Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Location, Location, Location

It's funny when you have a trip that gets into your blood. Every year at this time I started smelling, sensing, tasting Europe. I went there in 2007 with my sister-in-law and backpacked for three weeks. It was everything you dream of. The Austrian pastries, the thick smell of Venice canals, the dark gloom of Dachau, and the chaotic spirt of the Colloseum. Today I'm longing to return to Innsbruck. It's the mountain town of my heart. Nestled in the Austrian Alps. Mmmm. Their coffee? To die for. The streets? Old. Worn. Travelled by hundreds of people centuries before I ever did. It's wealthy in history, culture, and the fine balance between city and wilderness.

Location is truly everything. Ever have that vacation to a place you never want to return? I have. Think Arkansas, cockroaches, and a moth eaten sheet at a hotel. Sigh. Never going back there. But a great scene for a crime novel!

What is it about a location that makes a NOVEL intrigue us? When I met with an editor a few years ago one of her big questions was ... location? I discover, believe it or not, overseas locations for novels are not high in demand -- too unrelatable. Montana, Texas, California...common in historicals and been done, but still doing. East coast? Common in Revolutionary War novels. Maine or Nantucket sneaks into Contemporaries. Midwest? Somewhat boring. Sorry.

So I've been keeping track of locations in the novels I've been reading. Trying to find the uniquest settings for a book.

Here's my top five:
  1. Appalachian Mountains -- as seen in CHRISTY AWARD WINNER Joanne Bischof's book "Be Still My Heart"
  2. Boston -- as seen in Elizabeth Camden's book "Against the Tide"
  3. Michigan -- as seen in Jody Hedlund's book "Unending Devotion"
  4. Alaska - as seen in Dani Pettrey's book "Shattered"
  5. Illinois - as seen in Krista Phillips book "Sandwich, with a Side of Romance
I think they're my top five simply because you don't see those locations frequently in a novel. I loved the way the authors immersed the reader in those locations. So critical to a good book, don't you think?

So as I sit and reminisce about my European wanderings and wish for the hot espresso at the cafe just off the beaten path ... I want to know, what are some of YOUR favorite locations that gripped you in a novel you read?

11 comments:

  1. Loved this Jaime! I've enjoyed the New England settings I've read recently. Laura Frantz's books are also in the Appalachian Mountain region/midwest.

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  2. Setting is important, but as a reader it isn't nearly as important as the actual story. I loved Krista's book.

    I enjoy the Appalachians as well. I also enjoyed a book set in Ireland! And anywhere in New England

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    1. Ireland is SO on my bucket list!

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    2. Ireland books ... YES! I've only read one but it was really good. Of course I read it so long ago now I can't remember what it was called! :/

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  3. I love reading about new place through books! I love any setting. My books will be on the Lake Michigan shore though, because that is what I am familiar with.

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    1. I can smell the sun on the sand. What great memories!

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  4. As a teen, I read all of Essie Summers's books set in New Zealand. I really want to visit the Southern Alps.

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    1. Alps, mmmmm. I also pick Tuscany. Hope to see it some day. Until then I watch Under a Tuscan Sun.

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    2. Essie Summers? I've never heard of those. I loved the Alps! They were GORGEOUS!!!

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