Fictional towns vs Real Towns

Gravel country road bordered by ranches.

Today was a beautiful, spring day and I spent it doing one of my favorite things. My husband and I took a leisurely drive with friends into the Texas Hill Country, enjoying the many small towns we passed through along the way.  As always, I absorbed as much of the local culture as I could and sampled as much of the food, as well. This is where I get the ideas for the

many family series I set in Texas.


In Big “D” Dads, I chose to create the fictional town of Oak Grove for my setting. Oak Grove is a small, Texas ranching town just over an hour’s drive from Dallas and a world away. While it’s fictional, it’s typical of the towns you’ll see scattered about the state. There’s usually a town square with stores surrounding it. The buildings will be old. There’s almost always a diner or café or two, a grocery store, perhaps a hardware store. There will be a feed and tack shop in the area, sometimes a basic clothing

store and maybe a general store where the locals gather to shoot the breeze as well as shop. In Oak Grove, I throw in a mechanic’s shop and a great tea/gift shop, well. And there are always churches.

Town Square

So why do I use a fictional town when I have so many charming towns to consider? I like the freedom to match the shops and services the town offers to the needs of my stories. And when I have a nasty mechanic or an incompetent sheriff, I don’t offend the real people who serve in that capacity. Plus, I like the town to offer me a variety of secondary characters, many of whom show up as a main character in a later book.

So while my small towns are usually fictional, they have the trappings of most any small town in Texas. They become real to me because I

know they could be real. So come along with me to Oak Grove, Texas for my next series Big “D” Dads—the Daltons, which begins in June with Trumped-Up Charges. You’ll love it there.




And just a reminder that my current non-western, Cover Me, is available now. It’s an anthology written with two my favorite Intrigue writers, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane.

Eight years ago in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, three men lost everything.  Now it’s time to reclaim what is theirs ….  If you like sensual, romantic suspense, you won’t be disappointed.