Monday, October 2, 2017

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

by Chris Goff

We're talking about settings. Important in books, and important in life.

In the past three years, my husband and I have moved four times. Crazy, right?!

The first move was temporary. My husband's company assigned him to a three year project in Pueblo, Colorado. Or so we thought.

Before that we were living in Evergreen, the small mountain town where I grew up. Back then there were approximately 2,600 residents in the area, living in houses tucked into the hillsides or on ranches sprawled across acres of land. Summers were filled with Saturday night street dances in town, the annual rodeo, hiking, tennis, horseback riding, swimming and canoeing on the lake. Winters were filled with school, Saturday ski bus and ice skating on the lake. Idyllic.

Pueblo was different. Situated in the southern part of the state and at lower elevation, it was an old steel town—but the mills had shut down and the economy suffered. By then was best known for it's annual chili festival, the Pueblo Reservoir, the State Fair, and as the home of the Colorado State Mental Hospital, where all the state's criminally insane were housed.

We loved it. We moved from 4,000 square feet into 1,600 square feet, bringing only what we needed and/or wanted with us and leaving the rest safely locked up at home. It was freeing.

With a couple years left on Wes' contract, we decided it was time to sell the big house. With the kids grown and gone, we didn't need the space and there was a lot of maintenance headed our way—new paint, new decks, new windows...plus we liked our new carefree lifestyle. Then, two weeks after signing a contract on Evergreen, Wes was called back to the Denver Tech Center office and we needed a new place to live! We managed to find a nice place to rent close to Wes' office, and went about the business of moving two houses totaling 5,600 square feet into a 2,600 square foot home. The house had some issues, but came with a giant backyard that offset the seventies d├ęcor. Picture the main floor powder room with its flowered wallpaper and sea foam green toilet and sink.

We stayed exactly one year! We discovered we are home owner-types, not renters, so three or four months prior to our lease expiring, we started looking for a place to buy. We looked, and we looked, and we looked. I must have traipsed through over 50 houses in person, and another 150 houses online, before we gave up on the idea of a house and started looking at townhomes and condominiums—which is where we landed.

Our new home is beautiful, recently remodeled, but only 1,727 square feet. It has two bedrooms, a dedicated office (every writer needs an office!) and most importantly, it has a view of the Front Range from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak.

Like I said, location, location, location....

Downsizing has been the biggest challenge. We have way too much stuff. And my blog is late, mostly because I couldn't find my computer. Mea Culpa.

So what's next? 

Research. On settings. I'm working on a new standalone set in southern Colorado. I've spent a lot of time there, so I think I've got that. But the third Raisa Jordan thriller picks up in Prague, a place I've been. I want to get it right, which means I definitely have to visit, right?

What is your home like? If you could read a book set anywhere, where would it be?


4 comments:

  1. Wow. I haven't moved that much since I was in my early twenties. We're about to begin the process of selling our old home in New Jersey and maybe trade the house in Vermont for something with a little more land and a little less traffic - and I'm not looking forward to the move. I don't know if I'd call it downsizing so much as other sizing. But anyway, hats off to you for managing all the moves. As far as the location for a novel - I, of course, love international settings - but Colorado sounds good too.

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  2. That's a LOT of moving! And would love any tips you have for downsizing. Bet by now you're an expert. Enjoy that gorgeous view!

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  3. Oh, Chris -- you almost sound like a military family or FSO (Foreign Service Officer) who have to move so often. I can't imagine how you were able to "down-size" - it takes real talent. I recall something my father once warned, "Man is possessed by his possessions." As for locations for your novels, while Colorado is lovely - I've almost finished your terrific thriller, RED SKY - talk about location/settings. I've been learning so much about the Ukraine and China - you are amazing the way you transport the reader to these exotic - and dangerous - locales. It's much more fun to BE transported than to have to transport furniture, that's for sure. Thanks for a great post.

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  4. I was both exhausted and inspired by your terrific post, Chris. Good for you!!!!! And I'm eager to read your new stand-alone. Colorado is not only a beautiful state but so very interesting.

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