I’ve completely run out of ideas for a blog topic this month, so I thought I’d talk about researching settings. My stories for Harlequin American Romance are set in small town Colorado. Now, I don’t know about you, but I just can’t bring myself to set a book somewhere I’ve never actually been, nor that I’m on pretty familiar terms with.
I think it adds authenticity if you can bring the setting alive with sights, sounds and smells thereby capturing the atmosphere of a place. I have no idea how anyone does that without having been where their books are set.
Take it from me, you’ll never read a sheik book by CC Coburn because I have absolutely no interest in travelling to Saudi Arabia et al. Been there (sorta general region) done that, aint goin’ back!
I live part of the year in a small town nestled in the Colorado Rockies and get so much inspiration from this setting that it becomes an integral part of my books—a character, if you will. But I add layers to this setting by interviewing locals who work in the occupations of my characters.
At first, I was a little anxious about approaching people to interview them, half-thinking they’d discount me, as we see so often in the press, as just another hack writer of trashy books.
But the reaction has been quite the opposite. I’ve interviewed a County Court judge, been taken on a tour of the County Jail, interviewed the Sheriff and the commander of our town Fire Department (plus got to check out his firefighters and their quarters!) a veterinarian and a local rancher who all gave up hours of their time to answer my nosy questions. I’ve also interviewed rescue personnel and the head of the local ski patrol.
Each has been so generous in their assistance and supportive of my efforts to bring authenticity to the setting and the occupations of my characters and I’m very grateful for that. I reward their time and patience with a signed copy of the book they’ve so kindly helped me with, and although I’m not sure if they ever get around to reading them, I’m pretty sure they’re chuffed to see their names in the acknowledgement pages.
In a couple of weeks I’m heading back to beautiful Colorado with complimentary signed copies of my latest release, “The Sheriff and the Baby” to give to these wonderful locals.
Now if only I could find a hot ex-priest to interview…
I’m giving away a copy of “The Sheriff and the Baby” to celebrate its release this week. I’d like to know from readers if setting is important to them. And if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Until next month!