Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Romance Weekly: Setting the Stage

Do you like to read romance novels? Wouldn't you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the writers of Romance Weekly as we go behind the scenes of our books and tell all..... About our writing of course! Every week we'll answer questions and after you've enjoyed the blog on this site we'll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask us questions in the comment box.

If you found me by way of Victoria Barbour http://victoriabarbour.com/blog, welcome! I hope you enjoy your stay.

This week's question comes from Brenda Margriet. She asked . . .
How do you choose the setting for your book? 
Does where you live inspire you? 
This can apply even to books set in paranormal worlds - what do you use from "real life"?

People always say, "write what you know", but all I've ever known is life in one sunny SoCal town. You could safely say that my life experiences have been very limited. I don't live on the crime ridden streets of a big city (although I'm fairly sure that was a gunshot blast I just heard) and I've never ridden a subway anywhere, let alone to work. And a big city like Los Angeles is a place I avoid going to at all costs. I hate sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.

Likewise, no one here owns a farm or a ranch and 4H wasn't a club in high school that I could join. I've never experienced a hurricane or a tornado (I barely even feel the earthquakes anymore) and we've never had enough snow to build a decent snowman, let alone to shovel. And the death blow? I've never lived abroad for a semester!

Despite my lack of experience, my hometown does manage to seep into my settings in one way or another. The school where I work is what inspired the plot of my current WIP, and various aspects of my town can be seen in Redemption For Liars. Our century-old town boasts a population of 39,000, but still clings to the small town feeling it had when I was growing up. There's that one diner or beauty shop where everyone knows everyone (and is all up in your business), your teacher probably taught your parents or went to school with them, and when you get right down to it, most of the townsfolk are related to one another in a roundabout way. It's just a fact of life when you live in a small town.

But for those times when a small town isn't right for the storyline, I'm forced to rely on my imagination to develop the setting and I live vicariously through my family, friends, and RWW peeps.   But sometimes, even that fails to help me. For example, for Assassin P.I., I really wanted a dark and gritty locale, something that would allow for the pervasive corruption that my hero is trying to fight against (similar to the Bell City Corruption Scandal that hit a couple years ago). Ellington Bay in the wintertime has the right feeling to complement the noir tone that I'm trying to set. That's where Pinterest comes in. I can search for the perfect photograph to help inspire me. Below, you can check out my Pinterest board of settings for all the future stories I hope to someday write.

So yes, real life inspires my settings, but I also draw from visual images and pick my friends' brains when the need arises. Next up on the blog hop? Beth Carter http://banterwithbeth.blogspot.com. I'm dying to see how she develops her settings. Maybe I can pick up so new tricks!

Come back Thursday when Claire Gem is here to reveal the cover of her new release, Phantom Traces. See y'all in a few days!


  1. Pinterest in an invaluable tool for writers, I agree! And I love novel with a noir tone. :)

    1. I'm a bit addicted to Pinterest, but just recently started using it as my inspiration board. So far, I really enjoy it.

  2. Love the idea of using Pinterest as research. I just Google for research ideas but that's a great idea. I'll have to follow your boards. I'm not that savvy at Pinterest but I'm on that (rarely). In SoCal, you do have the beaches, right? And gorgeous weather and palm trees which we don't have in the Midwest.

    1. We do have beaches and charm of Palm Springs. SoCal has a lot going for it, but if I ever wind up writing a story set in the Midwest, I'll have to pick your brain for accurate details.

  3. That was funny, and thank you for sharing your process and that beautiful Pinterest board!

  4. I love, love. love Pinterest! I have to be careful not to spend entire days in there casting my characters and scouting locations, lol. I'm a city girl, though I've lived in just about every kind of town. Are you coming to RWA in NYC? I know it might seem daunting, but we'll be there to buffer you from the crazy. =)