Monday, November 30, 2009

A New Home Town

Anyone who is familiar with the Nashville area knows that Robertson and Sumner counties slam up against each other like long lost sisters at a dinner-on-the-grounds reunion. In my new series, however, which starts with December’s Field of Danger, I’ve squeezed the fictional Bell County between them. It’s a tiny place, with only three small towns—White Hills, Bell’s Springs, and the crossroads community of Caralinda.

Caralinda, while my own fictional creation, is based on the quite real town of Orlinda, Tennessee. And my heroine’s cottage homeplace is based on the home of friend (and my daughter’s caregiver/nurse) Phyllis. In fact, if you look in the upper right corner of the field road photo, you can see Phyllis' house.

While I’d always enjoyed going to Orlinda, writing Field made me fall in love with it. My family is from an equally tiny town in Alabama, so it brought back some grand memories of my childhood and buoyant reunions, including a few dinners-on-the-grounds at the home churches.

I’m often envious of the relationships that Phyllis has with her neighbors. They support and encourage her in a way that’s not often waiting for me in town. She has a home in an amazingly lovely location, complete with an oak tree in the front, a huge willow in the back - and a dog that waits for her return (that's her pup Sarah).

All of that may be one of the reasons I usually write about small towns. While I’m now a city girl, I hope I never forget the joy and beauty of living in a community where everyone knows your name.


Pat Davids said...

I'm a city girl now, but I grew up on the farm and loved the life in the small towns nearby. Hope and Navarre, Kansas. Neighbors were wonderful, but sharing a community phone line meant not all calls were private so it had some drawbacks back then. Church and school were the center of our lives.

I spend last weekend at the farm. My daughter, her husband, my niece Nicki and I all went fishing for bullhead on the creek. We caught a bunch, too.

I had so much fun and really got a big slice of happy memory pie.

Thanks for the walking tour of your Bell county. I know Fields of Danger will be great. For me, it will be even more real now that I've seen the pictures.

Ramona Richards said...

I remember party lines all too well, Pat. I especially remember the trouble I got into for yelling at two women who had been yacking for hours. I don't think I sat down for a couple of days. :)

Glad you had a great time at the farm, and I hope you have a blessed Christmas.