Have you been to Maudit, Louisiana yet? Let me give you a quick tour and tell you about upcoming events.
Many writers make up fictional towns or areas in which to place their stories. Most notably, Stephen King has basically rewritten the Northeast to the point more people are familiar with his fictional areas than they are with the real towns in Maine.
Why would a writer do this? There are a number of reasons. One is so you can safely write about a place you know without needing to be EXACT. If you have a long enough career, you might be able to expand your area, very much like a fungus, so you can incorporate more geography without needing to reinvent the wheel.
My fictional place is Maudit, Louisiana. Many people will say it's basically Jennings, the actual small town where I grew up. They would be marginally correct.
Maudit first popped up when I needed to create some place for Detective MacKenzie to solve his first case. When I wrote that story, Maudit was actually a mash-up of Kenner, Jennings, Lake Charles and an apartment block I often passed in New Orleans.
Later, when I wrote The Problem with Room 238, Maudit drew HEAVILY from Jennings, specifically the Holiday Inn right off I-10. However, if you look at I-10, Maudit could be anywhere along the bottom half of the state.
Currently there are 3 stories that take place in or mention Maudit, Louisiana. Turns out the town isn't finished with me. Heck, the STATE isn't finished with me or Mackenzie. If I can help it, you might even get another writer's detective to make a visit there. (in other words, I'm going to beg a better writer to let me post one of his stories and then collaborate with me on a short story. He doesn't know about this begging yet, but, if he reads this blog, he might start to suspect)
What should I tell you about Maudit? Let's start with the name. You find plenty of French words in Louisiana and, knowing history, it should come as no surprise. Heck, I grew up in an area that's often termed 'Acadiana'. Louisiana, especially certain areas in the southern part of the state, can almost feel like a different world. It's not a far stretch to put some supernatural things there.
Yes, most of my stories in this town tend to hinge on Lovecraftian lore. It was a sort of accident but I went with it. Room 238 is your basic horror, but if you've read Mackenzie's other cases, you might wonder what exactly was in 238.
Last piece of info. Maudit is a French word. It means 'damn/damned'. There's a reason for that.
Things are stirring in Maudit. Mackenzie will feature in most, but he's not the only show in town. Hopefully I can fully welcome you to Maudit this year!