Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where the Heck is Mountain Meadow?

I am so excited. Special Delivery, the debut book of my new series, Mountain Meadow Homecomings, is just four weeks away from release. I love reading and writing series. I guess the real payoff for me is in being able to breathe an extended life into characters and locations like Mountain Meadow Virginia
So…Is it real?
The simple answer to this question is no. You won’t find a town by this name in Virginia. However, I will admit to Mountain Meadow being loosely based on several communities. The first is Meadows of Dan. This was the first inspiration for the town because I used to drive through this community along U.S. 58 as I crossed southern Virginia to reach I-77 during trips to visit my family in the Louisville, Kentucky area. It is a very picturesque area, and honestly, since they’ve constructed a highway by-pass around it, I miss winding past its collection of businesses. However, Meadows of Dan, as beautiful as it is, simply wasn’t big enough to accommodate my story vision, so I had to turn to other communities to help flesh out that vision of what I wanted Mountain Meadow to be.
I turned to a couple of towns in North Carolina for help: Yanceyville for its town square and Hillsborough for its atmosphere and thriving business area. Together, all three of these towns melded in my imagination to become Mountain Meadow, Virginia.
I also borrowed from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains for the county in which Mountain Meadow is located. For this, I researched the area from which my mother’s family, the McAfees, originally hailed more than 250 years ago, before they moved into Kentucky and beyond. Botetourt (BOT-a-tot) County helped me create Castle County, as much for government structure as its setting in the Blue Ridge. With a county population under 35,000 according to the most recent census, Botetourt was about the size I wanted Castle County to be.
If you have never visited the Appalachians, including the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains, among others, then you have missed a beautiful and historic area of our country. There are still many areas nearly untouched by man. These are not the more rugged mountains of the western United States. Instead, they are aged and mellowed by eons into areas of lush, green growth, through which wind everything from tiny streams to rivers that can alternate between lazy to crazy in the span of just a few miles.

All of these areas are places I love, so I’ve combined them together to create a place I hope you, my readers, will also love—Mountain Meadow, Virginia.
Special Delivery will release on May 12, 2015, but it is already available for pre-order at your favorite e-book retailer.

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