I seem to have forgotten to do this for Alexandra’s Riddle, but I wanted to share some trivia about Old Flames with you all, the way I did for Arriving from Arkansas. Enjoy!
I mention this in the author’s note for the book, but unlike Alexandra’s Riddle and the next book, Fool’s Gold, which are both set in real towns, Foreston is a made-up location. The reason for this is the fact that, in the book, a highly destructive forest fire ravages the area, but I didn’t want to write about a real fire (such as the Eagle Creek Fire), and I also didn’t want to “predict” a fire happening in a real location. However, I tried to stay as true to the area as I could. The location I chose for Foreston was somewhat north of Goldendale (which is not mentioned in the book, because if it was… I would be breaking my rule about not burning down a real town), somewhere around the Klickitat county/Yakima county line. So just pretend that Goldendale doesn’t exist and that Foreston and Fernhill are kind of in that general vicinity instead.
The Paine Estate
Old Flames was a lot of fun for me because my sister works at a historic Victorian house museum that is very similar to the Paine Estate. It was a lot of fun to incorporate aspects of the real museum with the fictitious one, such as the formal tea settings, the annual fashion show, the gardens and grounds, and more. But I want to note that the characters from the book are not based on real people!
You may have noticed in Alexandra’s Riddle as well as in Old Flames that most things keep pretty close to reality (minus the magic), but that the video sharing platform they use is called uView, instead of a certain other real-world brand that we all know and… love? The reason for this is because that particular corporation is known for being very protective of their brand, and in particular doesn’t take lightly to anything that may portray the brand in a less-than-positive light. While for the most part uView is portrayed relatively neutrally (I think?), there is some discussion in Old Flames about monetization and demonetization, the struggle to make a living as a creator on that platform, and the care that content creators need to take in order to stay on the safe side of advertisers. I was concerned that this was a little too close to the line, so to play it safe, I opted to use a fictional website here.
Fire Prevention Resources
At the time I finished Old Flames, fire season had not yet begun (hence why the author’s note doesn’t mention this year’s fires). However, 2020 is shaping up to potentially be the most destructive fire season for the West Coast in recorded history. At the time of this blog post, the fires burning near Santa Cruz are threatening the ancient redwood forests, and at least five people have died. Fire prevention is more important than ever.
Here are some organizations doing good things to educate and prevent wildfires in the Pacific Northwest and across the United States:
- Oregon Forests Forever
- Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Prevention
- Keep Oregon Green
- National Fire Prevention Association / Firewise USA®
- Smokey Bear