Mundie Moms

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Post by Jennifer Archer (Places that inspired Through Her Eyes)

If at all possible, I like to experience a place, person, or topic I’m writing about “in person.” It takes a little more time, but it's almost always time well spent. THROUGH HER EYES is set in a small town located in the Texas Panhandle, which just happens to be my home. I live in Amarillo, the only city of any size in the Panhandle, with a population of approximately 175,000. From the time I was in 5th grade through my sophomore year of high school, I lived in the small town of Pampa, which is about an hour’s drive from Amarillo. However, it has been a long time since I was fifteen, so while writing the book, I visited two nearby towns similar in size to my fictional town of Cedar Canyon – population 2,250 – to refresh my memory about small town life.
My first research trip took me to Canadian, Texas. Canadian is located in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle. Slightly more than a two hour drive from Amarillo, Canadian is known as “the oasis of the Panhandle,” and it lives up to that description. The town truly is an oasis in this otherwise flat, parched land in northwest Texas. Whereas the bed of the Canadian River branch that runs through my area of the Panhandle is usually cracked and dry, water flowed in abundance beneath Canadian’s “River Wagon Bridge.” And in striking contrast to the flat, treeless, almost desert-like plains surrounding Amarillo, my drive through Canadian’s countryside took me over rolling green hills and into valleys graced by swaying cottonwood trees.

My next research trip was to a town called Panhandle, which is a bit confusing, as the town of Panhandle is located in the Texas Panhandle. (This old photograph of Panhandle could’ve been taken decades ago, during the time that Henry lived in Cedar Canyon.) almost that old, but not quite). The description of the science classroom in THROUGH HER EYES where Tansy has homeroom and first realizes that Tate has something against her is taken from a science classroom I visited at Panhandle High School. Also, my visit there brought back vivid memories of the sounds that drift through a school when class is in session -- the rustle of paper, sighs, the scratch of pencils on pads, the squeak of chair legs against the floor, foot falls down the hallway. Placing myself in the middle of a high school setting like the one in my book and experiencing all the sensory elements, helped me to add realism to all of the scenes in the book that took place in Cedar Canyon High.

The time I spent in Canadian and Panhandle helped bring my novel's fictional town of Cedar Canyon to life in my mind. I hope the detail I was able to include in the story from my research in these towns helps bring Cedar Canyon alive for readers, as well. Fictional Cedar Canyon is a unique mix of both Canadian and Panhandle, with a heavy dose of my own imagination tossed in!


  1. I loved this post and the amount of research that Jennifer did. I love when author's share their inspiration/research with makes the book come to life even more.

  2. I'm reading this book now, so I loved looking at all the pictures! It really helps me to imagine the setting!