Bowie Bravo, whose book I'm writing now, lives in a small Northern California town up in the Sierras. As so many of my small Northern California towns tend to be, the Flat is modeled after Downieville, California, where I spent long, lazy summers in my very excellent childhood.
Both of my parents grew up in Downieville. On my dad's side, the roots in that Sierra soil go back five generations.
Anyway, as to the imaginary New Bethlehem Flat, to which Bowie has just returned in a snowstorm after more than six years away, above is my working map. It's hardly high art. And it scanned a bit faded. (double click to get a larger, clearer view) But I don't care that it's far from gorgeous. I always love to get out the maps I draw of the towns I make up and add the new settings that will appear in whatever book I'm writing now.
Yesterday, I added the Rossi house, where Glory Dellazola Rossi (now a widow) went to live when she married good-hearted Matteo Rossi.
So great to return to New Bethlehem Flat. Like checking in with old and dear friends I haven't seen in a while.