It's impossible to pick one day, one sight, one town, one mountain as the one that truly stood out for me, but Skagway is near the top. I was raised in California's gold country so maybe that's why Skagway, the jumping off point to the Klondike, spoke so intimately to me. I loved the museum with its wall-sized picture of an endless line of would-be miners trudging up the mountain carrying everything they believed they'd need for survival and eventual wealth. Sadly, most of them wound up broke but at the time of the climb they had hopes, high hopes.
These days Skagway mostly depends on the tourist dollar. Summer in Alaska is a frantic scramble to keep the roads operating and I was drawn to the rugged men and women (a number of Eskimo women) running the machinery. When I decided on Skagway as the setting for my contemporary romance, I had no doubt that my hero and heroine would be involved with road construction. Of course my hero was the contractor (rugged man, rugged occupation) while my heroine knew everything there was to know about operating heavy machinery.
To complicate things because romances always need complications, I decided that my heroine's father had his own construction company and he was being accused of shoddy work that resulted in a building collapse that nearly killed the hero. My hero believes the heroine's father is guilty. My heroine is determined to salvage her father's name.
Bring on the plot. Bring on physical and emotional attraction between two strong-minded people. Bring on an isolated but wonderful small town that's weaving a spell around my characters.
The only thing that's missing is me being able to return to Skagway Alaska which I'd do in a heartbeat. At least writing Midnight Sun made it possible for me to live there in my mind.