Of course, Tony Ames of "Model Student" is a fictional character, not even loosely based on anyone I know. When I created him, I needed a place where he came from. I'd recently published a children's historical novel set near Columbus NE in 1863. I'd looked at many maps while editing the author's manuscript and a name that popped out for me was Fremont NE. Suddenly, Tony had a home town.
I'm currently camped about 100 miles northwest of Fremont and that was close enough to spend a day driving down to see if anything I described in the book even came close to the reality. Well, perhaps Fremont is a little bigger than I described, but basically it's like I described. And five miles out of town on the County Road I chose for Tony to live on, you find a gravel surface road with cornfields growing on either side and a straight shot from here to the sunset. No, that's not really Wyoming 500 miles away that you see, but I dare say that on a clear day you could see fifty to a hundred miles with ease.
I met reader Bill in Fremont and had a great lunch with him at Applebees, not far from Fremont High School. We compared stories we'd read and life in the Midwest. All told, a great break in our day.
If you live somewhere near my route west over the next month (US 20 to Newport OR) and then North (to Seattle) and would like to get together for coffee, a beer, or lunch, let me know. It's been great fun meeting people on this leg of the journey.
In other news, I finished PART IV of LNDtH (chapter 90) this morning and sent the last six chapters off to my editor. Tomorrow while I am offline in the boondocks, I'll finish formatting and prepping Part III for upload. This should be enough material to get us through the end of the year. I'm going to try to get another project or two out of the way before I become too involved in PART V. LNDtH is now well over half a million words in 90 chapters and I'm guessing it might not be half way there yet. Who knows?
Hope you keep reading and writing. If I'm slow to respond, please remember that I'm camping in the wilderness and have access to the Internet even less frequently than access to a hot shower. Really thinking about that at the moment! Cheers!