The Locale

“So, where does Without A Spark take place, exactly?”

That’s an easy question to answer – Mud River, of course, the quiet (but storied) backwater college town.

Now, before you go consulting Wikipedia to find out where the Mud River in the book is at, I should probably disclose that the entire location is a figment of my imagination, invented from whole cloth to fill the needs of my narrative.

It’s fiction, dummy!

But, in all seriousness, Mud River in the novel is a pretty small, pretty sleepy American college town, of the sort that most people have probably visited once or twice, usually while en route to somewhere more interesting. It’s not patterned off of any real such town, honest.

Put another way, any resemblance to Corvallis, Oregon—which I’ve never visited—is completely coincidental.

Why a small town, rather than a big city? Because there were some elements I wanted to include that didn’t really work in a big metropolitan area. Because everybody else writes about big cities, and I like to write about anonymous little places in the middle of nowhere. And, last but not least, because people are far more willing to accept that a fictional small town has no real-life counterpart (at least, that they know of!) than they are big cities, which always seem to invite comparisons to some real-world metropolis…

Also, I know there are a number of schools throughout the country which use a beaver as a mascot. I picked that because of the potential for crass jokes. Seriously. Don’t read anything more into it. (Anyone who wants to mail me a Lady Beavers t-shirt, though, is more than welcome to.)

So, now you know. Don’t you feel better?