Wicked Quiz — Protagonist Towns

Do you love to take quizzes and find out which Disney Princess you are or what is your spirit animal? So do we! Take our quiz: Which Wicked Cozy Protagonist Town Should You Live In? Find out by clicking here! And if you really like quizzes you can take the first one (Which Wicked Cozy Protagonist Are You?) by clicking here.

Watch for our upcoming quizzes: Which Wicked Job Should You Have? Which Romantic Interest Should You Be With? And more!

Here’s a sneak peek at the possible outcomes:

Granford, Massachusetts with Meg Corey

1890’s Old Orchard Beach, Maine with Ruby Proulx

Dorset Falls, Connecticut with Josie Blair

Ellington, Massachusetts with Sarah Winston

Orchard, Massachusetts with Ruth Clagan

South Lick, Indiana with Robbie Jordan

Frog Ledge with Stan Connor

Busman’s Harbor with Julia Snowden

Readers: After you take the quiz tell us which town you got! Were you surprised?

Maps in Books

by Barb, who’s headed in for knee replacement surgery tomorrow

I have a friend who says, “No book with a map in it can ever be all bad,” to which I heartily reply, “Amen!” I’ve loved books that contain maps going back to reading my mother’s 1935 edition of Winnie the Pooh.

dwell-nyt-best-3More recently, I’ve so enjoyed the maps by Laura Hartman Maestro in Deborah Crombie’s books. When a new book comes out, I’m excited to read the mystery and to see what has happened to Gemma and Duncan, because I am a huge fan and have been from the beginning of the series. But I’m also excited to see the map. I examine it before I start reading because Maestro’s hand-drawn maps are so aesthetically pleasing, but the maps don’t mean much before I’ve begun the book. It’s going back to them that gives me so much pleasure, layer upon layer over the course of the story. If you haven’t seen these wonderful maps, they are here. You can click on them to enlarge them.

thecuttingseasonI once startled Attica Locke at a book signing at Newtonville Books, when I opened The Cutting Season and exclaimed, “A map by Laura Hartman Maestro!” Attica was gracious, explaining that her publisher thought it was important for her readers to be able to visualize the “living history” sugar plantation where the story takes place.

So when I read that Minotaur was doing a giveaway of a map of Three Pines, the fictional town at the center of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries, I was all over it. All you had to do to enter was to fill out a form telling Minotaur where you pre-ordered the latest, The Nature of the Beast.

thenatureofthebeastThere was no question that I would buy The Nature of the Beast on release day. The prospect of having a Louise Penny novel to read over the long Labor Day weekend was too good to pass up. And I knew where I would purchase it–our local bookstore in Boothbay Harbor–Sherman’s Books & Stationery. So bing, bang, boom, I entered.

Two weeks ago a flat package from Minotaur showed up in my mail. I honestly wondered what it was, so much time had gone by. So it was a delightful surprise to open the flatpack and find my copy of the map of Three Pines.

It’s copyrighted, and I’ve looked all over the web to see if they’re using it promotionally, but couldn’t find it, so I’m not going to post it on the blog. You can see the piece of the draft they used to promote it here.

Louise Penny has said she resisted having a map done for years because she wanted readers to picture Three Pines in their own minds. This seems to me to be true for any well-rendered fictional location, but particularly so for Three Pines, which Penny tells us does not appear on any map or GPS. Even in the books, it is a place of the imagination. So, I opened the package with some trepidation.

mapofnethermonkslipThe Three Pines of the map is almost exactly as I had pictured it, which is a tribute to both Penny and the mapmaker, Rhys Davies–the same person who made this marvelous map for G.M. Malliet. I’m one to make up lots of stuff in my head–having clear pictures of characters and places that are sometimes at odds with what’s in the books. The houses of Three Pines weren’t labelled. Some I recognized instantly, but going forward I will need to pay more attention as various characters troop home from the bistro.

As for The Nature of the Beast–I loved it. It’s particularly appropriate that the map should come out now, because this book takes place entirely in Three Pines. Inspector Gamache has retired there, so there’s no back and forth in this book to Montreal or other parts of Canada.

