So I've been a little elusive about this 'Cozy Gig', mostly because it isn't a sure thing... it's an opportunity to audition, but I've finished my first three chapters—first draft anyway, and now it is time to research like a fiend, so I thought I'd go into my approach in case anyone finds it helpful, or sees me floundering and has suggestions.
Straight to the Source
Ideal would be to go there, but as I don't even know if I will GET this gig, and because we ALWAYS have money trouble, I'm not doing that at this point. So I have put out a call to people I know in Virginia—turns out I know a couple! There isn't anybody actually in Roanoke, but I've talked to a couple people who've lived NEAR, plus found it really helpful to talk to a friend of mine from high school who is in the DC area, because SOME of the things a native would take for granted, an outsider would NOT. Her observation was a dichotomy—sort of a blue blood aristocracy versus the wannabes who will never actually be part of that.
For someone from the west, this is totally foreign—it is also USEFUL for a cast that will include people from both ends of the spectra. I'm not writing a social commentary, so don't plan to dwell TOO much, but to know the elite might have some snobbery is actually very useful in something that is supposed to be FUNNY.
Another source shared something that is backward from Michigan, anyway. HERE, if you own property (like in the country) it generally is a sign of wealth, so people who live out of town a ways, have more means. In the SOUTH, rural folks are often pretty poor, so getting out of town means the SES drops fast... useful to my main character who likes to hit back roads on a bicycle, not because she is going to do much interacting out there, but I want the things she sees to be realistic.
So THANK YOU to my sources, Marie, Dave and Tracy!!!!
This is harder than you might think. First, my non-gardening brain needs to generate plants, then I need to look up whether they bloom in zone seven, and finally, WHEN they bloom—can't have things appear bloomed together if in fact one is a spring and one is a summer! So this is a longish process.
Homes need to match their neighborhood. Things need to be an accurate distance from each other. The view getting there needs to be right. I LOVE GOOGLE MAPS.
Places of Business
So where is the local watering hole? Most places have several. How are they different in feel? What about fine dining... the Chamber list ought to give me a start, but it is yet more stuff I need to figure out.
I have a week. Ready, get set, GO!