As with most writers, I guard my writing like a mother guards her child. With that said, I think the time is right to share a little of the inspiration used for the central location in my School Marshal series.
Although the primary town in the series, Brookfield, California, is fictional it’s based on the morphing of Napa County, California and El Dorado County, California. Those two areas are what I picture in my mind when I write about what’s happening in and around Brookfield. Because I live in El Dorado County I can easily tap into the hometown feeling. Why Napa County? Napa County has a rich history similarly to El Dorado County and much like where I live it’s a beautiful locale. Mostly I wanted Brookfield to be geographically located closer to where Napa County is located, northwest of Sacramento.
I flip-flopped on whether to use Placerville and businesses in and around Placerville in the scenes that take place in downtown, as well as street names and highways or create a fictional town using Placerville as inspiration. I opted fictional because businesses close and new streets are added.
If you’re familiar with El Dorado County you’ll probably recognize similarities in Brookfield. When the characters drive on the highway that divides residential Brookfield from commercial Brookfield, I hope it feels like traveling east or west on U.S. Highway 50. Two large residential developments in El Dorado County that I draw inspiration from are Serrano and Blackstone. The namesake for the primary affluent neighborhood and K-12 public school in “Unknown Threat”, book #1 is Blackstone, although the community feels more like the Serrano development to me.
Downtown Brookfield is similarly constructed to downtown Placerville. I’ve always loved maps, and I’ve created a rough drawing of downtown Brookfield that I’ll share once I’ve had it professionally drawn. As I write scenes taking place in downtown Brookfield I refer to my roughly drawn city map so that I know “where” I am. This may be the school bus route planner from many years ago coming out of me.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse of where I glean my location inspiration from. If you have questions or comments you’re always welcome to email me or post on the website.