by Linda Thorne
Sometimes it's the little things about writing a novel that get authors all in a tizzy, spinning our wheels on something that may not be that important.
My second book in the Judy Kenagy mystery series, A Promotion to Die For, is set in Topeka, Kansas, but part of the setting includes Emporia where I lived for a year when I was a young woman.
Why even consider Emporia, Kansas? The reason: a one-in-a-million bizarre occurrence happened to me there on one blizzard-ridden night. I've taken that happening and written it exactly as I remembered then launched my plot from that single incident. To make the plot work I needed to move Emporia closer to Topeka, so I had to give it a fictional name. I chose Zemporia; that is, until my husband grumbled about it one too many times.
He didn't like the name. So someone told me about an quaint little town named Grandville only about fifty miles from our current home in Tennessee, so I changed the name of my fictionalized town from Zemporia to Grandville.
This past Monday, my husband and I decided to drive over and see this Tennessee town. What I didn't realize until we got there is I'd been misspelling the town name. It is Granville, Tennessee, not Grandville. We knew it wouldn't look like Emporia, Kansas but hearing of its existence was where I got the new town name (or thought I had the correct name). Not only does it look nothing like the town in my story, I chose to stay with the incorrect spelling. I like the ring of Grandville better and it's not nearly as common of a town name.
Granville, Tennessee is smaller than I expected. Here's the old general store it's known for (the real kind from the turn of the century). The name is T.B. Sutton Store.
Sutton Homestead has a guided tour of a very old home with its original furniture (see below). There's a Granville Museum around the corner too.
The town is right off the Cumberland River and there's a restaurant in a colorful aged building with a nice view of the river and a wooden swing set outside. I'm standing nearby the restaurant with the water behind me.
The picture below provides a better view of the swing set and the water:
Granville, Tennessee looks nothing like my little town now spelled Grandville in my WIP, but this is how I came up with the newer name. The fun of fiction is playing with reality until you find what works best for the story. So in A Promotion to Die For, I describe Emporia, Kansas, move it's location close in to Topeka, and give it the misspelled name of a real town in Tennessee.