Franschoek, South Africa

So many of you have commented how much you love Rapid Falls, the setting for my Keepers series. I love that my fictional town felt so real to you and that many of you cared enough to get in touch with me to share that.  Thank you!

I recently chatted to Emma from Star Crossed Reviews about the town that inspired Rapid Falls but as I frequently get asked about this, I’m re-posting it here.

I knew when I started plotting my Keepers series that the setting would be as important as my characters. I envisioned a small town with a small group of people set within a beautiful valley.

My character, Jenna, from The Keepers: Ethan summed it up perfectly:

“A peaceful, close-knit town where everyone was up in everyone’s business and things like home-baked pie, honesty, and solid friendships still existed.”

Throughout the books, I used multiple settings in an attempt to keep it interesting and fresh. New York, New Orleans and in the final book in the trilogy, a fictional world called Ameera.

But despite these exciting settings, my characters always returned home – to Rapid Falls. A fictional small town set in a valley surrounded by mountains, vineyards and natural beauty. It’s familiar – to my characters as well as my readers – and it’s home. My Keepers own a wine estate, complete with the rows of vineyards and the beautiful, old homestead. They specialise in the production of Ice Wine and come from a solid generation steeped in history and meaning, so this setting seemed perfect for them.

Also, it provided a lot of opportunity for creepy scenes and characters – bridges, forests, tunnels etc. and of course, the isolation that comes within these settings. I live in the mountains, surrounded by forests and dams and magnificent sunsets on surrounding wine farms so this setting felt very natural to write too.

I don’t live in an isolated village like Rapid Falls, my town is much bigger but I drew a lot of inspiration from a small town in Cape Town a few hours away from me – Franschoek.

Set within a valley, the town consists of about 15 000 people and was established in the late 1600’s. It’s known for its annual festivals like the Bastille Festival, Champagne Festival and the SA Literary Festival.

Surrounding the town are many wine estates with rolling hills of vineyards that not only add to the beauty of the town but also produce magnificent wines and champagne. Many of the farms still have their original buildings or farm houses on them, many of which are the traditional Cape Dutch houses.

The town itself has a charming main road consisting of quaint gift stores, a variety of restaurants, art galleries, book stores, and coffee shops.

So although Rapid Falls is fictional, I frequently envisioned this small town as the basis for my setting. I developed this concept into an imaginary home steeped in magic and folk lore. Then I added three hot brothers, three lovely heroines, a few villains, danger, secrets, three beautiful love stories and an epic adventure!

Thanks for reading.
Rae Rivers