By Marie F Martin
Research is what I needed to cement a story that had been running around in my imagination for some years. I asked my husband if he’d drive me to the mountains about a 100 miles to the west of where we live. Elmer was a good sport and agreed. We packed a picnic, loaded up our two dogs, and enjoyed the ride gradually working up into the mountains. We passed this lovely old school house. I used this image as my guide to describe the Ferrells’ meeting house.
We kept driving higher until we reached the home of a nice couple who agreed to show me their place. The picture below is Elmer and the dogs checking out the skidder. I saw a grannie’s fish pond and a still shack. The nice gal told us her Granny’s whiskey was the best around. The middle picture the Granny’s still shack. There was a cold spring coming out of the mountain nearby so she had fresh wonderful water for her whiskey. I wandered around the spring and followed it course for a little ways down the mountain. There were scattered violets growing along the edge. The gal told me that her granny had planted them years ago and they still kept coming up. It was such a peaceful spot. We stayed awhile, and I heard stories of their ancestors and then we left the shy couple alone. We drove into a nearby town and I found a church for my character Granny and a main street bar for Frankie’s brawl with the Hoffmans. I have more pictures of my research on my website www.mariefmartin.com. We had such nice day and I came away with a setting for Ratham Creek.
There’s nothing like writing about a place you know. No wonder the settings for your novels ring true. Karen
Makes me think of the Waltons – such amazing history to draw from.. But then – although much shorter – I’m able to draw on New Zealand’s history. It’s all a matter of perspective!