Today’s guest author, Amanda Lee (AKA Gayle Trent) shares how she creates fictional towns with realistic geographic facts without ever leaving her desk! Scroll down to read more about Amanda and today’s book giveaway! (Leave a comment or question on today’s post -Aug 3 and Come back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!)
“How to Get to Tallulah Falls”
Tallulah Falls is the name of the fictional town which provides the setting for The Quick and the Thread. Since my editor wanted the story set in this fictional town on the Oregon coast, and since this was my first job with a “big six publisher,” I readily agreed. But how does a writer from Southwest Virginia find her way to Tallulah Falls, Oregon?
A visit to the Oregon coast was out of the question. I had neither the money nor the time to travel across the country to soak up local color. My first step, therefore, was to search the Oregon coast online. Naturally, my search turned up a lot of tourist-related sites. I requested information from several of them, and soon my mailbox and e-mail in-box was overflowing with Oregon coast travel information. I received brochures and catalogs with beautiful glossy photos. The photos helped me get a feel for the environment. The maps included in the tourist information provided valuable details such as interstate routes, most common types of restaurants and annual activities.
I mention whale watching in The Quick and the Thread. Through the tourist catalogs I received, I learned that whale watching is a favorite winter activity for Oregon coast tourists and residents alike. I thought maybe seeing some whale watching footage might give me more perspective on the activity than merely reading about it, so I did a YouTube search. To my surprise, a search for “whale watching on the Oregon coast” actually yielded results. There weren’t many, but there were enough for me to get a better sense of the excitement of whale watching.
Since travel brochures failed to provide me with an understanding of actually living on the Oregon coast, I searched for online newspapers of towns whose names I’d gleaned from the brochures. I checked out newspapers from Depoe Bay, Lincoln City and Yachats. One of the newspapers offered a six-month online subscription, and I subscribed. I printed out articles of interest and filed them in a large file box. I also checked out the real estate listings and advertisements. After all, I needed to know what type of house Marcy would realistically buy, what types of community events she might want to take part in and what shops would compete with The Seven-Year Stitch.
I finally became enamored of the charming seaside town of Tallulah Falls. If you pay us a visit, I think you might like it, too.
Amanda Lee is the lady next to you in the grocery line or car pool. She has twins: one boy and one girl, she’s a baseball fan, she likes to decorate cakes, she rocks at Guitar Hero…oh, and she likes to think about murder. But it’s okay! She only writes about murder–a lot.
Gayle is also a contributor to WOW! Women On Writing. Her most recent article is Avoiding Plotholes, featured in this month’s Fiction Writer’s Toolkit issue. If you missed it, be sure to check it out! It provides fantastic tips for fiction writers.
Amanda Lee (AKA Gayle Trent)
The first in a new mystery series that will have readers stitching–and itching–for more…
Marcy Singer has big plans: a move to the breathtaking Oregon coast, opening an embroidery shop called The Seven Year Stitch, and a fun grand opening stitch-in. What she doesn’t plan on is the shop’s old owner showing up–DEAD–in her shop. Some people think Marcy killed him. Some people think she’s the next victim. All Marcy knows is someone has to uncover the murderer before she’s forced to flip the sign on her shop door to CLOSED permanently. And it looks like that someone might be Marcy.
Note: The Quick and the Thread hasn’t even been released yet and it’s already been named a Romantic Times Top Pick with a 4 1/2 stars excellent rating!!