Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Setting the stories

One really fun thing for me in creating the JP Weiscarver series has been developing the city of Oldport.

As I originally worked through setting up the first novel, “The Reporter and the Ferret,” I took advice from Lilian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who…” series. The bulk of her stories were set in the town of Pickax in Moose County, located “400 miles north of nowhere.”

By not setting the story in an actual place, not even in a specific state, an author is free to design the town to fit the series. More importantly, it also frees readers to create their own images of the town.

Since I’ve always been a fan of the coast, have lived several years on or near the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico and traveled just about every mile of it, my decision to set most of my stories there was an easy one.

The name Oldport clicked with me early. It indicates a coastal town and suggests it’s been around a while. When a search for an existing Oldport in the United States turned up nothing more than a township in Michigan, I had a go.

People will sometimes ask me where my Oldport is, but it seems most already know. When they suggest it’s in Texas or Mississippi or Florida, I agree. If they see it in a particular state, then there it is.

As for me … and I’m being perfectly honest here … I do not have a specific location in mind. If I did, it might inhibit the development of the town.

So, what do you think? Is Oldport in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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