There is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C., called Kalorama. I lived not too far from there for a few years, just down the street in Dupont Circle. Dupont Circle was a fabulous place to live, particularly as a young, single adult — lots of restaurants, bars, clubs, bookstores (what, aren’t all young people looking for a good bookstore?).


Kalorama, on the other hand, is an upscale neighborhood. Imagine big houses with thick walls surrounding large gardens. Black limousines wait in the tree-lined streets more often than taxis. So close, yet a world away.


One house in particular in Kalorama caught my attention. I must have driven past it once while living in D.C. and lodged the memory away somewhere in the back of my brain, because as soon as I got to work on developing the characters for my second book, A Thin Veil, knew that one of them lived in that house. And it didn’t take long to realize he must be the French ambassador to the United States.

I had only seen the house once, several years before, so I did what all diligent researchers do: I googled it. Google maps is a wonderful tool — absolutely no replacement for the real thing, don’t get me wrong, but the details you can find online can be astounding (if not a little frightening).

I spent hours “walking” up and down the street in front of that house, stopping at different angles to see the way the light hit it, to get a glimpse over the wall into the back garden. I also found a variety of photographs of the house, from the inside and outside (mostly from the outside).

By the time I went back to D.C. for another in-person visit, I felt like I knew the house intimately!

It’s a beautiful house. No wonder it proved to be such an inspiration to me. Ambassador Saint-Amand is one of my favorite characters now. Writing the scene in which I first introduce the reader to the house — and the ambassador — was a true joy.

Of course, not all of my characters are inspired by the house in which they live. But it’s fun to think how much anything — a house, a boat, a church, even a city park — can serve as an inspiration.


Meet Ambassador Saint-Amand and get to know the neighborhoods of D.C. in book 2 in the Adam Kaminski mystery series, A Thin Veil.

Learn more about Jane Gorman at or visit her pages on Amazon or Bookbub.



6 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. I’ve only visited Washington D.C., but my daughter lived there once and we really enjoyed her stories of walks with her dog around the area. It’s a good background for a book or a movie. It’s been there in many books I’ve read and even more movies or T.V. series I’ve seen.


    1. It truly is a beautiful setting – and lends itself well to mysteries! Thanks for sharing your experience.


  2. Jane, I think it adds to the “realness” of a story when the author has a connection with a setting. My historical westerns have many ghost towns and I love going to the historical societies in the areas and digging up information on them. My Shandra Higheagle mysteries are mainly set on a mountain. I grew up at the base of a mountain much like Shandra lives on and enjoy “revisiting” my experiences when I write the books. Great post! Enjoyed book one!


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