Through the years, I’ve “created” a number of towns in which to set my stories, most of them set somewhere in Idaho, a few of them elsewhere. Of course, all novelists do this to one degree or another. Even when they use a real town or city, they add a house or a street or a business. This is true in historicals and contemporaries.
[Tweet “As long as you surround your fictional setting with reality, your readers will go along with you.”]
In Beloved, my September 2013 release, the story setting is Boise, but the home of the Applegates is located on an unnamed boulevard. I’m pretty sure that readers familiar with my hometown will quickly imagine one of two different elegant historical streets as the possible location. But I’m not telling. LOL! The photograph at the top of this post is an actual early home in Boise, but it is not the exact floor plan for the Applegate home. Still, it’s a great example of homes of that era.
Both Grand Coeur (Heart of Gold and my novella in A Bride for All Seasons) and Bethlehem Springs (A Vote of Confidence, Fit to Be Tied, and A Matter of Character) were modeled after gold rush towns in Idaho, primarily Idaho City which was once the largest city in the northwest. I have spent many a day since childhood up in the Idaho City area, swimming in the hot springs, camping beside rushing creeks, riding my horse along a narrow track, wandering through the old buildings, reading headstones in the cemetery. This setting is a little like going home again.
And very soon (just five months from now), I’ll be introducing readers to Kings Meadow, Idaho in A Promise Kept (ebook readers can pre-order for only $4.99 so don’t delay!). I thought Kings Meadow—a small town in the mountains north of Boise with a long history going all the way back to the gold rush era—would be a one-book setting. Funny thing about writing and a writer’s imagination. Things don’t always go as first planned. Kings Meadow just has too much to offer. I am now hard at work on another book in that setting, and the photo at right is one view of how I envision the mountain valley. Makes me want to move there. How about you?
My storyboard has begun to come together for this new book. Not all of my characters are on it yet, but a few of them. Recently, I’ve started keeping my storyboards over on Pinterest so that readers can see them too. If you care to, feel free to follow me on Pinterest or just check out my Work in Progress board.
As a reader, I’m quite eclectic. I love to read historical novels set in many different places and times (Old West, Biblical, Regency and Victorian England, Ancient Rome, Australia, etc.). I love to read contemporary books in various settings as well. But as a writer, I prefer delving into the place I love the most, Idaho and the Northwest.
Idaho’s population isn’t huge. Last I checked, about a million and a quarter. But we have more than our share of beauty throughout the state that includes the most wilderness area of any of the lower 48 states. The setting for Kings Meadow is just one of those beautiful places. I hope you’ll look forward to joining me there.