Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Where do you like to do it?
I have a question, but you’ll have to read down a ways to reach it. If I weren’t long-winded, all of my novels would be memos.
I love to read and write about specific places. To me, setting–when done correctly–is a major story element. I’ve written two historical romances for Echelon Press set in Louisiana that couldn’t have been set anywhere else (Just Kiss Me and Bayou Rhapsody). Something about living with the humidity, mosquitoes, and marsh gives people a different sense of humor. Ah, wait…perhaps it’s the effect setting has on characters that makes it interesting, or maybe it’s the kind of characters you find in certain places that does it. In Carve in Stone, the fact that Lizabeth grew up in the South defines her every move, and makes Jeremy initially despise her. Of course, he finally comes around, if you'll pardon the pun.
Another aspect of writing on the Gulf Coast is the hurricanes. Having lived through a few, I can't help but write about them. The fear and excitement tends to draw people together.
I’m currently reading the first Guido Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon, and enjoying the descriptions of Venice. But it’s more than just description. The author inserts the flavor of Venice into her writing. Without Venetian society and government, Guido’s life would be too easy and probably boring. Instead, we share his frustrations and revel in his joys. And speaking of Louisiana (we were, remember?), if you haven’t read any of James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux books, you’re missing the most amazingly accurate portrayal of southeast Louisiana ever written. He even gets the dialect right, him. (Sorry– that’s my Cajun heritage sneaking out.)
I promised a question, and I have one (or two). Do you have a favorite setting? Or do you like variety when you read? Are you sold on small town life with all its ups and downs, or is it the big city for you? Is there one setting you’d love to read about that you never have? I’d appreciate your feedback. I don’t know where my next book will be set. Well, except that one story will be on another planet–I’ve never done that before. I’m hoping someone will give me a new place to consider so I can start planning a vacation.
Happy reading to you all! I hope your summer is off to an extraordinarily spicy start.