Previously, I talked a little bit about how I selected the topic and story for Crossroads. This time, I’d like to talk a little bit about the setting for the series.
When I started writing the first book, I just wanted to start writing. I was too eager (and ignorant of the writing process) to do any world-building. However, if you want your story to feel real, then you have to make the setting real. I don’t mean that in a sense that the setting has to exist on the planet Earth, (obviously, hence science-fiction) but it needs to be believable. The setting has to exist in the writer’s eye, so it can come to life in the reader’s mind. Some writers build actual maps of the locations for their stories (if the places don’t already exist). Others rely on a city grid taken straight from real life. When I started Crossroads, I didn’t really plan on doing either. All I knew was that I wanted it set in a real geographic location, so it would be tied with a tangible, physical place, but I also wanted to make it up as I went along to make it fit to the story.
I started with what I thought was a cool town name; Rough River Falls. That originally started as White River Falls, but there is an actual White River in central Indiana, and that’s not where I wanted this story set. I thought Rough River Falls sounded cool. A quick Google search showed me that there is a Falls of Rough near the Rough River Dam in central Kentucky. That was perfect! A real geographic location that people could attach the story to, but there is no town of Rough River Falls, which means I still had the liberty to make it up as I pleased. Or so I thought.
Turns out, as I was writing the story and my characters were traveling around my fictitious town, the locations seemed a little too familiar to me. Subconsciously, as I was describing the town, it ended up being my hometown, Grandview, Indiana, and the surrounding area. If you own the hardback editions of Crossroads and Crossfire, then you’re probably already aware of most of this, but for those of you who are uninitiated into the club, this might be some fresh backstory.
Grandview is a tiny town in southern Indiana, and as we’ve already determined, directly inspired Rough River Falls. The town has a population of approximately seven hundred people, which makes it nearly twice the size of Rough River Falls. Grandview is seated along Indiana State Road 66 on the Ohio River, and occupies a land area of less than 1 square mile – there’s not even a stop light in town. But where Grandview is lacking in commercial appeal, it more than makes up for in hospitality.
Both towns have a country, small-town appeal, where everybody knows your name. You never know if that’s going to end up being a good thing or not though, and in Will McGee’s case, it might just be the thing that gets him in a whole lot of trouble. Check out the Deluxe Photo Tour Hardback Editions of the books in order to get a more in-depth peek at the places that are described in the stories.
Thank you, that is all.