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.
The silly season is over, the child is back at school, and I’ve finally managed to get Duet out there.
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Jesse and Wynter set out on an adventure-filled road trip to San Francisco, to rescue Indio from drugs and despair. Back home, eldest brother Caleb resolves to take control of his family as once-close relationships deteriorate.
Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Xay lives with his ailing mother and a whole heap of bitterness over his year spent in the Light. He’s doing okay, all things considered. But he’s never forgotten the girl from the ashram who used to climb through a hole in the fence in the dead of night to listen to rock songs on the radio with him…
As family secrets are revealed, this divided family draws ever closer to the truth… and to each other.
Indio is INFJ, which is variously labeled the advocate, the counselor, or the mystic due to their insightful nature. I initially conceived him as an extraverted party boy, given his problems at the start of the series, but once I started writing him he turned into more of a sensitive and troubled soul. Bear in mind that Indio is not a healthy INFJ. His behavior is more typical of the stressed version of this personality type. (As an aside, I haven’t specifically addressed his relationship with Wynter in this post, but I intend to do some “relationship” posts later.)
A reminder that there may be minor spoilers for books 1-8.
Caleb: the “logisitian”
I wrote Caleb as an honest straightforward guy who took on responsibility beyond his years out of duty to his brothers. When I later typed him, the MBTI personality type is ISTJ – the “logistician” or “inspector” – fits perfectly. Here’s what those letters mean:
A reminder that there may be minor spoilers for books 1-8.
Wynter: the “artist”
Wynter’s MBTI personality type is ISFP – the “artist”, the “free spirit”, or the “adventurer” according to 16Personalities. I prefer the first term, but thinking of Wynter as “creatively adventurous” works. Let’s break it down:
This will be the first in a series looking at the personality types of the characters in the Wynter Wild series, comparing them to each other, and discussing character pairings – meaning how they interact with each other (in both positive and negative ways). I’ll focus mostly on the siblings (Caleb, Indio, Jesse, Xay, Wynter), using their MBTI (Myers-Briggs) personality types.
I did personality tests on my characters about one year into writing, when they already pretty well established in my head and on the page. I thought it would be interesting to see how closely they matched the established “types”. I also knew it would generate some ideas for how they deal with stress, and with each other (particularly what causes conflict).
I became interested in this method of personality typing a couple of decades ago. 16Personalities is a useful summary site to familiarize yourself with the 16 types and take the test yourself if you want. (Not all sites use the same “shorthand” descriptor, e.g. “debater” for ENTP, but the idea is the same.) It’s up to you whether you find this psychological approach useful for real people, but as a writer I do find it useful for character generation – or, in this case, for delving deeper into characters I’d already created.
I’m writing these posts in the midst of editing (and uploading to Wattpad) book 8, so there may be minor spoilers if you haven’t read that far. Read about: