“Drayden’s almost seems like a real store. It’s not, is it?” – Marc, Topeka, KS.
The above question comes up every now and then in our mailbox, so I thought I’d address it here. I love that people who read the Timothy James Beck books can imagine finding Drayden’s in their hometown mall. You won’t, of course, because Drayden’s is a product of our collective imaginations. Though we mentioned the store in previous TJB books, Drayden’s didn’t fully come to life until SOMEONE LIKE YOU. When the idea of setting a book entirely inside a fictitious super mall was in its infancy, we decided to make Drayden’s one of the Mall of the Universe’s anchor stores. To amuse myself and my cowriters I wrote an entire history of Drayden’s. This was mainly a spoof of experiences from when I worked at Barneys New York and Nordstrom. Both stores required their employees to learn the history of each retail company’s founding families, the Pressman and Nordstrom families respectively, and both followed up with quizes that drove home certain trivia factoids that often come up in their press releases. Because I’m from Maine, and because my family is from the Midwest, I thought, I wonder what Drayden’s history is? What if I melded Barneys, Nordstrom, and L.L. Bean into one store that would cater to the midwestern farmer and his daughter? The Swedish Nordstroms inspired the Swedish Lvandssons in name and nationality only. All other likeness ends there. The Lvandssons are fictitious and hopefully bear no likeness to any Nordstrom, Pressman, or Bean family members. Barney Pressman pawned his wife’s engagement ring to fund the original Barneys store. In SLY, Bjornn Henry Lvandsson’s wife Greta pawned her loom. The L.L. Bean “Bean Boot” inspired the Lvandsson’s “Cattle Cozy” livestock blanket that started it all. Highlights from Drayden’s history were pulled for Chapter One of SLY when Derek is in training on his first day at work and meets Vienna.