Tassanoxie, Alabama, exists in my mind but resembles my hometown circa 1980. I made up the name because Alabama has a lot of Indian names attached to rivers and cities and it made me feel comfortable using this type of name for my fictional town. With a population of about 20,000 people, it’s a conglomerate of several small towns I like.
My hometown doesn’t have a courthouse located in a town square, but I love them so I plopped one into the center of Tassanoxie. Squares are a good place to populate with businesses and thus far Tassanoxie’s square is home to: a drugstore owned by Mike McDonnell’s father, the popular Corner Café where characters go to eat, the Randolph Hotel which houses a restaurant and Mike’s law office, the Tassanoxie Sentinel, Letty’s Fabrics, and Susannah’s dress shop, The Style Shoppe.
After writing two books, one short story and a novella, Tassanoxie has over 100 characters and locations. Juggling so many people and places led me to create spreadsheets to keep everything straight. Fortunately, the Apple iWork suite has an easy to use spreadsheet program because I’m not a spreadsheet person.
Prior to writing the Tassanoxie series, my expertise in writing a series was slim. I’d written two Civil War romances (published in 2004) that were connected because the heroines were former Confederate spies and they worked for the same spymaster. My greatest problem was to make sure the spymaster could physically be where I needed him to be when I needed him there. Since the heroines didn’t interact, he was the only overlapping character.
While the Tassanoxie storiesdon’t feature one hero or heroine who appears in each story, they feature many of the same characters. For example, the deputy sheriff remains the same person whenever I need him in a story. In essence, this is a series about the people who live in a small town whose lives continuously interconnect. A character may be the main character in one story, a supporting character in another, and a peripheral character in another.
Writing a series is a challenge because I have to keep up with so many characters and locations from story to story. I’ve learned to be careful what I write because I never know what will come back to haunt me. Once a story is published, it can’t be changed and the stories that follow have to adhere to existing information. There were times I wasn’t sure if Susannah’s Promise would reach completion. The heroine did and said things in Feather’s Last Dance as a supporting character that had to match what she did and said in her story. Since the two stories occur simultaneously, the timeline, dialog, scenes and actions also had to mesh.
But I like Susannah and wanted readers to know what drove her to be the person she was in Feather. The only way to do that was to write her story. It allows readers to share in her search for self-fulfillment, happiness, and a second chance for love.
Small town, second chances. The theme I explore in each of the Tassanoxie stories. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Noted by RT Book Reviews for her “fast-paced, rich in detail” writing, Ginger Hanson writes contemporary and historical romance novels. Her contemporary series, set in the fictional small town of Tassanoxie, Alabama, is published by The Wild Rose Press. Feather’s Last Dance (2010) and Ellie’s Song (2011) established the series. The third story in the series, A Christmas Diamond for Merry (short story, ebook only) will be released in December 2011 and a novella ebook is pending.
Lady Runaway, Ginger’s historical Regency adventure romance, was published in 2009 by Twilight Times Press. Her two earlier Civil War adventure romances were published in 2004. Visit Ginger at www.gingerhanson.com