A lot of readers have written to ask if Virgin River is based on an actual town, because they’d like to move there. Unpack those boxes – the town lives only in my mind, although I have heard from people who claim to live or have lived in such a place. They don’t usually say where.
It might be all in my head, but I’ve been living there for a long time. I’m committed to delivering four more Virgin River novels. I’m not sure the actual release dates for these books yet, but when I know for sure, I’ll post them on my website. Meanwhile, I couldn’t ask for a better home. I get up in the morning, fire up the computer, and settle in with my old friends. When nothing much is happening with them, I bring in some newcomers who have their – uh – issues.
I knew what it was about the town that appealed to me, and it didn’t take long for me to hear from readers what appealed to them. It goes without saying, my readers have fully enjoyed the strong, handsome, virile men of Virgin River; they’ve admired the beauty, inner strength and intelligence of the women. But what I hear about most is a place where commitment is law – and not just romantic commitment, but the bonding of brotherhood, the fealty of neighbors, the loyalty in friendship. It seems the number of people who have ties to the military is simply huge – and the fact that the Virgin River men have served their country in times of war has lent greatly to their appeal. Not their sex appeal nearly as much as their emotional appeal. They seem to embody those values that readers hold as admirable. Honorable.
When I’m writing, of course I’m looking for character traits anyone can understand, issues we can all relate to, challenges we or loved ones have dealt with, but I seem to always reach a point at which I become an observer, watching to see how these characters manage to work things out, get their lives on track again. It begs the question – can we find answers and role models in fiction? Well, considering one of the reasons we read fiction is for entertainment and we’re not very entertained unless the characters are up against a lot, must overcome great odds and evolve, I think it’s possible. I don’t write to give advice, I write to create a solid, positive, memorable story. But if someone gains insight or inspiration from one of these fictional characters or gets an idea for how to resolve a problem from the way they resolved theirs, double bonus.
That being said, Virgin River is a town that not only exists in my mind, but can be created in any heart – that place where a glass is half full, where we struggle to let burdens and challenges give us strength rather than break us, where fealty and friendship have more value than money, commitment is honored, and people do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do.
Want to live in Virgin River? Close your eyes…. Open your heart….