Lauren Dane Talks To Us: Locations as Characters

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.

Lauren Dane

Current Releases: Tri Mates

To be released on November 21st:
Chase Brothers book 2: Taking Chase
Witches Knot book 4: Thrice United

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.

15 Responses to “Lauren Dane Talks To Us: Locations as Characters”

  1. 1 Kim
    November 17, 2006 at 1:44 am

    I’ve been waiting for Taking Chase. The first book was so good! I don’t really have a preference for locations. As long as the story is good, it can be set anywhere and I’ll be happy. I like to hear about places I’ve been and those outside of the U.S. that I’ll probably never see.

  2. 2 Crystal B.
    November 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Lauren. I loved Triad. Great book. 🙂

  3. 3 Jennifer L
    November 17, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    New Orleans is one of my favorite book setting locations also! My other favorites are NYC and Miami. There is a feeling in those cities that is palpable!

  4. 4 Christine
    November 17, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    I love hearing about the places where books are
    situated. Especially if it’s a place I have never
    been before. It’s especially great if you are
    reading a story in about a place you have been
    before it makes teh story more real. Looking forward
    to the new releases.

  5. 5 Amy S.
    November 17, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    New Orleans, Seattle, Hawaii, and Australia.

  6. 6 Lori Y.
    November 17, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Fav locations in books — New Orleans, NYC, Seattle, London. I also like hearing about other places I haven’t been to. I’m picking up Thrice United & the Chase books next week!! Can’t wait!!

  7. November 17, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    Alright ladies, I apologize because your comments keep getting moderated and the server’s wonky so it takes me forever to moderate your comments.

    Me, I wish authors would take their characters out of the US more often. I live in Singapore, and I’m pretty widely travelled–I’ve been to Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong, Down Under etc. London, for instance, is cosmopolitan with lots of history. Seoul is growing up. The Gold Coast of Australia is a rowdy, noisy place, just like you expect a tourist attraction to be.

  8. November 17, 2006 at 5:24 pm

    May, I’d love to do that but my own travel is limited by my knowledge of the places I’ve been or can reasonable intuit if it’s just a quick thing. My new WIP is set in Prague. I love Prague and I’ve been wanting to set a story there for a while. I’ve used London (in Touch of Fae) and in two other books making the rounds in NY, I’m using Peru for a bit and also Ireland.

    Every time I go on a trip I end up seeing wonderful things I want to put in stories so I’m always taking notes. I’d love to get to Australia but my kids aren’t ready to take that plane trip yet but when my baby is old enough for me to trust being that far away, my husband and I are going to be able to travel again (with and without the kids!)

  9. 9 cathy
    November 17, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    I would think that there must be a big plus to writing stories that take place in fictional cities, like Cruise’s Tempation. No keeping track of city streets and what building goes where. No getting distracted when planning a high speed chance down a city street that only goes one way.

  10. 10 Margrete
    November 17, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    I love reading about cities I’ve never been too, and try to imagine what they’re like. Never been to USA, but I’d love to visit New Orleans someday. Favorite fiction place must be the land of the Fae from Em’s book in Witches Knot

  11. 11 Lisa T
    November 17, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    I like any type of location. US or out of country….it’s my way of travelling when I can’t afford it. The cities in the US are more believable to me as I know some day I could possibly visit them. I enjoy it when an author describes the city….it adds to the character’s background and lets me really escape into the book.

  12. 12 Christine
    November 17, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    There are so many places I would love to see based on the fact that either I have read about them in a book or seen documentaries about these places. I am a big history buff so I would love to see Eygpt, England, Italy, Israel, & South America. Just the fact the hundreds and some times thousands of years ago someone built some structure thats still here.

  13. 13 Renee Meyer
    November 17, 2006 at 8:36 pm

    I love cities that I can recognize in stories. I love New Orleans in books. The standing joke at my favorite bookstore is that if it has NO in it, I am buying that book LOL. But I love getting to know cities that I haven’t been to. Lacey Alexander has a series set in New Orleans, Las Vegas and Key West. I have never been to Vegas or Key West but I got feel for the cities in her books.

  14. 14 Ryan
    November 17, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    There are so many places that I would like to visit but for now I can only visit through books. The exotic tropical locales are what appeals to me most like Brazil, Indonesia, Thiland, and Columbia. Steamy!

  15. 15 Liz Denler
    November 18, 2006 at 8:27 am

    Cool Lauren
    I’ld love to get to travel

    You Have some awesomely hot books

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