Emma, how did you choose the town of Green Butte, California for the series?

Well, like many mystery novelists, I chose to use fictional locations. Both Green Butte and its county, San Miguel, were created to take the spotlight off of any real-life places. Since small towns are, by definition, more intimate, it would be easy for me to accidentally slight or offend a real-life person or place.

Nevertheless, the northern part of California’s Central Valley, the Sacramento Valley, is the key setting for the book. It presents a distinctive landscape, and its cities and towns are a reflection of the dense and prolific agricultural world of that region.

The pictures here show some of my inspiration. Green Butte and San Miguel County aren’t identical to any of these, but I studied all these in-depth and came up with a ‘blend’ which I hope captures the spirit of this amazing region.

From left to right:

  1. Map of California's Central Valley. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=186941
  2. The Central Valley from the air. CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1030054
  3. Chico CA. By Travisthurston [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons
  4. Chico CA By MARELBU [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
  5. Corning CA By Visitor7 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
  6. Oroville CA By Podruznik at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons