Z is for Zenith


Zenith is the made up name for the town in my P.J. Benson mysteries. Why Zenith? The answer to that is easy.

When I started the first book in that series, I was living just outside of Climax, Michigan. In The Crows I wrote about what I knew. But I needed to alter the landscape slightly, add more roads and houses, change where the wooded areas were located. Also, I didn’t want my neighbors thinking any of the characters in that book were based upon them, not individually, at least. So I picked a different name for the local village. Climax is so known because when Daniel B. Eldred first visited the township he said, “This caps the climax.” A synonym for zenith? Climax.

Most of the people living in Climax, Michigan who have read my books know that Zenith is fashioned after their town, but the real town has undergone some changes since the start of my series. Zenith hasn’t. Also, since Zenith isn’t really Climax, those who know the real town have no problem if I move a store or change the road going out of town. On the other hand, they like recognizing the businesses along Zenith’s main street (the library, the bank, the post office, and newspaper office) as those they pass when they drive through Climax.

Although I moved away from Climax back in 2001, I still have relatives who live in the area.  I still drive by the farms and see the crows in the trees, cawing at me the moment I step out of the car. I used my mother-in-law’s house as the house where P.J. now lives, which makes it easy to remember where the rooms are, its creaks and groans. (I will admit I added a bit more to her house, but my brother-in-law also removed a wall when I wasn’t looking, so I guess we’re even.)

I miss living in Climax. Those years were great ones. So whenever I visit Zenith, I feel as though I’m going home.

And this is the climax of the AtoZChallenge A-to-Z Blogging Challenge

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4 Responses to Z is for Zenith

  1. Paula says:

    I knew you were up to the challenge, Maris. Great job with the A-Z blogging session.
    Your posts were educational, entertaining and thought-provoking.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thank you, Paula. It was a challenge, especially with some of the letters, but it was also fun and I did visit others who were in the AtoZ Challenge and discovered some wonderful blogs.

  2. I love the name of your literary town. The town of your mystery stories. Well, done. I invent towns in my stories too, but haven’t developed one of them as much as you have.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thank you, Mary. Coming up with a fictional name isn’t easy. Often I think of one I’m sure would be perfect, only to discover there actually is a town (or village) with that name.