good about Montreal contained within a few acres. There's always something going on. In fact, there's usually many things going on at once. You can find all types of people imaginable there at any given time, just enjoying the moment together in their own ways. Here's an excerpt from the novel that first introduces the park to the story:
"We reach the edge of Parc Lafontaine: a few sprawling, tree-filled acres with a huge pond and a network of twisting paths. Shirtless douchebags in shorts that are way too tight run laps around the edge with iPhones strapped to their biceps. College kids sit on blankets by the water, strumming guitars and covertly smoking weed. Someone’s throwing their kid a birthday party at a picnic table, balloons and streamers hanging from the tree above."
I just love the way you can find absolutely everything there. It's a place that means different things to different people, but it still draws them there all the same.
Another location that features a few times in the novel is Boulevard Saint-Laurent. It's one of the main hubs of the city, full of shops, bars, and restaurants. There's always some kind of festival or event going on, at pretty much any hour of the day or night. Again, it's a place that's experienced in a different way by everyone who visits it, and as Ace exemplifies in Your Echo, that experience is not always not always pretty or positive:
"I can hear the noise of Saint-Laurent from where we are: the car horns blaring at wayward pedestrians, the cacophony of clinking cutlery in the dozens of restaurants. Underneath it all there’s the thumping bass getting pumped out of nightclubs that won’t fill up for another few hours, a steady lub-dub beat that pulses in time with all the dark hearts in this city. There’s not a sticky staircase on that street I haven’t stumbled up at some unholy hour of the night, alcohol burning at the back of my throat and in my veins."
One of the most gratifying things about the feedback I've received on the series so far is having readers tell me they've become more inspired to visit Montreal after following Sherbrooke Station's story. The fact that I've sparked an interest in the city with my writing feels incredible, and has really helped fuel me to get the rest of the series out there! I'm so excited to explore some new locations and show different sides of the city in the next two books, and I'm pretty stoked for my next trip to Montreal to get some more inspiration. I guess I can justify it as a 'work trip' now (not that I ever need an excuse to go to Montreal!)