Behind the Books: The Change series
by JM Cartweight
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Why did I set the Change books in West Virginia and North Carolina?
Hmm. I love both places; that is indisputable. The green hills and mountains, the tumbling rivers and streams, the winding roads, they all seem to call to me. I hope my passion for these two gorgeous states shines through. I wanted a place that was as different from sprawling, urban Chicago as I could get, and my memories of the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge kept knocking at my door.
My city boys were most definitely cranky and tired of their fast-paced lives that didn’t seem to be heading in a good direction. They wanted out.
Johnny was tired of the grind of touring, constantly being “on” and being pursued by those who wanted something from him. He knew two things: he wanted a family, and living the rock star lifestyle in the fishbowl of LA wasn’t how he was going to get one.
Con was fed up with working his ass off and not getting the promotion and recognition he felt he deserved. When he was passed over for the nephew of the owner, he knew it was time to do something different.
Drew left Chicago to save his dad’s political hide, but honestly, he was glad to go. Living a 24-hour political life was so not him, and he was tired of putting up with it to support his father. The scandal that required him to leave town came just about the time he was ready to explode.
Change is never easy; that is a truism of life. Having these three strong, capable men come to the realization that a change in outcome requires a change in thinking makes for good reading, at least I hope you’ll think so. The quirky, funny, surprising events that occur in each man’s life made me smile as I wrote the books. It was wonderful to revisit them as I brought them to life again for Loose Id; I enjoyed fine-tuning and sharpening the dialogue and the scenes.
I pictured the Cheat River near Elkins, WV as I wrote scenes for Tune and Pace. As I described Drew’s journey to his new life, I recalled driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and marveling at the size of the rhododendrons and oohing at the views at each turn of the road.
Each of the three men—Drew Cunningham of Pace, Con Danvers of Scenery, and Johnny Rayne of Tune—eventually decide they’ve made the right choice to take the less traveled road, to break out of their routines, habits and ruts, and to welcome (albeit with some trepidation) new experiences. Each city boy meets someone who stops him headlong, makes him angry, excited, aroused and ultimately glad to have taken the courageous step to change… everything.