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Clayton County: Why the Pacific Northwest?

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April 22, 2013 by Jen Cudmore

Columbia River 3

Many of us develop a fondness for the areas where we were raised. I grew up in a little town in Washington State which consisted of a few homes and a post office. We had to travel twenty minutes down the mountain to reach the nearest civilized town. The parking lot of my high school overlooked the Columbia River, which was usually dotted with windsurfers who had traveled from all over the world!

                My first series, The Lawmen of Clayton County takes place in the Oregon and Washington Territories simply because I love the area and its history; Lewis and Clark, The Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Vancouver, John McLoughlin. The end of the Oregon Trail seemed like the perfect place to set a western series, and at the time I started writing, I wasn’t aware of any historical novels set in this area. Most of the characters in this series either traveled the Oregon Trail during the Great Migration or boarded a ship and sailed around the continent. Those who made it were a tough and courageous group of people.

                Clayton County itself is fictitious. Basically, I wedged it between current day Skamania and Klickitat Counties, north of the Columbia. While all the towns in Clayton County are also fictitious, every other place mentioned did exist (most of them are still there today) and I tried to make all the town references historically accurate. If, like me, you have a fondness for the Pacific Northwest, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy these stories!  


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