Once upon a time… about five years ago, I moved to a country location near the California coastline. Please note that I’ve never lived in the country or any “rural” area before. Basically, I’m a city girl that loves structured streets with sidewalks, streetlights, parks, and city water. I don’t mind most traffic and the sounds of a city, you get used to it because it’s just a part of life.
It was time. By that I mean it was time for a change. It’s wonderful, even liberating, to have a little space around you and some breathing room with fresh air. It actually wasn’t a difficult decision to move to the country because we were able to get a bigger house, more property, and a huge storage area. The views around my property and country neighborhood are breathtaking.
Ah yes, the fresh air of the country and the quiet solitude of nature…
With beauty and solitude comes some unexpected surprises. Oh, did I mention the native wildlife? Even in the country, where neighbors are farther apart than in cities, they can still hear my shrill screams whenever I run into some creepy crawly animals and insects. Yep, my startling scream should be recorded for Halloween sound effects for everyone to enjoy.
Besides the stalking squirrel in my yard, there’s a variety of extra large snakes, rats, spiders the size of guinea pigs, variety of lizards, gophers the size of cats, bats, and a mountain lion that makes his appearance through my yard every once in a while. I know this because I’ve tracked the big cat’s footprints. You don’t even have to be familiar with forensics to recognize those paw marks imprinted into the dirt.
For me as a criminologist, I’m acutely aware of crime trends and potential problems in any neighborhood. In the country, there are challenges of burglaries and even home invasions. I have to say that my neighborhood is tough and no on takes to anyone scanning the area that shouldn’t be here. If you don’t have any reason to be on my street, then you better be ready for the neighborhood gauntlet. Love that! I think they would inspire my heroine Emily Stone to some degree.
My creative mind that writes crime fiction has incorporated these new experiences with a vivid imagination into my Emily Stone Series. Especially at night when the there’s no moon visible, the country is a very dark and quiet place. I stand still and listen to any sounds I can hear. It’s usually a deer or some type of bird nesting. I try not to think about the more frightening or macabre. I seem to conjure up all kinds of situations in my mind for my heroine to experience and go up against. The country has intrigued and agreed with me.
With all my new experiences in the country, it all boils down to on thing – I love it here.
So what happens when a crime writer is dropped into the country? Another new tale is spun for all to read.
What are some of your experiences in the country?
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