I moved from a big city in California to a small town in rural Northwest Oregon when I was still something of a pup. Despite my happiness and relief at escaping, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. I had so many “firsts” there: deciding to write with the goal of being published, celebrating being published, and doing so many things that can really only be done in the country (including an ill-advised tubing trip down the river in March).
The practical things were what I appreciated first: the delicious application of the verb “to glean”, canning, the wonderful feeling of coming inside cold and tired after a day of physical labor to bask in the heat of a big fat log of maple on the stove.
It took longer, but the more subtle charms of the little country town became clear to me as well. The fact that everyone knows who you are even if you’ve never seen them before, and how even the smallest comment can be tossed back at you from any corner without warning.
I know this may come as a shock, but for an introvert I’m a mouthy bitch. I garnered a few nicknames during my stay in that small town, some of which were colorful and some of which were even true. Sorry, to maintain what little earning potential I may have outside of writing I have to cultivate plausible deniability, so I can’t share any of them here. There’s no telling what will stick in someone’s mind or for how long. The point, though, was given to me by one of the coolest broads I’ve ever met, and may G RIP (or not, whichever she wants ;)). G told me this (many times, because I’m also a bit thick in the head) and I’ve tried not to forget: “If they’re talking about me, then they’re leaving someone else alone.”
She had nicknames too, some even less flattering than mine, but she truly did not care. I haven’t quite reached that level of confidence, but I’m fine with being talked about. (The trouble comes with NOT being talked about, but down that path lies madness—plenty of time for that later.)
The town, along with two others in the general vicinity, have been patched together to make Willston, the town in Comfort and Joy. I’ve taken bits and pieces and re-arranged them as the whim struck me and the stories demanded (yes, I have maps!). Willston doesn’t make much of an appearance in this short novella, but maybe it will have its time to shine eventually. I’ve seen a few comments here and there that a prequel is in order, and since I have one drafted I may go back to it. So I’m doing a very scientific study and asking everyone I know how they feel about prequels. Because I’ve learned to trust word of mouth—as long as the mouth in question isn’t giving me a nickname.
How do you feel about prequels? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Could care less?
Dish me all the dirt you have on prequels!