Location is supposed to be the most important thing in real estate, at least that’s what the old joke says. In writing, location, as in setting, is also very important. Why?
Because a location can tell you something about the characters. In The Key to Kristina, my novel in Forutune’s Favor: The Treasure, the heroine is from a sparsely-populated West Texas county.
In her words, she lives in a “crappy house trailer she called home in a dry, windy West Texas county.” Later, the reader learns, “Through the deserted highways of West Texas, she’d driven eighty until she reached a more populated area.”
Farther on, she says, “Yes, I know about video monitoring, but we don’t have to worry about Big Brother watching our every move in the wide open spaces where the buffalo once roamed.”
In truth, the lack of people, the wide open spaces, the crappy house trailer, and other details build a picture of a lonely woman of limited means.
Many West Texas counties are sparsely populated. I’ve driven through a lot of them and knew I wanted to set a book in one because the people are always friendly, the sunsets are amazing, and the monochromatic landscape can be either discouraging or beautiful depending on one’s mood.
From arid West Texas, I moved to Last Chance Beach for my next story, Hot August Night. This romance short story and the 13 others are set at a fictional resort island called Last Chance Beach.
I wrote the Legend of Last Chance Beach and included it in the box set. Then all of us created the details about the island paradise like the names of hotels, beach houses, restaurants, gift shops, and all the other businesses you’d find at an island resort. Creating the bible or the Master Plan of this community was a lot of fun.
When I created the concept of Last Chance Beach: Summer’s End, I thought of all the beaches I’ve loved: the one bordered by coral boulders below my house overlooking the East China Sea, the one in Italy on the Adriatic Sea, the one at a Mexican resort on the Pacific, and Galveston beach, the one nearest my home.
I took the atomosphere, the details, the landscape of trees, shrubs, and flowers, the character of the oceans—in other words all of the sensory details that make readers “identify” with the location even though this island resort is a figment of the imagination.
If you’re still “staying home” and wish you could travel, then do it the safe and easy way. Read a book! In The Key to Kristina, in Forutune’s Favor: The Treasure, the heroine starts out in West Texas, goes to Houston, then to Michigan, Memphis, a small town in Louisiana, and back to Houston.
Then, chasing a different kind of treasure, they head out to West Texas to a completely different area than where she started. That road trip is a lot of traveling!
Or pack your virtual suitcase and head to Last Chance Beach for Summer’s End! Maybe you’ll run into celebrity chef Zander Rojas, a former Navy S.E.A.L. and his nemesis, Chelsea Elliot, a Houston police detective who find a Hot August Night can change everything.
By the way, both of these box sets are priced at only 99¢, a bargain in anyone’s book. They’re both in Kindle Unlimited so if you’re a subscriber, you can “read free.”
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Joan Reeves—Keeping Romance Alive…One Sexy Book at a Time—is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. From Romantic Comedy to Romantic Thriller, all of her books have the same premise: “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.” Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They divide their time between a book-cluttered home in Houston and a quiet house in the Texas Hill Country where they sit on the porch, stare at the big night sky, and listen to the coyotes howl. Sign up for Joan’s Mailing List and be the first to know about new books and giveaways.