All of this naturally made me wonder if I would ever like to have a map of Busman’s Harbor, the fictional location of my Maine Clambake Mysteries. As the series progresses, the town gets richer and fuller. We find out in Clammed Up that Gleason’s Hardware with an apartment above it is on Main Street, since several key scenes take place there. In Fogged Inn (Feb, 2016) we learn that next to Gleason’s is the double storefront of Walker’s Art Supplies and Frameshop. And on the corner of Main and Main, at the only stoplight in town, where Main Street curves back around, hugging the shape of the harbor hill and crosses itself, is Gordon’s Jewelry. Gus’s restaurant is in the back harbor, along with the marina, the shipbuilders, and Bud Barbour’s marine repair shop which appeared in Boiled Over. In Fogged Inn we learn that the Busman’s Harbor Yacht Club is also there. And then there’s what’s out on Eastclaw and Westclaw Points, and, of course, on Morrow Island.

So I think a map would be fun, but probably premature. I’m still filling in the town.

What about you, readers. Maps of fictional places, yay or nay?

Wicked Wednesday- Knowing Your Way Around Town

We’ve been talking craft all month on Wicked Wednesdays. This week we’re chiming in about how we keep track of the towns in our series. How do you road map an imaginary place? Remember which stores are on Main Street? So Wickeds, how do you keep it all straight from book to book?

 Jessie: I use Scrivener. It very conveniently has a places category and I import all the places from the previous book into the next one as soon as I create a new file. Then I add any new places to the existing database as I go along.

Map by Phyllis Ann Whippen

Map by Phyllis Ann Whippen

Edith: So far I have used either fictionalized real towns (Ipswich in the Lauren Rousseau mysteries, West Newbury in the Local Foods mysteries) or a real town (Amesbury, in my historical mystery) in my fiction. But when I fictionalize a real place, I add made-up streets and businesses. So far I’ve been able to keep the made-up stuff in my memory, but using Scrivener’s system for a Places folder is a great idea. In my new WIP, however, I created a fictional small town, so drawing myself a map would be a good idea. On the to-do list!

Lea Wait's Wiscasset, Maine from her children's books. Learn more here.http://www.leawait.com/children.html

Lea Wait’s Wiscasset, Maine from her children’s books. Learn more here. http://www.leawait.com/children.html

Barb: My Busman’s Harbor turns out to be a pretty complicated place. It’s a town, and a harbor, two points of land that surround the harbor, a private island and a penninsula that leads from Route One, the main artery of the Maine coast down to Busman’s. As the books have developed, we’ve found out where more and more of the characters live and work. Like Jessie, I’ve kept Scrivener files of all the important places I’ve described– the houses, boats, town pier, marina, shops and hospital. Like Edith, I’ve modeled it on a real town–Boothbay Harbor, Maine. But I’ve made so many modifications and described so many fictional places, if I do get a contract for more books, I think it is time for a map. As an aside–I love, love fictional books with maps in them. Deborah Crombie’s are a particular favorite.

afbchurchSherry: Tagged for Death has two main locations. They are based on fictional versions of Bedford, Massachusetts and Hanscom Air Force Base. Even though I have a good idea  of how the town of Ellington, Massachusetts and Fitch Air Force Base look, I’ve made crude (very crude) drawings of each. I also keep extensive notes about what is where for both. It’s been a lot of fun to use two places I loved living in the series.

Liz: All of the above! I use Scrivener too, and my town, Frog Ledge, is fictional but based on a hybrid of two towns near me. I have a good picture in my mind of how it looks, but like Barb, I think I might need a map…

Julie: My town is based on two different towns. I am keeping place notes, but already feel the need for a map, which I will do before the next book is done. Things like “how long does it take to go from the shop to the lake?”  need to be consistent, and make sense. Anyone have any good map making ideas? Maybe we should create a wicked cozy map of New England?

Edith: I love the idea of a Wicked Cozy map, Julie!

Readers: Do you like maps in a work of fiction? Would you prefer to read about a real place, so you can go and trace the steps of our ficitonal protagonists, or do you prefer to read the fictional towns we and other authors make up?