If you’re an author, do you set your stories in real or fictional towns? I do a little of both, using real towns or areas as the larger backdrop but having the majority of the action take place in a fictional town of my creation. You don’t get into trouble by mentioning real places this way. And no one can tell you, “Hey, you got that detail wrong!” Also, it’s just plain fun creating a town. In my Class of ’85 books, the editor for the series gave us a starting point in the fictional town of Summerville, New York located on the shores of Lake Ontario where the 25 year reunion of the class of ’85 would be held. The authors who wrote for the series filled in the details, chatting with each other on a group loop to keep all the facts straight. It was a great collaborative effort, and I think we were all very proud of the results.
Nothing But Trouble is my contribution to the Honky Tonk Hearts series. For this series, the editor gave us the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk located on Route 66 on the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas and instructions to include at least one scene in the bar. That’s it. The rest was up to each individual author. I decided to create my own town on the Texas/New Mexico border, a forty-five minute drive from the honky tonk. Then, because I’d had so much fun collaborating on my first series, I put the word out that other authors were more than welcome to use my town of Redemption, Texas. Well, two took me up on the offer and started asking questions. Yikes! I actually needed to get organized beyond scribbled notes and handcrafted drawings. So, I made a list of all the businesses that would be included in my story and gave the town a history. Then, with the help of my daughter who thought I was incredibly lame, I made a map of my town using a paint file. The other authors gave me their input, and I added those businesses. I was able to send the files to them, and we all knew that the church was on Oak Street and the movie theatre on Main Street across from the Sunrise Café. Very, very cool.
Maybe you aren’t writing a story as part of a series with other authors, but you never know when you might want to create a sequel to your own book. Having all these details at your fingertips is a huge bonus. It saves time hunting through your original story to see if your heroine turned right or left to get to the store from her house. You may not remember, but trust me one of your readers will if you get it wrong! LOL
Today I’m giving away a PDF copy of Nothing But Trouble. Just leave a comment or send me an email at jannine @ janninegallant.com (without the spaces) to be eligible to win.