It’s always fun to start a new series. Especially when it comes to figuring out where the stories will happen. I’ve set books in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas, along with Aubrey, Fort Worth, and Bandera Texas. In my rodeo series set in Aubrey and Fort Worth, my characters had family connections in tiny Medina and visited a ranch there based on my father-in-law’s ranch.
My father-in-law left this world in 2008 after close to fifty years serving as a Southern Baptist Pastor. His wife–we call her Texas mom–still lives on the ranch and we visit her every few years. That’s her in the picture on the left on the brick streets of Fort Worth where we met for a visit during a research trip there several years ago.
It made sense to set my new ranching series in Medina. There’s really no research to be done since I know the area well. If anything, I need my memory refreshed on details, but I know just who to call when I do. And then there’s always fictional liberty where I occasionally move a business or create a fake one to suit my story.
Medina is an unincorporated community with a population of around five-hundred in the Texas Hill Country. It’s a lot like where we live in Arkansas and always feels like home when we visit. For this series, I created a ranch where my heroine is starting a rodeo, a second ranch where my hero retreats after a bull riding injury for occupational therapy, and a third ranch where my heroine runs a flea market in her family barn. All three books will release in 2020 and so far I’ve only turned the first one in to my editor.
I got to incorporate my favorite places where we shop and eat when we’re there. My characters visit the Apple Store in Medina, where we always buy Apple Pumpkin Bread and Apple Peach Cobbler Jam. Since Bandera is only fifteen minutes away, my story people eat at the Old Spanish Trail or OST as it’s known and shop the gift shops there.
It’s fun to fictionalize memories into my stories. On our last visit, our son ordered catfish, and I got shrimp. Both were huge. We talked about how everything’s bigger in Texas and I told the waitress my shrimp looked like chicken legs. That conversation went in book one. Sorry for the blurry pics. I’ve never claimed to be a photographer, but you get the gist of the size of our vittles. Not only were they huge, but really yummy.
The only problem with setting my stories in Medina–I’m getting homesick for my second home. Even though, I love where we live, we went to Medina in December, and Texas mom came here in March, we may have to make a trip soon.
Is there a place you love to visit or get homesick for? Answer the question to get in the drawing for a copy of Sweetheart Reunion. Deadline: July 22nd. I’ll be around until noon, but have to leave for an afternoon appointment. Don’t think I’m ignoring y’all, I’ll be back this evening.