It’s always a special day when one of our fillies return to the corral! We’re so happy to have you with us again, Tracy!
Have you ever noticed how the setting of a book is an essential part of a story? There may be exceptions, but I don’t think you can pick up a story and drop it into another place—state, landscape, town versus farm. It just wouldn’t work well.
When I started writing JAMES, I decide to set it in Nebraska for several reasons. First, I needed the town of King’s Ford to be close enough to a mining area that my heroine could make the trip, but far enough away that it would be dangerous for her. Since there was gold mining in the Black Hills of the Dakota territory, I grabbed my atlas (yes, I still have one) and looked for the path she would have to take. It led me to a place near Chadron, Nebraska, a real town in the northwestern corner of the state.
The location gave me a wagon route to Cheyenne, Wyoming, that a wagon train might take, and a grassland that would support a yearly cattle drive to the railhead in North Platte. Perfect, I thought.
Now, I’d been through Nebraska once while on a tour with my college choir. We sang in Lincoln, then lit out for Colorado. All I really remember is that I could see the Rocky Mountains coming for hours and hours—it felt like days!
So, my memory of Nebraska is flat. Research, however, made me realize that wasn’t the case for the area I’d chosen. Back to editing.
JAMES is set in the rolling hills of northwestern Nebraska. And those hills come into play in the story. So does the weather, but that’s another blog.
What do you think? Do you care where a story is set or does it not really matter to you?
Leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win one of two electronic copies of JAMES.
JAMES by Tracy Garrett
After five years leading the Lord’s flock in King’s Ford, Nebraska, The Reverend James Hathaway is used to the demands on his time. But nothing could prepare him to find a baby in a basket on his front step. He always expected to marry before becoming a father. Then a young widow agrees to help him learn to care for the child and he wonders if he hasn’t found his future.
Widow Esther Travers is still reeling over the loss of her newborn baby girl when she’s asked to help care for another baby. Vowing to get the little one off to a good start, she doesn’t plan to fall for the very handsome preacher, too.
“Reverend! Reverend Hathaway!”
James heard Tad shouting long before he reached the cabin at the north end of King’s Ford, the town he’d called home for nearly five years now. The seven-year-old ran errands for many folks in town, though most often it was for the doctor. If Doctor Finney was sending for a preacher this early in the morning, it couldn’t be good news. James buttoned his vest and pulled on his frock coat then glanced in the small mirror hung beside the front door to be sure his collar was tucked in properly, then studied his face.
He looked tired. A wagon had creaked and rumbled past his home well before dawn and the noise had dragged him from a sound sleep. He’d been sitting at the table since then, trying to write his Sunday sermon, but inspiration hadn’t gotten out of bed with him. Ah, well. It was only Tuesday.
James glanced around his small home. The parsonage, if you could call the drafty, poorly lit cabin by so lofty a title, sat at the far north end of town. The church sat to the south of the parsonage, which meant the larger building did nothing to block the winter winds that howled down from the Dakota hills thirty or so miles away.
Deciding he wouldn’t scandalize any parishioner he passed, he lifted his hat from the small table under the mirror and opened the door. He was so focused on Tad that he nearly tripped over a basket left on his stoop.
“What on earth?”
“Yes, Tad, I see that. Who left it here?” He immediately thought of the wagon that had awoken him. “Why didn’t they knock? I’ve been home since nightfall.”
Tad crept closer, lifted a corner of the cloth covering the contents, and jumped back like there was a snake inside. “Baby!” Tad yelled.
“Don’t play games, Tad. Tell me what’s…” James didn’t jump away, though he wanted to. “Merciful heavens, there’s a baby in here.”
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