How important is setting to you in a novel? As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed books set in different parts of the world. I’ve probably learned more from novels than I have from geography or history lessons!
I love to travel, and visiting places I’ve read about in books is one of my favorite things to do. Visiting new places also inspires my own writing—and helps me get the details of the setting right. How lucky we writers are to be able to travel and count it as research!
|What kind of hero or heroine would live in a house in this amazing setting? Mendocino, California.|
I just returned from a trip to California, that turned into a fact-finding mission for my stories. We started off in Anaheim for the Romance Writers of America national convention, which was as fabulous as always.
|An artistic water stop outside the Mountainsong Galleries in dog-friendly Carmel-By-The-Sea. I like writing dogs in my stories--could this inspire a scene?|
Then we set off on the road trip. We visited Santa Barbara (what a beautiful town!); the quaint Danish village of Solvang; charming Cambria; Carmel (my third visit); then drove north to visit friends in Shasta County via San Francisco.
|The car he or she drives can help define a character. I love this one parked at Carmel-By-The-Sea.|
We drove on the coast-hugging Highway 1 to make the most of the awe-inspiring scenery (when it wasn’t shrouded in fog, that is!) Point Reyes, Elk, and Mendocino were highlights.
|This was the view from our room at the Greenwood Pier Inn at Elk, California. I'm sure I'm not the first writer to be inspired by this delightful place with its magnificent views and beautiful gardens.|
It always amazes me the things can catch the writerly imagination—from the house a character might live in, to the work they do, to the pets they might have, or quirky details that can add life to a story.
|This pony grazing in a field of daisies in the Fall River Valley, California, might be just the horsey character I need for one of my stories.|
On this trip, I found just what I needed for the story I am currently writing—but I won’t jinx myself by telling you about it just yet. I also found a whole lot of inspiration for new characters and new stories.
|This tells me the person who set this scene near their front door has a warm and welcoming heart - the kind of heroine I want to write.|
We finished up in the beautiful Fall River Valley to stay with our friends who farm wild rice. They also produce a delicious chocolate bar made with puffed wild rice and Belgian chocolate. The crunch and flavor the wild rice adds to the chocolate truly is a taste sensation.
|Wild rice growing in the Fall River Valley, CA. I love wild rice whichever way it's cooked but its particularly toothsome added to chocolate!|
Is there a setting you particularly like in a book, movie or TV show? Or one you don’t like? Have you visited a place you’ll never forget? I'd love to hear from you!
|My friends produce this chocolate from the wild rice grown in their valley. I'm hoarding my bar, but I don't know how much long I can hold out until I eat it!|
Please leave a comment to be in the draw to win one of three bars of Fall River Wild Rice Dark Belgian Chocolate that retail for $4.50 each. I'm sorry, but this prize can only be sent to addresses in the USA. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment.
Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. She is the author of The Castaway Bride (set on a tropical island in the Pacific); Something About Joe, (set on the harbor in Sydney, Australia); Love is a Four-Legged Word and Home Is Where the Bark Is (both set in San Francisco.)
Visit Kandy at her website