Arlington, Oso and Rose Arbor


Last March a devastating landslide covered much of a tiny community, Oso, which happens to be a few miles north of my hometown, Arlington, WA .oso 3

Because I wanted to help, I donated 4 months of the proceeds from my three Rose Arbor novels to the Oso Relief fund.

oso 2

Of course, once I saw the magnitude of the slide and devastation, I realized how very small my contribution was. It’s like that hymn,

Little drops of water,
little grains of sand,
make the mighty ocean
and the beauteous land.
And the little moments,
humble though they may be,
make the mighty ages
of eternity.

(Words: Julia Carney, 1845)


My fictional town of Rose Arbor is loosely based on Arlington. As a writer, it’s hard to keep the places and people we love from popping up in our books. I think writing about Arlington/Rose Arbor over the years helped ease some latent homesickness.

arlington 2

When I was a girl, the Arlington Library was a renovated two story house in a residential part of town. In my novel, the Rhyme’s Library, the library is a renovated Greek rival house manned by Blair who not only has to contend with her bad-boyfriend Drake, but her missing, crazy Aunt Charlotte. The library was a large part of my childhood and it plays a role in all three of my Rose Arbor books and even makes a cameo appearance in my historical romance, Stealing Mercy (which technically belongs in my Seattle Fire series.)

arlington 3

Paulson’s Pond, where Missy goes missing in Losing Penny, is really Pioneer Park. And Arlington really does celebrate Frontier Days. Every year when I was a girl, there would be a parade complete with veterans of the foreign wars marching in their uniforms, a lineup of rigged-up logging trucks, the high school marching band, the cheerleaders and drill team,  and the horses from the 4-H club. And of course part of the celebration was the annual donkey basketball game—just like the one where Drake meets Gertrude.

It’s wonderful to write about Arlington, but it’s even better to visit. Arlington has changed a lot since I left for college. The sleepy dairy farming town where the cows once out-numbered people grew to a bedroom community for the rising tech economy.  Many of the farms have been sold and turned into housing developments.

But nothing has changed as dramatically as the town of Oso. Thanks to everyone who purchased my Rose Arbor novels these past few months. Together, we were a drop in a much needed flood of giving and kindness.


About Kristy Tate

USA Today bestselling author Kristy Tate has come a long way from small-town Washington. Her avid curiosity and love of reading have carried her to thirty plus countries. (She loves to travel to the places she reads and writes about.) She's the author of more than twenty books, including the bestselling and award-winning Beyond Series and the Kindle Scout winning Witch Ways series. She writes mysteries with romance, humorous romance, light-hearted young adult romance, and urban fantasy. When she's not reading, writing, or traveling, she can be found playing games with her family, hiking with her dogs, or watching movies while eating brownies. She is also a popular public speaker and presents writing workshops for schools, libraries, and fundraisers. All proceeds donated to charity. References available upon request.
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10 Responses to Arlington, Oso and Rose Arbor

  1. What a nice thing to do! I live south of Seattle and have followed the reports of the Oso landslide as well as the devastating fires that have displaced so many people. Your contribution will help.


  2. Carol says:

    You have a big heart, Kristy. Wonderful that you gave from the heart.


  3. I think it is wonderful! Know one can do as much as they want in a situation like that but you are so generous! Look at one time triumph and remember that you helped make it happen. Will you incorporate a flood into a future Rose Arbor?


  4. Kristy Tate says:

    My books, even the ones dealing with a murder mystery, are pretty lighthearted. I’m not sure I could write about the landslide without crying throughout, and since it takes me months to write a novel, that would be a lot of tears. I would have to think long and hard about that.


  5. stephaniequeen says:

    Gracious and kind gesture, Kristy! I bet it doesn’t take long for the town to bounce back with the help of wonderful people like you. In the meantime, you can write about the place as you remember it.


  6. Having lived in Washington State when I was a kid, but on the ‘other’ side of the state, I think you always have that bit of ‘homesickness’…especially on special days. May 1st is one, when the neighborhood kids picked flowers from everywhere to make “May Baskets” to hang on the doorknob of neighbors that you liked. The next day, neighbors would brag about how many bouquets they received. I lived in lots of towns, but that was the only place that happened. I’m going home next month for a visit and can’t wait to see ‘my hills’…

    It’s wonderful of you Kristy to donate funds to this noble cause. Tiny drops can do wonders over time. Bless you!


  7. monarisk says:

    What a nice thing to do, Kristy. I’m sure your contribution will help the town, and also will encourage others to do the same. The setting in your book reflects your love of the place.


  8. You have a good point, stick to the town you remember. Sorry for bringing up the bad thought.


  9. leighmorgan1 says:

    Kristy, what a great post. I haven’t heard that hymn before, it’s beautiful. Completely encapsulates small town life and experience without trying to define it. Your contribution and your post brings not only awareness to a devastating event I knew nothing about, but it rejuvenates a feeling of community and a dedication to it’s people. You saw a need and you helped. Your donation warms the heart. What a lovely thing to do. Thank you for the reminder to remember where we came from and to help when we can.

    The photos really make the town come to life. It’s nice that you honor them in your books.


  10. Joan Reeves says:

    Kristy, it’s hard to comprehend what mud can do until you see photos of the aftermath. It’s a shame we can’t right the wrongs of the world as easily as we create fictional towns and places.


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