I’m a small-town gal. While I grew up in a city of around 300,000 people (we still called it a large village), I fell in love with small towns after moving to Texas. The feeling of community, caring, slow pace, knowing your neighbors by name, and little traffic always appealed to me.
When I started writing my first series, I wanted to set it in a small town in south Texas. And thus Rios Azules was built in my imagination. I struggled with the name. Any town names I came up with already existed either in reality or in fiction. Finally, I found the name I liked and simply translated it into Spanish, as many towns in south Texas have Hispanic names. A river runs near this fictional town, so I decided on Rios Azules, or Blue Rivers. I still have doubts that the name might be unclear, so I want to take this opportunity to ask you, dear readers. Are you okay with Rios Azules, or should I include a translation in the backmatter? Thank you very much in advance!
As my booklist grew, so did Rios Azules. Characters from other places fell in love with the inhabitants of my small town and moved to Rios Azules, and new establishments started appearing, as well. I want this small town to be a place where people care about each other, forgive each other, and love each other, no matter what. A place where I’d love to live myself. Not perfect, but peaceful and beautiful in its own way. And it doesn’t hurt that it has great restaurants where one can get delicious tacos with barbacoa or a Russian chocolate pie. It’s such a joy when readers mention in reviews or letters how much they like Rios Azules!
Here’s a fun game. Can you guess from the following list which Texas town/city names I made up? (Maybe they do exist, but I was unable to find them on the map). Comfort, Utopia, Holiday, Turkey, Antelope, Natalia, Charlotte, Hilda, Kelly, Henrietta, Texas City, Scotland, Groom, Bride, Spur, Munday, Loving (my favorite!). Hint: one of them is the heroine’s name in my book. The first person to guess all town names I made up will receive 1 Kindle copy of my book Season of Miracles (set in a small town, of course!) and a $5 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is limited to commenters with www.amazon.com account.
Do you like romance books set in small towns? If so, what do you like about them? Any fictional small towns that stand out in your memory? Any small town you traveled to that you liked very much? And do you, by any chance, live in a small town?
I’m offering a giveaway to one randomly chosen commenter to this post: 1 Kindle copy of my book Season of Joy. The giveaway will end at 11 p.m. CST on July 5th.
I look forward to reading your comments!