Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Guest Post: YOUR SETTING - FRIEND OR FOE? by Lois D Brown

Today, I'm happy to welcome Lois D. Brown, author of ROBBED OF SOUL as my guest:

For many authors, the setting of their book is just as important as one of the main characters. The setting creates the mood, influences characters’ behavior, affects dialog, adds an emotional response,  and plays a part in the plot of a story. The setting can be a friend to the protagonist, an antagonist (think Hemingway and the sea), and even a mentor.

In my latest mystery, Robbed of Soul, the setting is both friend and foe. The book begins in solitary confinement in Tehran. (Definitely an antagonist.) Then the setting moves to Kanab, Utah, where my protagonist finds healing in her small-town surroundings (after solving both a modern-day murder and one that occurred 100 years ago.)

I set my book in Kanab because I needed an area with wonderfully rich scenery to contrast the earlier setting of solitary confinement. Kanab is also full of legends and myths, which complemented the  mystery and eeriness of my plot.

Here are a few things to think about to increase the characterization of your setting:
  • Add specific, unique details of the area (even down to using actual names and locations)
  • Mirror or contrast the mood of the plot with the setting of a chapter or scene
  • As you write, think of your setting in terms of “having a personality”    
What are some of your favorite books? Can you recall the setting in them?  Probably. That’s part of the reason they are  your favorites. So give it a try. Take a little time and think about your setting in the book you’re writing. Can you make it into another character? One that influences your protagonist for good or evil?

Do you like books? Do you like Zions National Park? Join the ROBBED OF SOUL book launch giveaway and you may win 3 nights in a vacation townhome in Kanab, Utah.
(Thirty minutes from Zions.) A $450 value! (Or a $100 Amazon gift card if preferred.) 

Rescued but psychologically damaged from a failed mission, ex-CIA officer Maria Branson takes the job of police chief in the quiet town of Kanab, Utah. Rest and relaxation are the doctor’s orders. She gets neither. Instead, a missing mayor, the spirit of a dead Aztec warrior, and the over-confident-yet-attractive head of Search and Rescue await her in a town whose past has almost as many secrets as her own. As Maria investigates a modern-day murder, she disturbs a world of ancient legends and deadly curses. Yet most lethal of all is Maria’s fear someone will discover just how empty her soul really is.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play.

Photos from some of my adventures in Kanab

A fun shot during a photo shoot for the cover.
We didn't end up using it, but just look at the background! What a settting!

Real pictographs at Moquith Mountain, one of  the
places in "Robbed of Soul."

Overlooking an amazing canyon, 20 minutes north of Kanab.

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