When a writer embarks on a new world-building adventure, there’s always the question – why?
Why Summer Creek?
Why this place?
Why these characters?
Today, I’ll answer a few of these questions.
Several years ago, the idea for a new modern-day western romance series trickled into my thoughts. I knew I wanted the setting in a remote area and liked the idea of it being close to Burns, Oregon, where there are mountains in the distance and sagebrush all around. At the time, I thought the story would be set south of Riley, heading toward Lakeview.
I jotted down notes for the first three books in the series, tucked them away, and thought about the possibilities on random occasions.
Last summer, I was on my way to church on a gorgeous Sunday morning and took a back road to get there. I drove past a ranch that had summer in the title. It made me think about different Summer names, and Summer Creek popped into my head. I started thinking about ideas for a series that could be based on a ranch named Summer Creek.
Fast forward six months to a day when Captain Cavedweller and I were on a three-hour road trip. I looked over at him, told him about the ideas for the two series, then said, “What do you think about combining the two ideas and calling the town Summer Creek?”
The entire drive, we brainstormed, bounced ideas around, and I took pages and pages of notes. By the time we returned home, I was giddy with excitement. And that’s how the Summer Creek series came to be.
As for the town of Summer Creek, no real town exists anywhere except in my imagination. Inspiration for Summer Creek, though, comes from a mixture of the little town that was near our farm during my growing up years, a small community we currently live close to, and how I envision Summer Creek might appear if it was real.
Summer Creek is full of quirky characters, an assortment of businesses (although far too few), and history (so much history!).
I could easily write a dozen books with all the notes I have and stories I want to develop. For now, though, I plan to release three books in the series this year.
One character with four legs I had a particularly fun time writing into the story is a goat named Ethel. She can be found wandering all over town, eating an interesting variety of things.
Here’s a little scene with Hud and Emery (the two main characters):
Distracted by him, by his masculinity and strong bearing, she turned her gaze outside the window once again. The farms grew smaller and the houses clustered closer together as they neared Summer Creek.
The goat she’d seen when she first arrived in town stood on top of the stagecoach in front of the bar and grill, eating what appeared to be a bright yellow tube sock. Emery gawked at it, causing Hud to chuckle.
“That’s Ethel. No one is certain who the goat belongs to, but she’s harmless and spends most of her time at the school so the kids can pet her, or at the vet clinic where she keeps the other animals company.”
You can pre-order Catching the Cowboy, the first book in the Summer Creek series, today for just $1.99. Make sure you get your copy at the discounted price. It will go up to $5.99 after it releases!
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