Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Edie Ramer: Love, Life and Fiction in a Small Town

Now that I have a series about a small Wisconsin village, I know why so many other authors set series in a small town. A small town is like a large extended family, with all the weirdness and craziness that comes with that.

When you think of Mayberry, you probably first think of Andy Griffiths walking with a really cute Ron Howard carrying fishing poles... But then don’t you think of Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy? Or Aunt Bea’s apple pie? And the way that Andy helps everyone who comes into Mayberry?

Author Misty Evans recently said, “My hometown has less than 4,000 people. There are some great folks here, but gossip is rampant. The saying is, you can’t do a cartwheel in your front yard at 8 a.m. without everyone knowing about it by dinner time.

I used to be a huge mystery buff, and cozy mysteries have a lot of small town series. My favorite series have a romantic interest to go along with the murder. Here are a few small towns and villages you might recognize from TV and fiction:

Murder She Writes (Cabot Cove)
Debbie Macomber (Blossom Street and Cedar Cove)
Brenda Novak (Dundee, Idaho)
Tonya Kappes (Grandberry Falls)
Lisa Kleypas (Friday Harbor series, which I love because there are magical elements in this contemporary romance, so now I can compare my Miracle Interrupted books to her series)
Stacey Joy Netzel (Romancing Wisconsin – and how smart is that? Her stories are set in a small town, but for the series title, she uses a whole state!)
In “Famous in a Small Town,” Miranda Lambert sings:
“Every last one, route one, rural hearts got a story to tell
Every grandma, in law, ex girlfriend
Maybe knows it just a little too well
Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail
Hey words gonna get around
Everybody dies famous in a small town.”

In the short story, “The Thumb Mark of St. Peter” by Agatha Christie, Miss Marple, a spinster who lives in the English village of St. Mary Mead, says, “...human nature is much the same everywhere, and, of course, one has opportunities of observing it at closer quarters in a village.”

Like Miranda Lambert says, “rural hearts got a story to tell,” and that’s what I do. Tell the stories that happen in the village of Miracle, Wisconsin: a place where a miracle has been prophesied and even cats and dogs have stories to tell.
I’m giving away an e-copy of any of the books from my Miracle Interrupted series, winner’s choice! All my books stand alone, so it’s not necessary to read them in order. Do you have a favorite small town series from TV or a book? And if you live in a small town, does gossip travel that fast by you?

Edie Ramer

***Edie's winner is Melissa!  Please email with your mailing information!***


Edie Ramer said...

Lee, thanks for having me as your guest today! It looks great!

Eliza Daly said...

I have to admit, I watch reruns of Murder She Wrote. I didn't watch it when it came out in the 80s because I'm sure I was too hip for it. :-) But I like simple, no-brainer, mysteries and I like the dynamics of repeat characters.

Oh, the stories I could tell you about the small town of 268 people that I grew up in. It's a book in itself, or probably a series. I'm sure I'll be able to relate to your series Edie. And I love both covers, especially the beagle!

caseyclifford said...

I love small towns though I think my mom grew up in the smallest one ever. But that's probably why I will gravitate to series set around small towns. Like Miracle, like Redemption. Cabot Cove and remember Northern Lights?

I also think once you set up your original town plan and the characters they become easier to write quickly as you are so familiar with the setting, as writer or reader, and there's always a character to introduce.

But I'll add this. Neighborhoods in bigger towns and cities also can have that flavor. I grew up in one.

Edie Ramer said...

Eliza, I didn't know they had Murder She Wrote on TV. I'll have to find out when so I can watch it.

It's funny you said you like the cover with the Beagle. I would've thought you'd like the cat cover.

Marilyn Brant said...

What a fun post!! Thanks, Lee and Edie :).
Edie, I've always really loved stories that take place in small towns, too, in TV shows as well as in books. "Northern Exposure" and the "Gilmore Girls" were particular favorites. And you know what Jane Austen chose country neighborhoods with just a handful of families as her primary setting. You can get a range of human behavior in a relatively small place for sure!

Edie Ramer said...

Casey, I do remember Northern Lights. It was a great show for a few years. It is easier to write the characters, because I already know them as secondary characters. I don't have to create them. Yet while I'm writing, the characters show parts of them I didn't know before.

Edie Ramer said...

Marilyn, you know I loved Gilmore Girls. And I loved that about Jane Austen's books too. She was great with her characterizations. You can find the same personalities today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Eliza Daly said...

Well of course I like the cat cover, that's given. :-) Yeah, Murder She Wrote is on a channel in the 100s like the mystery channel or something. Sometimes it's on every night of the week and sometimes just here and there.

Edie Ramer said...

I'll look for it. It used to be on Hallmark every night, but I kept forgetting.

I think I'm going to have a cat cover for my next book, too. :)

Barbara E. said...

My favorite small town was Cicely, Alaska from Northern Exposure. I loved all the quirky characters and the challenges they faced with the extreme weather. I've never lived in a small town, but I think it would be fun to know everyone and get into the gossip, as long as it wasn't ever malicious.

Edie Ramer said...

Barbara, I loved Northern Exposure, too, and never figured out why it was canceled so suddenly. I agree about the gossip. I've read studies that say gossip is actually therapeutic. So I should take it easy on the two gossip queens in my stories. lol

Mary Preston said...

I always loved watching MURDER, SHE WROTE with Angela Lansbury. I kind of figured that if I saw Jessica Fletcher anywhere in the vicinity, and the same goes for Miss Marple, I'd make myself scarce.

Michelle H. said...

Like you, I love Lisa Kleypas' Friday Harbor series and Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove. A new "small town" series that I'm addicted to is Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series. Gotta' love nosy neighbors & quirky characters!

erin said...

Thanks for the fun post and giveaway! I've always loved the Andy Griffin show :)

Edie Ramer said...

Mary, that's funny. I certainly don't think Cabot Cove is a healthy place to visit. As for Miss Marple, I'd love to sit down with her and chat about village life. I bet she'd have some stories to tell me.

Edie Ramer said...

Michelle, I've actually never read the Cedar Cove series, though I loved the Friday Harbor books. I've heard that the Lucky Harbor books are great, and I should try them and Debbie Macomber's series. Thanks for the recommend!

Edie Ramer said...

Erin, so glad you enjoyed the post. The Andy Griffith show has held up. The actors, the story, and the town are still wonderful. And I really like it that Andy is never the 'dumb dad' that you see in so many TV shows now.

Melissa said...

Oh, goodness. To be honest? My parents thought it would be a good idea to move to a small town (so I could grow up in a "safe" environment), and I hated every minute. The gossip was terrible, and anyone who was remotely "different" was the subject of it. I booked it out of there with dispatch and never looked back. So, I'm not a huge fan of small towns in television shows, movies, books, etc., unless the plot is simply spectacular; it takes place in a neighborhood within a bigger city; or it's a spot that lends itself to professional opportunities, such as artists' communities like Marfa, Texas or Jerome, Arizona.

Pat Cochran said...

Small towns are great to visit, but I've lived
in a big city all my life and I am totally used
to that type of living! I live in the suburbs
and that's not that far from small town life.
Everyone knows your name!

Pat C.

Edie Ramer said...

Melissa, that sounds like a horrible place. I've actually never lived in a small town, though we might in the future. We often visit a small community by a lake, and so far not much gossip except about how the fishing is and complaints about the weeds in the lake.

Edie Ramer said...

Pat, it sounds like you have the best of both worlds: a place where everyone knows your name, and lots of restaurants and places to shop.