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Lovin’ Lamar

May 5, 2013

Lots of writers choose picturesque settings for their novels. Tropical beaches, quaint French villages, or exciting cities set the stage so that authors can take trips, gathering research.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Rather than choosing say, Tahiti, I set my latest manuscript in Lamar, Colorado: home of a high school nicknamed ‘the savages’ as well as the Cow Palace hotel, a trucker’s paradise. Truth, not fiction.

Like any diligent writer, I did my research on-line, but decided I needed to take the trek and live it first-hand. While visiting Eastern Colorado, I stayed at the Cow Palace for one night, while doing research. While it wasn’t the Bahamas, they did have a kidney-shaped pool complete with plastic palm trees. Woot! Their breakfast special consisted of six pieces of sausage, six pieces of bacon, two eggs, and two biscuits and gravy. I didn’t starve. When I checked in, I asked for a quiet room on the second floor of the motel. A scruffy eighteen-year-old stared at me as if I’d arrived from OZ. For a minute, I thought he might say it was haunted. Instead, he told me they didn’t put people on the second floor because there was no elevator and that a set of stairs required exercise. Even if I’d been writing a book about obesity, I don’t think I would have thought of that nugget. Truth is odder than fiction.

Lamar was everything I remembered from a brief encounter years ago. It did not disappoint. And while I am slightly sorry I didn’t choose a tropical island to set my story, Lamar offered rich ambiance.  Sometimes a story set in a unique place can offer an abundance of interesting characters and new sensory awareness. What?  Tahiti doesn’t smell like chlorine and manure? Nope. You can only find that, in Lamar.

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