By Claire Booth
One of the most difficult decisions I had to make when writing my novel was what to call the location where it takes place. Much of the action happens in Branson, which is a real city in Ozark Mountains that’s well known for its country music shows and other tourism attractions. It is a fantastic mix of large and small – it gets more than eight million visitors a year, but has a population of under 12,000.
As in many novels, I added some streets and businesses to the city that don’t really exist. I’ve done the same with areas in Taney County, which is the real county where Branson is located.
But my main character is the county sheriff and in my book, he leads a department that has some problems. Corruption, lazy deputies, things like that. Things that are fiction. Things that I don’t want people thinking apply to the real sheriff’s department.
So after a lot of thought, I decided to change the real Taney County to the fictional Branson County. That makes my protagonist the Branson County sheriff. And it keeps all the problems in his fictitious department completely separate from the real world of Taney County.
So if you know your Southern Missouri geography, rest assured that I do, too. And I hope you’ll like my Branson County as much as all those tourists liked the real thing.
Claire’s debut novel, The Branson Beauty, comes out July 19.