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Saturday, January 26, 2013

CJ Carmichael: The Pen is Mightier Than … Well, it’s pretty mighty. Take my word for it.



Authors are considered powerful because of our ability to create using words. We create characters. And worlds. Problems. And solutions. At the beginning of a new multi-book series, I like to start by creating the setting. This process begins with choosing a state (or a province) that has a “feeling” that suits the kind of stories I want to write. Stories about single dads trying to create a home for their children (my Three Good Men trilogy)? Easy…New England. 


Stories about a private detective agency with three single, smart, stylish women (my Fox and Fisher Detective Agency trilogy)? Where else but…New York City. 

Stories about a ranching family with a controlling matriarch (my new American Romance 4-book series)? One of the most beautiful places on earth…Montana. (Okay, this is my opinion. But I’ve driven through a lot of Montana and it’s got it all…mountains, lakes, rivers, rolling hills, canyons etc., ect.)

Once I’ve chosen the state, I pull out a map--the old fashioned kind that’s impossible to fold back to the original size. I study this map. I look for a name that inspires me. For me, this time, that name was Coffee Creek. I did some research on the web and then my long suffering spouse and I went on a road trip. Destination: Coffee Creek, Montana. 

My hopes were high as we drove hundreds of miles through ranching and farming territory only to arrive here:  
This is pretty much the highlight of the town. My heart sank. Then rose again. After all, I’m a fiction writer. I could fix Coffee Creek!

And that’s what I did. I totally re-imagined it, and even shifted it a little, moving it closer to the mountains and ranching country. The new Coffee Creek is awesome. It has a topaz-colored creek running through it, a charming café called the Cinnamon Stick and a librarian and postmaster who used to be married, but now avoid one another completely.

photo credit: Rolf Stengl

I’d like to officially invite you to Coffee Creek, Montana, and to the first of my 4-book series: Remember Me, Cowboy.  

To celebrate the launch, I’m giving away my Three Good Men trilogy (The Dad Next Door, Matthew’s Children and Christmas With Daddy) to one random winner. To be entered, all you need to do is tell me the name of your favorite fictional story setting. Tell me why you love it. (Hint: my favorite is Stars Hollow, the setting of the Gilmore Girls. Who wouldn’t want to live there? Seriously. Who?) 

CJ Carmichael
www.cjcarmichael.com



***CJ's winner is Silvia!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing information!***

16 comments:

Eli Yanti said...

I always love cowboy story, think that live in ranch, ride a horse, sounds great :)

Scarlet Wilson said...

I've used Pelican Cove before as a setting. Think MurderSheWrotes Cabot Cove only in California. Where else should the First Lady have her baby while hiding out from the press??!!

Jo's Daughter said...

I've enjoyed Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series and read on her website that it's based on her hometown. I loved that setting and wouldn't mind taking a walk there sometime :)

Silvia said...

Who doesn't love a good man, your cowboys sound great.

I love(d) Cindy Kirk's RX to love series. Don't remember just now where it's taking place. But did think to myself as I was reading it: Great place to visit...

I loved it because, even though I (obviously) had never been there. It felt like I had been. I could picture the houses, the people, everything. It was somehow familiar and comforting.

Quilt Lady said...

I love anything set in the west. I am really fond of my cowboys. You just can't beat a good cowboy story.

quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

Laney4 said...

Guess I'll go with the Washington, DC area, as that's where NCIS is supposed to be set. I can't get enough of Mark Harmon (St. Elsewhere/Sexiest Man Alive) ... or David McCallum (Man from UNCLE) ... Michael Weatherly ... or ... well, you get my drift....

Nicki Bland said...

I've gotta go with Lanford. That's the city where Roseanne's show was. Roseanne was so much like my mom, they even looked alike back then! Favorite fictional city ever.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I've always be wantws to visit Virgin River... forest, rivers, wildlife, good neighbors, etc.

Leni said...

Blossom Street from Debbie Macomber's series is a favorite. I can't remember if there really is a street in Seattle named this, but I love the fictional one. It's the type of neighborhood I'd like to live in. With the people, stores and local it has all the qualities that are pleasant.

CJ Carmichael said...

Wow, I love all your answers. Isn't it amazing what strong emotions can be associated with a place? And I'm glad so many of you enjoy cowboy stories.

Laney, Washington is also the setting for Bones--an old TV series, but a good one!

Nicki, how awesome you had a mom like Roseanne! She was so funny in that show!

Kaelee said...

Hi C.J. ~ I loved Jan Karon's Mitford books.

I loved your Three Good Men series. It's quite sometime since I had you autograph all three books for me. Really looking forward to your Coffee Creek books.

Kimberlyindy said...

Hi, I am just starting to read your books. I am not sure what took me so long. I love Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold town and Debra Clopton's Mule Hallow for different reasons, but I think they would both just be lovely places to live. Looking forward to your new series, I just got "Remember Me, Cowboy."

Mary Preston said...

Avonlea in ANNE OF GREEN GABLES always sounded like somewhere I would love to live. The name is also so very close to the Avalon from the Arthurian legends. Bound to have a touch of it's own brand of magic I always thought.

Laurie G said...

I like the peaceful, small town, resort atmosphere of Susan Wigg's upstate New York Lakeshore Chronicles series. It takes place in Avalon New York and on the shores of Willow Lake. It sounds so picturesque, the people are friendly and interesting.

Di said...

First fictional small town that popped into my head was Mayberry - a classic. I guess I've always liked small towns.
sallans d at yahoo dot com

CJ Carmichael said...

Hey Kaelee--I'd love to do it again! :)

Oh, you guys are naming so many fictional places that I love too. But probably one of my favorite is Green Gables. I've imagined Lover's Lane so many times. And the lake of shining waters. And the blooming of the fruit trees in the spring time...

Kimberlyindy, I sure hope you enjoy Remember Me, Cowboy. Thanks for giving my books a try!