To be honest, I haven’t really received many questions that I would consider “Frequently Asked” (except about the ending of All That Remains). Still, I’ll take a great amount of liberty and try to answer some anyway.
Is Newtonberg a real town?
Well, Newtonberg is as real as Lake Wobegon, which I will admit was an influence. Also Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden. I have not actually read Jan Karon’s Mitford books, but as a library cataloger, I’ve gotten the distinct idea that it is, as my book description says, a “southern cousin” to Newtonberg.
Newtonberg is inspired in part by towns I’ve lived in during my life, places I’ve visited, and some places I’ve only experienced in books.
Are the folks in Newtonberg based on people you know?
While none of the characters are out-and-out real people, and some are pure fiction, to a certain extent some of the characters are certainly inspired by people I know.
Which ones? And who are they REALLY?
I can’t tell you. And you probably wouldn’t know them anyway.
Why is it “Newtonberg“? Shouldn’t it be -burg or -burgh?
Nope. Many people in the group of travelers that General Newton met who colonized the area that became Newtonberg were first generation German Texans. When it came time to name the town, they based the name on Brandenberg, Germany, thus “Newtonberg” was born.
What’s with the Beatles references in your post titles?
I like the Beatles, and they all seem to fit the posts. When I run out of those, I will most likely use songs/lyrics by other artists for post titles. (7/23/2014 Update: See? I told you so….)
More than twenty years of writing for six stories? Isn’t that a long time?
Well, yes and no. It’s been twenty years since the town of Newtonberg first appeared in a story. That story, and several more, did not make the cut for Welcome to Newtonberg for various reasons. Perhaps they will appear in a later book, or other stories may take their place. (7/23/2014 Update: That original story eventually became the basis for All That Remains. So who knows what might happen with the others?)
Writing isn’t an exact science. Sometimes you get a winner right out of the gate, other stories don’t work out. A good example is Mayor Al and Gladys’ skiing trip. I had a story about it, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped. However, that story was the springboard for “Christmas in Newtonberg.”
So what really happened to Al’s leg in “Christmas in Newtonberg”?
It’s not really important.
Will Mike and Janet get married?
Only time will tell.
What will happen between Cliff and the Widow Missus?
What happened to Billy Powell after All That Remains? (That ending sucked, by the way…)
That will all be explained in Back to Newtonberg. I promise.
You’re not going to tell us anything, are you?
If I told you everything, there would be no need for another book. And besides, I’m having fun finding out myself. Like what Rick Murchison did before he came to Newtonberg. And the secret history of Oliver and Orville. (7/23/2014 Update: Oliver and Orville’s story is also revealed in Back to Newtonberg.)
And let’s not forget…
What about you? Can you tell us anything else?
Well, I like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…
I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?
Do you always begin conversations this way?
Yep. That would be me.