Welcome, tell us about yourself.

My name is Howard, my wife, Violet, told me I had to do this interview. What do you want to know?

What do you do in Peakview and how long have you lived here?

I’ve been here almost 40 years. I was in my twenties, when I happened upon this town. Never left. I’d worked a mechanic, so I was able to purchase the gas station and shop cheap from the estate of a man who had run it many years before. I love it here. You asked what I do. Besides running the garage, I own some cabins down by Apple Creek that I rent out in the summer, I plow and tow folks out of jams, and I’m kind of the unofficial mayor of this place. Someone’s got to make sure the town functions.

Tell us about your family.

There’s Violet, of course. My beautiful bride, We’ve been married a couple years now. Known her for over thirty. Stan, her deceased husband, was my best friend for years. After he passed, I watched out for her. You know, it’s what friends do. Somehow, it gradually become more than a friendship. I still don’t see what she sees in an old cout like me, but I’m glad she gave me a chance. That same year, I met my daughter, Melanie and my granddaughter, Sophie for the first time. I didn’t even know they existed, now I can’t imagine life without them. And now there’s Melanie’s husband Hank and their daughter, Marissa. My life is full.

What do you like best about living in Peakview?

Aside, from it being far from any big city or civilization, I like how everyone looks out for each other. We’re one big family here. No one goes without help. I credit my wife for much of that, she’s the glue that holds this town together.

Tell us one thing most people don’t know about Howard Crandall.

Let’s see. I used to be quite the dancer in my younger days. I could really cut a rug. I may appear clumsy, but I’m pretty limber as long as my arthritis doesn’t flare up. Violet loves it when I take her dancing. We don’t get to do that near often enough.

Any last words.

If you’re ever in north central Colorado, stop on by and check out our tiny town. Who knows, you might never want to leave.


Character Talk Tuesday-June Walker

Good morning and welcome. I hear you are a relatively new resident to Peakview. How do you end up in this little town?

That’s right. I’ve only been here about two and a half years. Actually, coming to Peakview was totally unintentional on my part. After Alexis, my youngest, left for college, I decided to take a roadtrip from my former home in Ohio to visit my son and granddaughters in San Diego. The Colorado Mountains were so breath-taking that I decided to take some back roads. That’s when my car broke down along Apple Creek Road. Lucky for me, my now step-son, Luke, happened along and rescued me. He graciously invited me to Walker Ranch while Howard worked on my car. The rest is fate. I met Jeff and fell in love. I sometimes wonder if Luke planned it that way.

What do you think of the community?

Honestly, it’s the best place on Earth. I don’t think you’ll find friendlier folks anywhere. They’ve accepted me as one of their own. I’ve made some great friends here. And Violet’s café. Let just say it’s the center of this community. Violet doesn’t miss a thing, and she has a heart of gold.

Tell us about your family.

I have three children. My oldest, Paul and his wife Cindy life in San Diego with my three adorable grandchildren. My middle child, Mary, is a world traveler. I hope to get her out here for a visit again soon. Then there’s Alexis, she’s in college at LSU. And, of course, my step-sons, Matthew and Luke. Matthew is a CPA down in Denver, and Luke lives on the ranch with his wife, Penny, and their new baby boy, Bronco. Honestly, he’s the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. We’re so lucky that they live so close to us.

Tell us something we might be surprised to know about you.

I’ve always been an amateur artist. Since moving to the ranch, I’ve taken up water color. You can find me on a nice afternoon, out in one of our pastures, painting scenery or horses. I’m not very good, but it’s fun. Jeff has even humored me by hanging a couple of my paintings in his office. I have the best husband.

Character Talk Tuesday-Violet Crandall

Today I have the pleasure of talking to Peakview’s very own, Violet Crandall. Introduce yourself to us.

Hi! My name is Violet and I am the owner of Violet’s Café. The café is the center of our small town of around 150 full time residents.

How Long have you owned and run the café?

Goodness, for almost 40 years now. My former husband, Stan, rest his soul,  and I came to Peakview right after college and opened this place. The rest is history. Sadly, I lost Stan ten years ago, but I’ve continued on with the restaurant he loved. And now, of course, I have my Howard. God has blessed me twice.

What can you tell us about Peakview?

We’ve got the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. We’re really just one big family. Not a soul here who won’t help out his neighbor. I love helping people. In fact, I’m known as quite the matchmaker. I can spot a connection from a mile away. Most of the folks here have me to thank for their happy relationships. Frankly, I don’t know what they’d do without me. This place would probably shrivel up and die, but instead the town is growing. I might add that many of the new babies we have here, would never have been conceived without a little nudge from me. Have you seen that little Bronco Walker? What a cute child.

Any thoughts about retiring?

Heavens no. I don’t want to just sit around and play bridge all day. Howard suggested we might want to look into heading south for the winters. I told him I’m not that old yet. This old girl has a lot of good years left in her. I’ll be around for a while.

Thank you for being my guest today, any final thoughts you want to leave us with?

If you find yourself in Peakview County, please stop by the café and say hello. There’s a good chance some of your favorite characters will be hanging out. It’s a special place. Oh, and if you want to know anything that’s going on in Peakview, leave a comment below and I’ll answer all your questions. Nothing gets by me. 

RIP Derek Shepard

derek shepardWhat makes a memorable character? As writers we all strive to create memorable characters. Those that our readers can identify with, fall in love with, not want to live without, cry and laugh with. The trick is making these fictional personas come to life. I think a lot about what makes this work. Nothing illustrates this point quite like the surprise and unfortunate demise of Dr. Derek Shepard, aka Dr. McDreamy this past week on the TV show Grey’s Anatomy.

Now Grey’s has been on the air for eleven seasons, and I have been a faithful viewer since show number one. There have been major characters come and go before, but the backbone of the show has always been the relationship between Meredith Grey and Derek. Women all over fell in love with the dreamy doctor, so much so that in the second or third season the nickname Dr. McDreamy emerged. The role propelled little known actor Patrick Dempsey into super stardom.The very first scene of the very first show has them meeting in a bar. Classic. For eleven years we followed their ups and downs, highs and lows, love and hate, marriage, birth of children and finding their way together. Just when we thought all was well, BOOM (literally he was hit by a truck) Derek was gone.

What surprised me more than what happened was my reaction. Now I admit I am a softie when is comes to shows and movies. If its a good show I cry somewhere before the end. But this show literally left me sobbing, and sad–for hours! I had to turn the TV off when it was over. The sadness was too overwhelming to watch anything else. How could this have happened? I write romance and we always have happy endings. I so wanted the show to end someday with them living happily ever after.

Even more surprising was when I clicked on the Grey’s Anatomy Facebook page the following morning to find that over 3 million, that’s right 3 MILLION people had done same since the show aired less than 10 hours prior. And the almost 40 thousand comments ranged from sadness and despair to anger and rage. People were SO upset, threatening to never watch the show again. A few days later I saw a petition with tens of thousands of signatures being circulated begging the show to somehow miraculously bring him back.

As a writer all I could say was WOW, WOW, WOW. Shonda Rhimes, despite her current status slightly below the devil himself, had created a character so real that millions were grieving his death. That’s what we strive for. We should all be so lucky!