Friday, December 18, 2015

Kimberly Keyes, Romance Author and Friendly Tour Guide

One of the things I enjoy in writing a new book is learning about the locale where my story takes place, then offering my readers a taste. For instance, I’m working on a contemporary series right now set in Copper Mountain, Colorado, a great little ski town I’ve visited many times. You better believe I’ll be describing some of the local hangouts, the après ski joints, and the mountain itself. I want it to feel like you’ve seen the place by the time you’ve finished reading one of my books.

LOVER’S LEAP, my recent contemporary release, takes place in Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area. I’ve been to Tahoe to ski, but have never spent a summer in the area, so I had to do some major research.

A couple of facts you may or may not know are, Tahoe is mostly located in Cali, but when flying there, you use the Reno International Airport in Nevada. Like I mentioned, most of Tahoe is in California. Some is in Nevada, and many people who go there to vacation choose the area in order to enjoy the Nevada’s casinos. And did you know certain parts of Tahoe are just a drive away from other major California cities, like San Fransisco?

Summers at the lake are very cool, even just cruising around in your rent-a-car (or Aston Martin, if you’re Logan Shaw, LOVER’S LEAP’s hero). There’s a cool scenic road, around 72 miles in diameter, that encompasses the lake, that’s a tourist attraction all on its own.

One of my favorite discoveries was the little California town called Truckee, driving distance from Tahoe. The area was once inhabited by Native Americans mainly of the Washoe Tribe. Truckee is named for one Washoe Indian mistakenly thought to be called “Tro-kay.” (It turns out, that was something the Native American often said. It means “all is well.” People thought he was trying to introduce himself, however, and were attempting to name the town after him.)

The town built up around a habitable section of the eastern pass over the Sierra Nevadas to California currently known as the Donner Pass. It’s ripe with colorful history, like the account of one group of travelers (the Donner party) who got stuck in Truckee trying to make the pass one brutal winter. As the story goes, the party was reduced to cannibalism to survive. There’s a Donner museum in Truckee if you want to learn more.

I mention an actual coffee shop, name changed slightly, in LOVER’s LEAP. Wild Cherries Coffee is on my bucket list next time I make it to Tahoe!

The best find was when I read the story of Chief No-name and the Legend of Lover’s Leap. Yep, that’s what sparked the inspiration for the name of my book. Lover’s Leap is the name of an actual cliff in California. It’s supposed to be Chief No-name himself, having turned to stone after causing the death of his beloved daughter. Want more details? Then you’ll have to either consult Dr Google or better yet, read LOVER’S LEAP because I think you’ll vastly prefer to experience Logan’s rendition when he tells Candace (my heroine) the story one starry night in Tahoe.

Kimberly Keyes
author of LOVER’S LEAP, a contemporary romance
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