Thursday, October 12, 2023

Why my hometown makes the best setting

 One of the authors I follow asked in her newsletter: "If I were to ask you what is something unique or really iconic about your hometown or where you live now, what would you say? Would your area make for a fun setting for a book? Maybe one of you will talk me into using a location for my next project!"

(It's Esther Hatch. I read her historical romantic comedy, "Manor for Sale, Baron Included", and laughed so much my husband thought I was having a coughing fit.)

Challenge accepted!

I don't write contemporary, but if any of you do, here are some highlights about my home and why it would be an awesome setting for a book:

I live near Yuma, Arizona, the sunniest city on earth! Hotels used to offer free stays on days that the sun doesn't shine, because it happens so rarely. Being on the border with Mexico and further south than all of California, we have the best street tacos. 

The population doubles in winter with all of the snowbirds--which is annoying if you want to eat out somewhere cute, like Kneaders (we're one of the only non-Utah cities to have Kneaders, because the original owners retired here), but the crowds of senior citizens means that we have more opportunities such as orchestra, theater, and art. We also have a huge military presence, with a marine airstrip and an army proving ground, and a branch of the Arizona Western College. So, all together, we have a lot of residents coming and going, as well as some old families here for generations.

We have an awesome (historic) Territorial Prison Museum that spent a few years as a high school, which kept its mascot as "the criminals" to this day. It's supposed to be haunted. We also have the "castle park" (Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative playground, but no one calls it that), which is a community park so awesome that I was astounded it's free when I first saw it. It was burned down a few years ago and the arsonist was never caught, but insurance covered the rebuild and donations went toward making it even more awesome. A couple could indulge their "inner child" on a tire swing (which was replaced recently by a wheelchair accessible swing) or sliding down the dragon slide. It's near a memorial for the Mormon Battalion, who crossed the Colorado River here. Our young men have an awesome historical reenactment. 

 The county fair in April is so huge that school districts arrange their schedules around it. It's called Fair, not "the fair". We're a big agricultural area, supplying most of the nation's winter vegetables, so a drive around the area will reveal fields in all directions. We grow a lot of citrus and dates too. Summer is the off season, from May to September, with temperatures up to 120. We make up for it with our beautiful, mild winters (no snow, ever). As everyone says, "You don't have to shovel sunshine". Unlike the Phoenix area, we cool off at night (comparatively), and we're a little more humid because of all of the agriculture and the nearby rivers.

Have I convinced you yet? Does anyone else want to join in and answer Esther's question? Why would your home make an awesome book setting?

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