The eighth book in the Wynter Wild saga, Minor Key, is out now in all ebook formats!
The title for Minor Key was inspired by two events in the story, the first being Xay and Wynter’s long-awaited reunion after 3 years. Things don’t go exactly as either of them planned, and neither knows quite what to do about it.
The second is the tragedy alluded to in the blurb (below).
In addition, Jesse is dealing with a mental health issue that takes him by surprise.
Little Sister Song on Wattpad has just hit 150,000 reads since I started publishing it in December 2018 – beyond my wildest expectations! I’ll be posting a few blogs to celebrate.
I don’t often listen to music while writing (especially not songs with lyrics) but when I’m plotting, or playing out scenes in my head searching for ideas, I have some favorite songs I keep going back to. These songs don’t necessarily reflect how I imagine my fictional musical family would sound, but for various reasons the music inspired me.
I’ve updated the digital composite picture I made of Wynter’s home on Tiger Mountain. This one adds the garage and improves the driveway. On the left is the concrete area used as a basketball court. The goat pen, veggie patches, and “Wynter’s garden” with the stone wall are hidden by the main house.
As well as making the Tiger Mountain home in The Sims 3, I also made Caleb’s house in Seattle – the house where Wynter shows up on the doorstep one cold January afternoon. This one was a lot simpler to build, and currently my Sims family is living there.
Lego houses are my first love, but my second love is Sims houses! I used to satisfy my house-building fetish with the Sims years ago because all my childhood Lego was at my parents’ place. Recently I purchased The Sims 3, which I was told is more versatile for building than the latest Sims 4, and built the house on Tiger Mountain. But first, here’s Wynter’s family as Sims:
I created them with personalities and approximate appearances to match the books, and if you use Sims 3 you can download the household from the Exchange and use them in your own game.
I also downloaded lots of custom content for the house because I don’t have any Expansions and needed things like medieval furniture (for the tower), a drum kit, and some cute knick-knacks to scatter around. Most of the custom stuff comes from modthesims.
Having a non-functional sense of aesthetics when it comes to house decor, I did the best I could…
Here’s a view of Tiger Mountain (facing east) showing how the homes – the brown clearings in the foreground – are buried in the forest. The blue flag could be where Caleb’s family lives. The mountains in the very distance are the Cascades, which run north-south for 700 miles from Canada to Northern California.
In my previous post I showed pictures of the various homes (and a boat!) lived in by the family in the Wynter Wild series. In this post I’ll take a look at the two houses they visit for nostalgia’s sake in Montana, along with the Montana homes the children grew up in even before then.
In my next post I’ll show you some of the other characters’ homes and hangouts.
In Minor Key (book 8), the family visits the two homes in Montana where the boys grew up (at least, the last two homes they lived in – they moved around with Miriam before this).
This house in Anaconda, then a copper mining town, was purchased by Harry’s parents in the 60s. Harry was born here, and so were Caleb and Indio and Joy. The boys returned in 1997 when they were 9, 6 (almost 7) and just 3. They lived here with Harry for 6 years before the move to Washington. For the most part this was not a happy home for them.
I often “drive” through cities and suburbs on Google Maps to get a feel for how a place looks, even if those descriptions don’t end up in my writing. I live in suburban Melbourne, which has many suburbs with their own distinctive and very Australian flavor. So it’s fascinating to me to compare American locations with Australian, as well as with each other.
Early on I found houses to match each of the places Wynter and the boys have lived in. I looked for houses the right size and price (using Zillow estimates for the year in question, where possible), and in the right location. This helped me enormously in visualizing my scenes. Zillow also sometimes has photos of the interiors (when they’ve recently been on the market).
Below are screenshots of some of the homes mentioned in books 1 to 8. They’re not necessarily perfectly matched to the way I ended up describing the buildings, but most are real homes in the actual neighborhoods given in the books. I’ve listed them in the order they appear in the books, not the order they were lived in.
Seattle house, Columbia City, Seattle WA
Harry bought a three-bedroon one-bathroom house in 2003 “when banks would lend to anyone”, after moving from Montana with the boys. Caleb sold it in 2014. The house below is similar in style, although lacking the attached garage. Homes in this neighborhood have tripled in value in the last 8 years. In Little Sister Song, the house is described as a 1950s fixer-upper, 1300 sq feet. Right before they move out, we learn the house has a wooden fence (because Jesse has to paint it) rather than wire.