Creating new worlds
It was slightly less complicated to fabricate a county in Montana, well two actually, one that is a single ranch started before Montana was a state, and the second holding a town that doesn't exist. In making Gold Springs though, I have actually lived in a Montana gold ghost town, and watched the dismantling of an old gold mine in South Dakota. That's how the whole story for the Wolf Mountain stories started what if a gold mine like that wasn't being closed responsibly, what if it was found an entire criminal conspiracy was behind it. Nestled near Glacier National Park and the Blackfoot reservation I have spent years trying to build that town from the ground up, well torn it apart so that the characters can try to build it up again. Started from a handful of people settled around a hot spring, it felt like gold after coming out of the wilderness. It was some 20 years later before real gold was found there. Bringing with it a fort to keep the peace and you have the stage set.
Then there is Wrathe, a fictional Scottish realm ruled over by a Duke since the 1100's. 900 years of history of one family, of one place. A single broch being tranformed into the core of what would become 175 rooms. Arranged marriages, betrayals, secrets, treasure, affairs, murders, ghosts, spies. It's Scotland, and yet it doesn't exist while echoing the entire history of a country.
Somehow they've all woven together, once I had spent so long creating these worlds it seemed pointless to not have them all inhabit the same world. They show up in each others books, they have ties and mentions. It started innocently enough and it morphed into being vital to the mystery in another. And after all that is what fiction is. Enjoying the story as it unfolds and I certainly enjoyed writing them.