Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Twin Rivers: Fact Vs. Fiction

All hell is about to break loose in Twin Rivers again . . .
Here we go again.  We're not too far away from having another installment in the Twin Rivers series.  It's been nearly two years since I finished writing the last novel A Shot After Midnight so I'm more than ready to return to Twin Rivers for another adventure with the Garveys.  Most of my readers know that Twin Rivers, Illinois is a fictional town, but since I'm from a small town they assume that there's a lot of non-fiction in my fiction.  So I thought I'd tell you where some of these ideas came from--what's based on truth, and what is pure fiction.

OLD BLUE
Old Blue?
When I turned 40, my oldest daughter asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  I told her I wanted a brand new blue truck.  She bought this little wooden model, put it together herself, and painted it.  It's been sitting on my desk at work for the past six years.  And this is where the idea for Old Blue came from.  I never owned an 1960 Ford F-100 pick-up, but apparently, I did a fine job describing one--both how they look and how they drive. I had really good instruction--I did all my research about that truck at an antique car show several years ago.  A collector with a gorgeous restored F-100 told me everything I ever wanted to know about that particular year and model, and even took me for a drive in his.  But Old Blue is pure FICTION.  

Roxanne
ROSCO
Nine years ago, my wife and I brought home a little ball of fluff from the local animal shelter.  We named her Roxanne, and our little German shepherd quickly became an important part of the family--and she grew quickly, too.  She loves truck rides and beef jerky, and like the original Rosco, she's a little . . . well, sleepy.  Roxanne, to date, has been sprayed five times by skunks.  As I said in the second novel when Rosco got sprayed again--skunks are either a lesson dogs learn the first time, or a lesson they never learn at all.  Like Rosco, Roxanne is one of those dogs that thinks eventually, she'll figure out the trick to catching a skunk.  And I'm convinced she'll never miss an opportunity to try.  Rosco is without a doubt based on Roxanne.  Rosco is NON-FICTION.

GARVEY HOUSE
Garvey House?
I did not grow up in a Victorian House, and I've never lived in one.  Like with Old Blue, I obviously did a bang-up job describing it though, because there's a lot of people convinced I have first-hand knowledge of old Victorian Houses.  I did a lot of research on Victorian Houses before I wrote the first Twin Rivers novel One Last Shot.  I got the idea originally from a house I used to walk by all the time with my beagle, Houdini, when I lived in town years ago.  It even had a carriage house.  But that house is a very different house from the Garvey house in my novels--as a matter of fact, it's brick, and it's not even a Victorian home.  But that's where the idea sprang from originally, and then I embellished on it. In other words, the Garvey house is pure FICTION. 

Is this The Beer Chaser?
THE BEER CHASER
Anybody that knows me knows I'm no stranger to pubs, taverns and bars.  I spent twenty years as a musician, so I spent a lot of time playing in bars.  I even spent a year bartending in a small town bar.  I've always enjoyed visiting my local watering hole, visiting with the people in town, and taking turns buying rounds.  I've been lucky in life that everywhere I've ever lived, there's been a great little neighborhood or small town bar nearby--and I've made a lot of friends over the years in these quiet little pubs.  In fact, I met my wife during that year I was bartending.  The Beer Chaser is an amalgamation of several of my favorite bars, but it most resembles a bar in Hillery, Illinois called the Little Nugget.  It was close to where my grandmother lived, and I grew up in there playing pool with my cousins.  In fact, I played my first video game there.  My Uncle Earl (Ed?) spent a lot of time there--he loved bars, too.  After a fine steak dinner, that's where I took my wife on our first date.  Several years ago, I was interviewed by a young reporter at the Little Nugget.  She recognized it as The Beer Chaser the minute she walked in.  So The Beer Chaser is NON-FICTION.

HARV'S GRILL
My grandmother made the best chocolate meringue pie on the planet.  I haven't had a decent piece of pie since she passed away nearly twenty years ago.  I love pie, but it's damned near impossible to find a good piece of pie these days.  I even went to this overpriced pie shoppe a few years ago and bought a chocolate pie--and it was disappointing.  My theory is that somewhere on this planet, there is still a place where you can go, and enjoy a piece of traditional homemade pie.  And my theory is that when I find this place eventually, it's going to be some small town diner and those pies will be made by an unassuming lady that doesn't have a full appreciation of the gift she's been given--although I'd be willing to bet her customers do.  That's where the idea for Harv's Grill came from.  Someday perhaps, I'll find Harv's Grill.  I'm sure it exists somewhere in America.  But for right now, Harv's Grill is pure FICTION.

I'm not going to tell you much about the new novel yet, except to say that it's my favorite so far.  And I'll also tell you that I finally wrap up a few loose ends--Levi stumbles onto a few answers to questions he's been seeking since the very first novel.  It might lead some of my readers to wonder if it's the last Twin Rivers novel?  I doubt it.  

There is one thing different about this novel.  Unlike the first two novels, the third in the series is going to assume you've read the first two novels.  You're going to be a little lost at times if you haven't read the first two.  If you haven't, this would be an excellent time to do so--you still have plenty of time to read One Last Shot and A Shot After Midnight.  The third novel isn't scheduled for release until Spring 2014. 

~TEC

Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel expected to be released in 2014. All of Todd E. Creason's books are sold at major online booksellers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and are available for both Nook and Kindle.

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