Behind the Book: Brookstone, New York

 The fictional Brookstone, New York is the main setting of The Diamond Collection. Other minor settings are San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dallas, Texas, and the fictional Copperton City, Georgia, which will be introduced in The Ace of Diamonds.

When I first started writing Diamonds in the Rough, I knew that I wanted the main characters to live in a city that matched the lifestyles that I wanted them to have. In other words, I wanted them to live in a populous city that was fast-paced, vibrant, had glitz, glamour and offered a wealth of opportunities. In addition, I wanted it to be a place that was also crime-ridden. The first place I thought of was New York City. The added bonus was that it was known for being immersed with entertainment and fashion. To me, it was the perfect setting for the novel.

Having never visited New York, I realized early on when I first started developing ideas for the novel that this would be somewhat of a problem. Almost everything I knew about the city came from what I saw on television and the internet. Deep down, I knew that I could make it work. The plus of having a real city/state in a novel is that it allows your readers to form an instant connection with the book. It is easier for them to visualize the setting if it is a place that they are already familiar with. For example, if the setting was New York City and I had the characters in Times Square, most readers will automatically see busy streets, tons of people, and billboards everywhere. 

However, with a fictional city, you can create more of your own world. You can create your own restaurants, your own street names, your own colleges, etc. You have more creative control with a fictional city than one that actually exists. The good part about this is that you can take some elements of various “real” cities and combine them into one.

Realizing this, the city of Brookstone, New York was born.

To begin, I’m unsure of where the name actually came from. I just remember writing and typing Brookstone. It’s like it came to life on its own. In the series, Brookstone is one of the biggest cities in the state of New York. It’s not as big as New York City, but it’s a decent size. It is also divided into two parts, East Brookstone and West Brookstone. East Brookstone is stereotyped as the part of the city where the upper class resides while the lower class is considered to live in West Brookstone. To illustrate this, I have Carmen, whose family is well off, living in East Brookstone while her best friend, Tiara, whose family is lower middle class, lives in West Brookstone. I put these characters in two different parts of the city to show that they do mingle despite the stereotypes.

As for the businesses that are established throughout the book, most are in Downtown Brookstone, which is on the Eastside. Below are a few major landmarks that are mentioned in the series.

Landmarks in Brookstone, New York

Brookstone High School- attended by Carmen and Tiara (and a few others who I’ll discuss later *winks*)

Brookstone University- attended by Carmen, Tiara, and Rakim

Davenport Realty- owned by Harold Davenport/ Lotus Pagua (Carmen’s father)

Flame, Inc. – clothing company owned by Carmen (previously owned by her mother, Patricia Davenport)

Sapphire- hip-hop club and bar owned by Jay (was previously an elite gentleman’s club owned by his father, Hector Santiago)

Blue Magic- soul food restaurant owned by Jay and Carmen (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)

Iceland- jewelry store owned by Jay Santiago (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)

Something else you want to know? Leave a comment!



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