Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do You Have a Favorite Setting? - C J Carmichael

When you pick up a novel, do you care about the setting, or only the characters and their situation? For me, setting is rarely a primary consideration--usually I’m just after a great story. But occasionally a book’s setting will influence my decision to read it. For instance, I love English murder mysteries, and a large part of my enjoyment of these books comes from the setting and particular idiosyncrasies of this place and genre.

When I’m writing a book, I always try to select a setting that is particularly suited to my characters and the story I want to tell. My earlier books were generally set in locations that I know well... Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Small-town Saskatchewan...I’ve lived in all these places (which are all in Canada, if you hadn’t guessed!) and felt I could write about them with authenticity.

As I grew more experienced, I began to write about places that I had only visited. I bought maps, surfed the web, planned research trips...and in this way I was able to write stories in such diverse locations as Seattle, San Francisco, New Mexico, and New England. I fell in love with these locations, just as I fell in love with the characters I created who lived there.

When I decided I wanted to write a trilogy about a detective agency, I felt instinctively that New York City was going to be the right location for these stories. I have visited NYC several times and am one of those people who think It is the most amazing city in the world. (in fact, I have this fantasy where I rent an apartment and go to live there for a few months...but that’s a subject for another blog!)

In my mind, I could picture the Fox & Fisher Detective Agency in a brownstone in the Upper West Side, not that far from the Museum of Natural History. I couldn’t have been more pleased when I saw the covers the artists at Harlequin created for this series. To me, they capture the setting of these stories perfectly.

Still, now it’s time for me to work on the next story and so I find myself thinking about new settings. Where shall my next story take place? A small town in the mid-west, New England or along the sea shore? A big city like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles? A ranch in Montana or Texas? Or maybe a farm in Minnesota or North Dakota? If you have a favorite setting to read about, please share! I’m so curious...

C J Carmichael


Estella said...

I like small town, western state settings.

Patti said...

I don't have a favorite setting, but if I look at the back blurb and see part of the story takes place on a boat, I'll put it back on the shelf every time. I don't know why.

denise said...

I like stories that take place in Hawaii.

C. J. said...

Patti, that's too funny that you don't like boat settings. But you know, I don't think I would be drawn to that either. Maybe because I get seasick really easily!

Estella, do you have a favorite book or series with a small town, western state setting?

And Denise, have you read Jane Porter...she has several books set in Hawaii...with gorgeous surfer dudes and all!

Pat Cochran said...

As a native Texan, I love settings
based in this state. But I'm not totally tied to Texas, I also like
book settings in places I've never

Pat Cochran

Mary said...

I like ranches in places like texas and Montana. Or castles in Scotland.

C. J. said...

Hi Pat and Mary! Thanks for weighing in on the subject. There certainly seems to be something special about Texas. A lot of authors seem to use that setting. One day soon I hope to visit!

denise said...

I have read all Jane Porter's books. She is one of my favorite authors!

C. J. said...

Denise, Jane Porter is one of my all time favorites, too! As a writer and a great friend!

Linda Henderson said...

I like all kinds of settings. I like warm climate settings right now because I'm tired of winter.