Guest blogger: Rachael Johns
Where in the world is that?
About a month ago, just prior to the Romance Writers of America conference, I visited Bend (in Oregon, USA) with my partner in crime, author Emily Madden. When we mentioned where we were going to people, almost everyone said the same two things: ‘Where?’ and, when we answered this question, ‘Why are you going there?’
In case you’re wondering as well, Bend, is a gorgeous little mountain town in Central Oregon, USA.
We decided to spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful region because it is the setting for my new series with Harlequin Special Edition, The Mckinnels of Jewell Rock. When I was approached to submit a proposal for Special Edition, I was told it would be better if I set the first few books in the USA. I had an idea for a series revolving around a large family who own a whiskey distillery but, having not spent much time in America, I had no idea where to set it.
I asked my US friends Megan Crane and Maisey Yates for suggestions and they immediately suggested the town of Bend, which is home to a number of boutique breweries, wineries and distilleries, making it perfect for my idea. In all my books, I make up fictional towns that are usually based on real places I have visited, but I wrote the first two McKinnel books without stepping foot in Oregon.
I created the town of Jewell Rock, Oregon, and made it a little smaller than Bend, which I described as being its closest town. I walked the streets of Bend on Google Earth, I did my research about the town and its inhabitants on the internet, and what I found had me itching to visit the place in person. When I asked Emily if she was up for a (fairly major) detour on route to RWA in San Diego, she jumped at the chance.
We only had one full day in Bend but that was long enough for both of us to fall in love with the region. There is just something magical about this town.
We stayed in a place called the Old Mill District, which was seeping with history about Bend’s early logging days. We did a tour around the town on Segway (and didn’t kill ourselves), which touched on all that Bend would have to offer if we were able to stay longer. Bend, situated on the Deschutes River, is known for its many festivals, its great coffee (not that I drink the stuff) and its love for dogs. In fact, apparently Bend has one of the highest per capita dog populations anywhere in the world with 49 per cent of Central Oregon residents owning a dog.
Although I was clueless to this fact until we visited, it seemed fitting considering my first book in the McKinnels of Jewell Rock is called A Dog and a Diamond (It’s Not You, It’s Her in Australia/NZ). I’m so glad I set The McKinnels of Jewell Rock in Central Oregon and I’m itching to write more books in which I can add some of the detail we experienced while we were there.
I’m curious … where is somewhere you’ve read about in a book and would now like to visit. One lucky commenter will win a copy of A Dog and a Diamond (open internationally). The giveaway will close on 28 August. (Update: the giveaway is now closed. The winner was Lyn W.)
A Dog and a Diamond
How to break up with someone else’s fiancé by Chelsea Porter, aka The Breakup Girl
Tell him it’s not him, it’s her. Try to ignore how gorgeous Callum McKinnel is. You are breaking up with him, after all. Fall just a little bit when he rescues your dog. Try to resist when he asks you to join his family for Thanksgiving dinner in Jewell Rock. Succumb anyway. Succumb to a lot more than that. Remind yourself that you are The Breakup Girl. You don’t do commitment.
Wonder what would happen if The Breakup Girl stopped following her own advice…