We’re happy to welcome Trish Milburn to the RU campus today! Trish will discuss how setting plays an important role in a story.
No matter what type of book I’m writing, be it young adult or romantic suspense or paranormal, I like to make setting a living, breathing part of my books, a character in and of itself.
I tend to write about places that really interest me, ones that have captured my imagination in some way. For Elly: Cowgirl Bride, which was part of a six-book, multi-author, connected series for Harlequin American, it was rural Wyoming, ranch country. I loved bringing in the things I’d seen and experienced when I visited that area a few years ago. There are the soaring mountains, the long miles of emptiness, and the classic western tourist town of Cody with its western décor shops and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
For Winter Longing, one of two young adult titles I did for Razorbill, it was more of a challenge since it was set in Alaska and I’d never been there. But that’s what research is for, and with things like blogs by people who live there, GoogleEarth, and a friend who’d lived in the area (and whose brain I could pick), it was fun to create a fictional town set in the midst of a real area.
I have long been fascinated by Alaska, and as a reader myself I love books set there. One of my favorite mystery series is the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow. I’ve probably learned as much about life in Alaska from these books as I have any other source.
My other published novels are all set in places I’ve been – the Gulf Coast of Florida, the mountains of Northeast Tennessee and Colorado. The trilogy I had out from Harlequin American earlier this year, the Teagues of Texas, is set in the Hill Country of Texas. It was fun to create my own town that took its inspiration from several towns in the Hill Country, Fredericksburg, Gruene and Marble Falls among them.
I also had three YA books released by Belle Books this year, and again I’ve drawn on actual places I’ve visited. The first takes place in the mountains of Eastern North Carolina, and books two and three are set in Salem, Massachusetts. For that last setting, I had to take a research trip in July of last year. I spent a day roaming around Salem, taking photos, visiting museums and shops, and soaking up the atmosphere.
I think the books are better for that first-hand experience.
Now, I’m curious. Does a book’s setting matter to you? What are some examples of ones that have really come alive for you?
In Bane, Jax did the unthinkable and killed a supernatural hunter to protect her friends. She found herself lost in darkness and prisoner to the Bane, a secret society of witches sworn to prevent the use of the dark magic.
Now, in Magick, the powers of Jax and her friend Egan have been magically bound by the Bane. She must convince the Bane she can learn to control her power and become a White Witch in truth. She’s their only hope now that the dark covens have called a Conclave with one purpose–to kill this generation’s White Witch and anyone who has ever stood with her. If Jax can’t amass an army of her own, rebuild the trust of her friends and boyfriend, and find the White Witch’s elusive weapon against the dark, it may be too late.
We hope you’ll join us on Monday, October 29th when Jamie Michele presents 12 Steps to a Heart-Wrenching Romance.
Bio: Trish Milburn writes for Harlequin American Romance, Harlequin Nocturne, and Belle Bridge Books and self-publishes some of her other titles. She’s a two-time Golden Heart award winner, fan of walks in the woods and road trips, and is a big geek girl, including being a dedicated Whovian and Browncoat. Fans of Doctor Who and Firefly will know what those mean. 🙂
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