Dutchman’s Creek, Colorado, is a place I made up. If you pointed to a map and asked me to show you where it was, I would just shrug. But after writing five books (including my current WIP) about the little mountain valley, its town and generations of its people, Dutchman’s Creek has become as real to me as any spot on earth.
Ringed by wooded foothills, the valley is located near the eastern edge of the Rockies. To the west, towering peaks rise against the sky. Looking east, the mountains are gentler, sloping off to the vast prairie. It’s a place of crisp mountain air, brutal winters, fragile springs and glorious autumns.
The small but prosperous town serves as a center for the surrounding farms and ranches. A railroad spur from Denver brings two trains a day, and there’s a little café adjacent to the depot. The businesses that line the main street include several stores, a saloon, a bank and a hotel. Off on side streets are a church and a school.
Dutchman’s Creek started as the setting for my 2005 book, HER DEAREST ENEMY. Banker Brandon Calhoun and schoolmarm Harriet Smith, now married, still live there and show up in subsequent stories. Young sheriff Matt Langtry transferred to Wyoming to become the hero of WYOMING WILDFIRE.
After that book, I thought I was finished with Dutchman’s Creek. Then I realized it would be the perfect setting for my 2008 book, THE BORROWED BRIDE. That book introduced the Seavers and Gustavson families to the valley and blossomed into a series. Its sequel, HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE was set mostly in San Francisco, but the Colorado town was still home base.
My March 2010 book, THE HORSEMAN’S BRIDE, takes us back to the ranch. Headstrong Clara Seavers, a baby in THE BORROWED BRIDE and a six-year-old in HIS SUBSTITUTE BRIDE, is all grown up and ready for a man of her own. And Jace Denby is all man. But Jace is one step ahead of the law. He has to keep running or face death at the end of a rope. How can Clara find a way to make him hers forever?
You can learn more and get a sneak preview on my web site, www.elizabethlaneauthor.com. Hope you’ll stop by Dutchman’s Creek soon for a visit, maybe put your feet up and stay awhile…
Do you like imaginary settings or real settings? What’s your favorite fictional setting?
I’ll be giving away a copy of THE HORSEMAN’S BRIDE to one lucky winner, drawn from all of you who post.