Today I thought I would tell you a little bit about Rojo Valley, Arizona, the town I made up for the Astrid Peterson paranormal mystery series.
Question #1: Why and how did you create a town, rather than use an existing town?
Answer: I created Rojo Valley so I would have complete control over the buildings, people and personality of the town. I created a map, which I will post when I get it into a format without scribbles. Rojo Valley is a figment of my imagination, but I put many buildings I already know quite well into Rojo Valley.
Rojo Valley is a town in a valley situated near Flagstaff, Arizona. Here is a photo of Humphrey’s Peak, one of the San Francisco Peaks, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Rojo Valley has the same general landscape.
I chose this area to create Rojo Valley because I lived in Arizona for the first 38 years of my life. I attended summer school at Northern Arizona University, located in Flagstaff, and have visited family who lived nearby. I have hiked, camped, and enjoyed the wilderness of the area many times.
Question #2: How many people live in Rojo Valley? What are the general demographics and personality of the town?
Answer: Rojo Valley was founded in 1863, and is a close-knit community of 5,000 people. Half the residents are white, one quarter are of Latino or Hispanic origin, and the rest are of different races. The townspeople are not racist but are instead accepting of other races. (I abhor that type of behavior in a way that I could not write about racists. Murderers are a whole different thing. They get punished for being assholes.) Most of the people are middle to lower class, with regard to income. A few of the townspeople are “well-off.” The town is a cross between Mayberry and Peyton Place. In other words, Rojo Valley appears to be the perfect little town that would have no crime. People are friendly. The town looks and feels straight out of the 1930s to 1950s. The town holds barbeques, ice cream socials, parades, celebrations and barn dances for any occasion they can think of. But, many of the townspeople have secrets and complicated relationships that get them and others into big trouble. What do residents like to do about such people? They gossip.
Question #3: Where do people work in Rojo Valley?
Answer: The town is located in Coconino County, the county in which Flagstaff is situated. Dalton Hohlman, Astrid Peterson’s ex-boyfriend, is a detective for the Coconino County Sheriff. There is a Sheriff substation and many other County offices in Rojo Valley.
One of the larger industries in Rojo Valley is tourism. The town is near the Snowbowl ski area, which is wonderful for downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and perfect for hiking in the summer. The town is also near Grand Canyon National Park, a big tourist draw for the area. The tourist industry employs many of the area’s residents.
The other jobs are those which would be found in any town. Rojo Valley has all the normal businesses and needs. Residents may work in one of the medical facilities, including a small hospital, legal offices, all manner of stores, or gas stations.
There are plenty of places for townspeople to work, and unemployment is not a big problem.
I hope you have enjoyed this quick picture of Rojo Valley, Arizona. If you have any questions about the books, the characters, or would like to know more about Rojo Valley, please comment below. And let me know if you enjoyed this post.