In conjunction with “Run … You Can’t Hide”
More times than not, I pick small towns for my settings, where most people are laid back, easygoing, with a true down-home flare for friendliness. The atmosphere of a small town lends itself to hospitality and often a glimpse into Texas history where the men and women had to be resilient and tough to survive. Small Texas towns are where you never meet a stranger, and you’ll always received a Howdy, how ya’ doin’, or the universal index finger raised from the steering wheel and moved to the side in a courteous howdy when you pass.
For my novel “Run … You Can’t Hide,” being release July 28, 2015, was centered in and around the city of Ben Wheeler and surrounding countryside. In fact, my husband, Harry and I were on our way to my niece’s in Frankston, when we cut through Ben Wheeler and I got the idea for my story.
As a rule, during research for my books, I generally travel to the town several times, if possible. I do my best to eat at the local restaurants, visit the local establishments and attractions, learn of their history, and take pictures of the community where I envision my story will take place. It’s wonderful getting acquainted with some of the merchants and other people in the town, which gives me more insight to the true nature of the city and its people.
Unlike so many small communities who have lost their fight for survival and are now ghost towns or have nothing left to show they existed except crumbling buildings or marker alongside the rode, Ben Wheeler has struggled to stay alive and viable. If you’re ever on I-20 heading east out of Dallas and have some time on your hands, about 12 miles southeast of Canton, on FM 279, you’ll run into the community of Ben Wheeler, Texas. Stop. Take a look around. Shop a little. Talk with the locals and the shopkeepers. You’ll find they are very proud of their community and businesses.
I believe you’ll be glad you made the trip. This little artisan community thrives on tourism. If you’re not careful, you may just find a thing or two or three you can’t live without and need to take back home when you leave.
Part II – The Town of Ben Wheeler will be next time.
Y’all come back, ya hear!