I love small towns. Because I grew up in a small town, I know a lot about these unique communities — the social structure, the economics, and, most importantly, the people who live in small towns.
A small town is my favorite place to set a story, and many of my contemporary romance novels are set in small towns. Small towns are like characters in a book and give color and depth to the story.
Even though I spend the week in a townhouse in Houston, we have a country home too so I don’t lose touch with my roots, and I even subscribe to the weekly newspaper in the nearby town that has a population of 719. My goodness. That makes my hometown where I grew up look huge with its boasted population of 5,000+. I also subscribe to my hometown’s newspaper.
Homage to Leno and Carson
One of my favorite segments when Jay Leno and Johnny Carson were the stars of The Tonight Show was where they would read the unintentionally funny items from newspapers and advertisements sent in from viewers.
Never fear! Since I subscribe to 2 small town newspapers, I see funny stuff in print all the time. Of course, it’s not supposed to be funny!
I just about fell out of my chair yesterday when I read in one of those papers about the man who planted a bomb in his wife’s car. No, that wasn’t funny, but the comment from the Sheriff’s Department (deputy’s name withheld to avoid embarrassment) was.
The small town reporter asked the Deputy about the explosive device. The Deputy replied: “The explosive device did not explode, and we can’t tell whether it was homemade or not.”
Excuse me? Homemade or not? Are there stores that actually sell car bombs? I mean, aren’t all car bombs, by their very nature, homemade?
Life Is Just Different
The following isn’t particularly funny, but it’s so far removed from urban life as to appear amusing, and a bit endearing, if you’ve ever lived in the oil patch as my husband and I did when first married.
Sign on a restaurant: We deliver to surrounding oil fields.
And I don’t mean Domino’s or Pizza Hut.
Life really is different in rural and small town America. The people seem more patient and kinder. It’s almost as if there are stock characters, and every town is required to have its requisite number of them.
The pace is definitely more relaxed. My Romantic Comedy series Texas One Night Stands is all about small town life where you sneeze and someone across town says, “God bless you.”
To Sheriff’s Deputy Susannah Quinn, the heroine of The Trouble With Love, that’s suffocating. She’s tired of the town knowing everything about “poor little Susannah” and plans to escape as soon as she can. The only thing standing in her way is tall, dark, and too darn sexy for her own peace of mind.
In the second book of the series, Romeo and Judy Anne, high school principal Judy Anne Palmer is tired of being up on that pedestal of respectability. She kicks over the traces one night in Dallas. When her one-night lover shows up in her hometown, she’s afraid her night of passion will end up being the biggest scandal her little town has ever seen.
Both of these books, along with my others, are available at most ebook sellers; audio book editions are at Audible.com and iTunes.
Book 3 of Texas One Night Stands
Next month, I’ll begin writing a book that I’ve been salivating over! It’s the third book in the Texas series, Forever Starts Tonight.
Allison Platt, from The Trouble With Love, adores Alton County, Texas, where her cousin Hogan first met Susannah Quinn and where Allison hangs out a lot. Ten years ago, when she was 18, Allison was married and divorced. She says, “It was the usual case of ‘young and stupid’ — I was young; he was stupid.” While traveling in Mexico, things go horribly wrong. Allison’s father recruits her ex, Donovan Platt, to bring her home.
Maybe I’ll have Allison deliver lunch to an oilfield while she’s hanging out in Alton County.
But Wait! There’s More!
Small towns? Like? Dislike? What do you think about books set in small towns? Leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free copy of Old Enough To Know Better. A woman with a past. A man who wants to be her future.
Post Script: Joan Reeves makes her home in the Lone Star State with her hero, her husband, but you can find her online at: her blog SlingWords * her website * Facebook * and Twitter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”
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