The history behind Killer at the Cimarron Social Club
June 13, 2019
Creating new worlds
February 16, 2015
It's not at easy as it sounds creating new worlds, and I am usually very faithful to history, but a few places just sprang to life. Kapheira, its a world that doesn't exist. Creating a fantasy world anything can happen, anything at all. But to fit a country into our own that doesn't exist with all the histories, peoples, trouble, that people know so well. It takes more work than it sounds like. Kapheira sits in the Aegean off the coast of Turkey. Acquired by a British Countess and her husband in 1820, sold off when Napolean had made a mess of things in the region. Before Greece was its own country, before the Ottomans had fallen. A small thing of about 200 square miles. Phrygians called it Glunea for the gold found there. Then the Greeks came along and renamed it the Nurse to the god Poseidon. Then the Romans got control, and Emperor Trajan made it under Roman sway but a princeps so when the Roman Empire fell the island went along as always. But when the Prince was a high ranking consul they married into the Byzantine end of the empire. 1,000 years they got along, crusaders shipwrecking on occasion, people escaping wars and all those things that happen in history. But when the Byzantines fell they were a tiny little dot of rock on the edge of a new Empire, they threw thier hand in with the Venetians and after a few centuries the Prince ended up in Venice when an English Earl was there. What is a man to do when he hasn't money to keep the island safe, he sells it. Good thing he's one of the richest men in England, well his wife is. They have the money to build some Victorian style shopping arcades all wod paneling and glass along side Turkish sytle markets. Even allowing the British to use the island as a hospital during World War 1. Flappers and friends help populate it until another war takes hold, but they don't escape the horrors the fighting this time. With only a few hundred left after the war the island has a long struggle to recover, made harder by a Prince that decides the island treasury is his personal bank account. 3,000 years of history, hopefully woven in a way that truly fits the region.
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.