One of the most exciting aspects of being an author is creating the setting and bringing a town to life. Small Town, America—pick a spot on the map (or in outer space), give it an interesting name and a history, some interesting residents and you’re off. My fictional town, River Town, is located just outside Macon, Georgia, the cherry blossom capitol of the south and maybe the whole United States. I‘ve lived in the Macon area for 21 years and I can personally attest to the massive number and beauty of the cherry trees. It is truly an amazing sight when they begin to bloom and peak. We may even have more cherry trees than Washington, D.C. (but who’s counting?) With His Dying Breath is set during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival where a canopy of pink and a veil of deception covers the evil acts by one of her own.
My fiction writing experience before this first novel consisted of short stories and newsletter articles. Most of my fact writing experience has been in writing for aviation Websites and magazines. As a reporter for a weekly newspaper near the Okefenokee Swamp, I covered anything and everything happening in our small Southern town from church socials to county commission meetings. That inverted style of writing was not very exciting to me, however. What I loved was the feature writing on the people who lived in our town.
I find small town people fascinating with the proud stories they tell of their town heritage. There’s always at least one person who was born, raised and will die there and he or she will be glad to tell us why. They’re not leery of strangers and it’s fun to play the “do you know?” game to determine if we’re kin! When time permits, my husband and I enjoy taking the back roads when we travel, dining at the mom and pop restaurants, shopping in small antique stores and other locally-owned businesses, visiting local landmarks and making new friends. Our bucket list includes visiting all 159 counties in Georgia and we’re getting close in our quest.
So next time you’re on one of the Interstate speedways, avoid the hustle and bustle and take an exit to ride through the rural towns and view the beautiful scenery. Just a short ride off the Georgia Interstates, you can visit the Okefenokee Swamp, the Ocmulgee or Etowah Indian Mounds, the numerous State parks, Cloudland Canyon, the Little White House and on and on and on. Forgo the fast food pit stop and join the locals for lunch. While waiting on your food to be delivered to your table, you might find that long lost relative.