5 Fun Facts

  • Yes, Virginia, there really is a Creston, Iowa. It’s the seat of Union County and had a population of 7,834 in the 2010 Census. Famous folks who hailed from Creston include Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips Petroleum (who once owned all three barber shops operating in town at the time), and actress Marcia Wallace, who was the voice of Bart Simpson’s teacher Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons.”
  • Brownie, the Tupper’s family dog, was named after the dog Powell’s father had as a boy in the 1940’s.
  • Talk about flip-flopping: in the first version of the story written in 2006, Senator Phil Granby was originally a Democrat. (Invite Powell to talk to your book club about this story, and he’ll explain why Granby’s character changed parties.)
  • Powell borrowed Glenn Tupper’s line, “Republicans say ‘I’ve got mine; what’s your problem?’ while Democrats say, ‘You’ve got yours: gimme half of it’” from his generous father-in-law Ralph Hill, of Venice, Florida, who has said it for many years.
  • The dog in the TV studio incident described in Chapter Five actually happened. Powell was about to appear on a local TV morning show in 2005 when a dog walked up him. It was too strange to not use in the novel, so art wound up imitating life in that scene.