I’m often asked, “Why do you live in Wyoming and kill imaginary people in East Tennessee?”
It’s a fair question. The simple answer is “because people are not all drawn to the same places to live”. Not even imaginary people. I love living in Wyoming. Even the more desolate landscapes call to me and the famous ones—Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Tetons, and the Snowy Range are spectacular. I have lived here for more than half of my life. That said, the characters of my “Murder by” mystery series inhabit a tiny county in East Tennessee. They are not moving westward, thank goodness, because I would hate to live somewhere with their murder rate.
I didn’t just stab at a map to find them a home. I actually lived for several years in East Tennessee. It is beautiful too and has more trees. While it is true on a certain level that all people share some commonalities, it is equally true that regional differences exist. The sheriff in my fictional county would be able to adjust to life in the west but Theo, his wife and owner of a quilt shop, would not. She is descended from some of the original settlers in the Appalachian area. She is not moving.
Back to Wyoming. My dogs consider it their duty to take me for a walk every morning. They enjoy the walking paths around two lakes and there we see other people with dogs, the mountains, migrating birds of many species including pelicans and swans, the occasional otter or marmot, fishermen, joggers and moms with strollers. Sometimes I discuss upcoming plot points with the pups. They rarely listen because they are too busy sniffing the plants next to the path. Oddly, I have noticed the number of walkers drops when the temperature dives to zero and the lakes freeze and snow appears on the path. On special winter days, the sunlight warms the ice and makes it sing, the sky is gorgeous and blue, and at times the dogs and I are the only ones to experience it.
Wyoming is the least populated of all the states with a bit over half a million people. And yes, I have heard there are more antelope than humans. We think nothing of driving over a hundred miles to visit a shopping mall. Cellular phone service has gotten much better but it is not everywhere. Most roads are two lanes. Deer are suicidal. Howling wind is a factor. The temperature can range from minus forty to over a hundred degrees.
Barbara will pick a winner from those who comment. Leave contact info and the winner will get a stuffed (toy) jackalope.
Visit Barbara Graham’s site here: http://www.bgmysteries.com/ for more information on her world.