So. I’m back to my roots in one way, and about as far away from my roots as I can get otherwise.
Back about twenty years ago, when I was rather desperate in a lot of ways, I took a job in a small town in the mountains of Montana. For someone who’d grown up in suburban Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco, it was one heck of a culture shock. Twenty-five hundred people in town, twenty-five thousand in a county the size of Connecticut. The nearest mall was ninety miles away, and the the movie theater was only open three nights a week.
I didn’t stay there very long, because I was offered another position near Seattle a few months after I arrived, and western Washington was where I really wanted to be. But by the time I left, I knew I was going to miss that little town in Montana, where a traffic jam consisted of three cars and a moose, where a federal wilderness area was less than a dozen miles from town, and whose residents called it the Last Best Place.
I still sort of miss the fact that I could not walk down the street there without someone calling out, “Hey, Meg, how are you?” When I first moved there, my employment as the first degreed reference librarian they’d ever had put my picture on the front page of the bi-weekly newspaper, so everyone knew my name. I never did get to the point where I could say, “Fine! How are you?” without wanting to add, “Do I know you?”
Anyway, I’ve always wanted to set a book in my small town in Montana. Much Ado in Montana, which will be coming out the end of March, is about a small-town librarian who falls in love with the doctor who comes back home. No, it’s not a Mary Sue. Tara Hillerman has lived in Campbell, Montana, all of her life except for college, and she wouldn’t leave it again on a bet. Timothy Swanson, however, has no intention of staying when he comes home to help his ailing father close up the only medical clinic in town.
What happens when bets are actually made and Tim’s father comes way too close to ruining their best friends’ love life is the stuff Shakespearean homages are made of.