When I was in the 6th grade at New River Middle School, my Geography teacher had us pick a state and do a book report on it. I was one of the last to choose a state and all the “cool” states were already picked. Don’t ask me what constitutes a “cool” state to an 11 year old, because I just don’t remember.
I perused the available states, discarding Delaware, South and North Dakota, and Connecticut, and grabbed Montana. To this day I’m not sure why I grabbed it, but it was momentous, even if I didn’t know it then. I’ve been pretty much obsessed with Montana ever since. It was also the best book report that I ever completed in my entire academic career.
I started incorporating Montana into my stories when I started writing at the age of 14-along with private islands that my friends and I bought when we became fabulously rich. For some reason, I just connected with a state I had never been to. Maybe it was the romance of the old west, maybe it was the cowboys, maybe it was the fact that it was wide open and I could run my horse as far as the eye could see…who knows?
I tried my entire life to get to Montana, but something always came up and I couldn’t go. When I got married to my ex-husband in 2002, I asked if we could honeymoon in Yellowstone National Park, and he agreed! I was finally going to Montana! And yes, before you say anything, I know that most of Yellowstone is actually in Wyoming and only a small portion, the North Entrance, is in Montana.
I made reservations for a cabin in Gardiner, MT and we spent 2 glorious weeks there. The scenery is stunning, the people are friendly and the spaces are definitely wide open! The wildlife was something to see, and the mountains were just draw-dropping. When we weren’t in the Park, we were exploring Southwest Montana-driving into Bozeman, Livingston, Belgrade, Paradise Valley…gorgeous.
So, when it came time to write Choices, I knew where it had to be set. Montana is the only place for a man like Logan and a woman like Abby. I needed the atmosphere, the animals, the “big sky”. Le sigh…I think I need another trip. Or just break down and move there, already.
P.S. Want to read all about Montana, Logan, and Abby? Check it out at Amazon!