Where the Heck is Grasmere, Idaho? In fact, whoever heard of Grasmere, Idaho?
It's in Owyhee County, located in the southwest corner of Idaho. This is one of the largest counties in the lower 48 states, and has about the same area in square miles as New Jersey. Population is a about 1 person per square mile (twice as many people as when I lived there), although far less dense than that around Grasmere. (New Jersey's population density is about 1,170 people per square mile.) You'll find Grasmere . . .
South of Grandview.
Farther south of Murphy.
Way south of Marsing.
And way, way south of Homedale.
North of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation.
This is what Grasmere looks like.
My editor was a bit stunned when I told her that there are twice as many characters in Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues as there is actual population in Grasmere, Idaho, where the story is set. Last I knew, Grasmere had phone service but not electricity, and outlying ranches have neither. All appliances and electrical devices are run with generators or propane.
In high mountain desert, Grasmere's elevation is a mile high: around 5,200 feet. Precipitation is scarce, about 8" per year, so even though the altitude is high, Grasmere ususally only receives less than a foot of snow total--a dusting here and there that blows away with the incessant, biting wind. In the summer, there is no wind at all, sometimes not a hint of a breeze. Temperatures can get up into the 100's, although average temperature in August is only 86 degrees.
So who lives In Grasmere? I'm not sure, at this point. Grasmere is a city with a post office, but last I knew, only one family lived in the city proper, and they were looking for a buyer. The buildings there are: restaurant/gas station/post office, a house, a garage, and I think a shed. Take a look at the Mapquest Aerial Map.
And exactly why did I set Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues in Grasmere? Because I wanted to make communication a little more difficult, the lifestyle more contrasting to the urban life, and my heroine just a little bit ashamed of her roots. In fact, that's her external character arc, to become proud of her family, her roots, her childhood home. To contrast that, the hero comes from an urban family and settles in one of the most rustic places he can find. His external character arc is to learn that happiness comes from what and who you are, not where you live.
I just don't see how this story could have worked anywhere else. The long drive to the hospital, the infrequent shopping trips to the city, and whole joke about Triangle (an even smaller town)--these elements are integral to the story.
And, as promised, here's the fictionalized Grasmere:
To get an idea of how I envisioned the story world, take a look at the book video.
How important is setting to you?
Down Home Ever Lovin' Mule Blues (See the Book Video featuring Justin Saragueta)
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Faery Special Romances * Book Video * Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research