The Campus

As described in The Strange Dichotomy of Hazeldine Hadley, Arcane Academy is a university for supernatural students, including witches, vampires, therians (shapeshifters), and now an elf.

The building described in the book is heavily inspired by the SUNY Administration building in Albany, New York, where I used to walk my dogs every morning. However, the idea of a castle quietly nestled in the middle of the Haverhill, Massachusetts woods was inspired by Winekenni Castle, as seen below.

Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, Massachusetts

After arriving into the town of Haverhill, they turned onto a tree-lined road. After a few final minutes of twisty-turny driving, they zoomed through a tunnel of hardwoods and evergreens that knit into a ceiling overhead, specks of sunlight filtering in. After the clearing, they pulled up to the Academy and gawked at its grandeur. Designed in a Flemish Gothic style, the building had a 13-story building in the center — colloquially known as Center Tower — flanked with two six-story wings spanning out diagonally on either side. These were known as the South Wing and North Wing, respectively, and each one was capped at the end with an eight-story square tower.

— The Strange Dichotomy of Hazeldine Hadley, chapter two

The on-campus bookstore was one of my favorite things to write about and describe. The interior was based off of Brewer Bookstore in Canton, New York — which was my haven when I lived there. The exterior was loosely based on R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut.

Just a stone’s throw away from the main campus was a standalone red brick structure with a street-level cast-iron facade painted powder blue. Large bay windows decorated with bunting and garland displayed posters and advertised textbooks and brand new works of fiction. On either side of the windows were two slender cast-iron columns, also painted blue, which were engaged into the structure and delicately topped with a pediment inscribed with the words “ARCANE ACADEMY BOOKSTORE”.

— The Strange Dichotomy of Hazeldine Hadley, chapter three

Finally, right behind the main building is the “Armory,” or what used to be an armory-like tower but is now essentially a rounded gymnasium. This isn’t based off of anything in real life, because it’s absolutely ridiculous. I just thought it was fun. East of the main building sits a good sized pond, and there’s a large wooded area behind campus. Both of these are, again, heavily inspired by Winnekenni Park, near the Winnekenni Castle.

A trail in Winnekenni Park in Haverhill, Massachusetts

Read The Strange Dichotomy of Hazeldine Hadley if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, or purchase the book on Amazon, Blurb (this is the cheapest way to buy the paperback!), or Barnes and Noble.

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