Okay so I’m always up to talk. I’m a talker, I love to visit with people and learn about them and hear what they’re interested in. So I was flattered and excited when May asked me to do this guest blogging gig.
At the same time I thought, “What the hell do I know about writing?” I mean, I do it and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to sell what I write, but I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.
So instead of writing about Deep POV or something technical, I thought I’d write about something I love – cities as characters in books and why I think the choice of your setting can add wonderful layers to any story.
In April of 2003 I was in New Orleans to see Pearl Jam. It was there that the idea for Triad came to me. New Orleans is a magical city. Music in the air, magic, great food, wonderful people – it’s festive and colorful and jam packed with history and really great story fodder.
In my Witches Knot series, New Orleans is more than just the setting, it’s another character. When Em is walking through Pirate’s Alley in the rain in the beginning of A Touch of Fae, I always see it so vividly in my head, the colorful doors against the dark gray of the cobblestones at her feet. Not everyone has been there of course, but at the same time, it adds something, a layer of authenticity, a point of reference, a place a reader who’s been there or has seen it can add to her understanding and it creates a connection point.
To use another book and a fictional town, Temptation in Jenny Crusie’s wonderful, Welcome to Temptation is a great example. Temptation is drawn so wonderfully, with such a quirky hand, it’s as important as Phin or Sophie in its own way. We’ve got this place that could be any small town in just about any part of the country. Crusie gives us an understanding, small town life, small town mores, small town politics and she wields it well. Temptation and her phallic water tower and her grand city hall tells the readers something about not just the geography but the people who live there.
There are places that convey this because they’re part of our cultural reference book. Washington DC, Seattle, Boston, New Orleans, Prague, Paris – all stand out for me and when I read books placed in these cities, I automatically have a place to rest my story as I read. The setting in and of itself, creates a reference without even having to write it.
So there you go. My totally non-scholarly guest blog about my little fetish for cities as characters. I’d love to hear your favorite locations in books.
And….because Lauren’s so fab and generous, she’s doing a giveaway! Comment in this post, and win a download of any one of her books, including Taking Chase and Thrice United! The lucky winner will have a difficult choice to make indeed.