Have you ever read a book and been so drawn in by the setting, you thought, “I want to go there?”
Often, towns or places are fictional, especially in books with contemporary settings. They may be inspired by real places, but by using a fictitious name, the author has the freedom to inject elements that can come from many different places.
Occasionally, though, an author will use someplace real for their setting. Like I did with my current series for Love Inspired Books.
When my mother-in-law introduced me to the town of Ouray, Colorado, I was smitten. Located in southwestern Colorado, this former gold and silver mining town is where her parents homesteaded in the 1920’s and is as rich in history as it is in beauty.
But why use a real setting?
Simple. I want the world to know about Ouray. Nestled in a bowl that’s surrounded by fourteen thousand foot peaks, this tiny alpine village is unique. For instance, Ouray is the Jeeping Capital of the World. Whether individually or on a tour, Jeeps are the most popular way to explore the San Juan Mountains, abandoned mining towns and unsurpassed vistas.
In the winter, Ouray is host to one of the largest ice festivals in North America. People come from all over the world to compete in ice climbing. The event rivals the Olympics, with scores being announced in seven different languages.
It’s these distinctive elements I try to bring out in my books and that allow me to give my characters some unusual occupations. Like a heroine who owns a Jeep tour company in THE DOCTOR’S FAMILY REUNION or another who’s an avid ice climber in RESCUING THE TEXAN’S HEART.
Some of the businesses and places in my books are also real, right down to the name, while others are based only on a physical location. In my first book, I had a fictional Jeep tour company called Adventures in Pink. However, the “little blue building on Seventh Avenue” where it’s housed is actually there. And rumor has it that people have stopped by to see if it was “that place they read about in a book.”
There’s no doubt about it, I love Ouray. I want to be true to the town and its people, all the while entertaining readers and allowing them to experience the Gem of the Rockies. And maybe, when they close the book, they’ll say, “I want to go there.”
About RESCUING THE TEXAN’S HEART
Melting His Heart
Cash Coble is desperate for a change. After working in the family business for ten years, he’s stressed out and overworked. When he heads to Colorado to visit his ailing grandfather, he finds his mood lifted by the beautiful woman living next door. After a troubled past, ice climber Taryn Purcell isn’t looking for love. Especially not with a charming Texan who’s consumed by work. But there’s something about Cash that captures her heart. Never one to back down from a challenge, Taryn promises to show Cash how to carve out a happy life—one that includes her.
About Mindy Obenhaus
Mindy Obenhaus always dreamed of being a wife and mother. Yet as her youngest of five children started kindergarten, a new dream emerged—to write stories of true love that would glorify God. When she’s not penning her latest romance, she likes cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her grandkids. Learn more about her on her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.