The road leads to the Owen Short Hills ranch, In the foothills of the Elkhorn mountains west of Baker (City) in Eastern Oregon. Most of the action in Breathing Room takes place in Baker and on the ranch.
Baker is a place of contrasts. The city is located in a green valley, tucked between two mountain ranges. The climate changes abruptly over the ridge where the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is located. Look west, the landscape is green: forest, pasture and farmland. East of the Center, there’s so little rain, visitors can still see 19th century pioneers’ wagon ruts. I’m pretty sure if I had just crossed that desert and come through the pass, I’d have stayed put in Baker.
My first novel, Breathing Room, began as an exercise in undaunted determination and group madness: the annual November NaNoWriMo first draft marathon.
At one with thousands of people all over the world, I poured out 50,000 words of deathless prose in the thirty days November hath. Meeting the daily quota freed me from overthinking. It was the push I needed to get started.
Writing a book takes forever, unlike the NaNo first draft which has a beginning, and mercifully, an end. I labored over the bones of the book for most of the following year.
I was lucky to find a critique group. They kept me going as I tossed chunks of text into the trash can. I confess, I don’t throw the words away, I make a .txt file just in case I need it someday.
Breathing Room is set in Seattle and Baker [City] Oregon.