Writer's Wednesday: Pismawallops Island

Those of you who follow the IWSG and especially the IWSG book club may have noticed some helpful posts from Toi Thomas about how to make your books more discoverable. I have long been aware that sometimes my blog barely reflects at all the fact that I write novels. The time may have come to fix that! One of her suggestions was to write articles about your books, your writing process, etc. 

I have been trying to raise my profile as a writer by writing most weeks about progress and the process. But that still doesn't bring up my books, especially the ones that are out there to buy as opposed to the ones I'm working on. To address that, I am launching a new series of "Writer's Wednesday" posts specifically about my books, starting with this post about Pismawallops Island, the fictional setting of my PTA mystery series.

Everything you wanted to know about Pismawallops Island but were afraid to ask

Where is Pismawallops Island located?
Pismawallops is an island in the northern bits of Washington's Puget Sound. I more or less displaced Lummi Island, or added a spare to the north side of the San Juan islands.
Is Pismawallops Island a real place?
Only in my perhaps fevered imagination. But there is a grain of reality in the place. I grew up on an island in Puget Sound (now more properly called the Salish Sea, which is a much better name for many reasons, including alliteration), and modeled some of the features of P.I. after my childhood home.

Where did you get the name?
The name was a bit of possibly ill-judged fun with the local Washington names, which include such fun things as Dosewallips, Humptulips, and of course Puyallup. Not to mention Snohomish, Skykomish (dollars to donuts those were originally the same word), Snoqualmie and Mukilteo.

How big is the island?
This is a bit vague even in my mind, but I see it as a more or less round pile maybe 5 miles across. No more than that. It's a little longer north-to-south than it is wide, so think of an irregular oval 4 x 5 miles. Population is perhaps 5000 people, but probably fewer. There are two main commercial bits, with the bulk of the "town" down by the harbor and ferry dock. There are a few other businesses--the Orca Diner/Island Arts, and the Padgett's gas station and garage--at "Island Center" where the main NS and EW roads cross.

Why is the ferry ride so long?
The only good harbor on the island is on the west side, away from the mainland. So the ferry, which I totally invented, runs out of Bellingham harbor and up around P.I. to the dock.

Why did you invent the setting for your mysteries?
Short answer: I'm lazy. Yes, making up a place is a lot of work. But it's less work than getting a real setting right. And no one can write me letters objecting that the library isn't really on that side of the road, or what have you. The other reason is that it's fun! 

Why is Pismawallops Island in Puget Sound?
(See questions #1 & 2): it's my home territory. I wanted a small, closed community for my mysteries, and it just seemed to make sense to turn to an area I once knew well. If Pismawallops has a bit of an old-fashioned feel at times, it might be because time moves differently on an island. It might also be because I'm a little nostalgic for the island of my childhood.

What does the name Pismawallops mean?
There is a rumor on the island that the name means "useless pile of rocks in the sea". This rumor has not been confirmed, but no one is willing to deny it, either. 

Thanks for taking a look, and let me know if you have any other unanswered questions about the island. If I don't know the answer, I'll make one up--it's what I do.
Not familiar with the books? Start reading today with Death By Ice Cream!

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1495986861 (Kindle, paperback and Large Type)

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/421265

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/death-by-ice-cream-rebecca-m-douglass/1118953394?ean=2940045783293 (ebook & paperback)

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/death-by-ice-cream/id847970837

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/death-by-ice-cream

A Washington State Ferry setting sail from someplace that might be Pismawallops Island, but probably isn't.


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