Sunday, March 23, 2014

Settings in Stories


Congratulations to "Emily B.", the winner in Ashlee's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Since I was ten years old and first immersed myself in the beautiful land of Prince Edward Island, courtesy of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, I have been a sucker for stories set in unusual places. Later, when my taste expanded into romantic suspense and mystery, I found a treasure trove when I stumbled upon my mom’s copy of Pride of the Peacock from Victoria Holt. I was hooked—which was easy to do when Ms. Holt had the natural ability to draw her audience in to experience the many places her characters ventured.  Whether it was to the cliffs of Cornwall, the German countryside where legends of magic and love came alive, or as far as such exotic locations as Egypt or India, the reader got a sense of each place from the story’s descriptions. 

That’s one of the wonderful things about books, getting glimpses of the cultures and traditions that you otherwise would never experience. Would Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series be the same if we didn’t get a taste of Jersey? Would Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books be what they are if they’d been set in, say, Seattle, versus the small, albeit, fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana? It would have been a whole different experience to say the least.

When I started writing my debut book, YOU AGAIN, I knew I wanted to keep the setting in my home state of Utah, to give readers a little taste of the cultural quirks that are inherent here. I didn’t wax poetic about the variety of flowers that might be in the heroine’s garden, or the long and colorful history of the state’s first pioneers, but I hope threaded throughout the book are glimpses of what living here might be like…a sense of place. Not every story I’ve written or plan to write will be set in my home town, but I hope that each story I do tell will give readers a little sense of the people and the traditions unique to each setting.  

Giveaway:
How about you? What book stands out in your mind for its unusual setting? Tell me in the comment section for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. 

Ashlee Mallory lives with her husband, two kids, a dog, and cat surrounded by the majestic mountains of her hometown in the greater Salt Lake City area. When she's not writing the boring legal stuff for her day job, she gets to immerse herself in writing stories about love, life, and the occasional murder.

Available At:

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST March 24th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustRomanticSuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 



33 comments:

  1. I love traveling to different places between the pages of books... through the author's words and the character's eyes I have been to exotic locales, foreign countries, imaginary worlds, etc. I love the description of Ireland in Nora Robert's books.
    Congrats on your book!

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  2. Hi Colleen!
    I know I have Ireland and Scotland (Outlander anyone?) on my own list of must see locations thanks to the stories I've read as well. Thank you for stopping by!

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  3. a jungle

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. A jungle is awesome but for the life of me the only book I can think of is Greystoke the Legend of Tarzan. I'm curious. If you come back, you should share the title!

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  4. I have read a couple of books set in Alaska. Never thought like coats could be sexy. I really like like reading books in different locations. I never get to travel, so reading takes me everywhere. Thanks for the chance to win. Trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

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    1. I just read an old Evanovich set there but it was kind of more slapstick than authentic Alaska, I imagine. It you love Alaska settings, Tiffany Helmer also writes a whole series set there! They're amazing.

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  5. I have not read a book based in an unusual place before, but I would like to because I love to read about other places. Congratulations on your book, it sounds amazing.

    emilybaucom@yahoo.com

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  6. I'm re-reading some Agatha Christie right now. I love her books set in Egypt like DEATH ON THE NILE.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Okay, maybe I shouldn't be admitting this, but I haven't read Agatha Christie...yet. I am adding her to my pile because what kind of suspense/mystery writer would I be if I didn't read any from such a renowned author?!

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  7. I read a story recently that was set on a private island in Greece. It was a standout since so many of the books I read have US settings.

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

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    1. I really should have fixed my question to make you all include the title! Love recommendations. Thank you, Jonetta!

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  8. Hi Ashlee,
    The exotic settings in Game of Thrones impressed me.
    Jan

    janet_kerr@msn.com

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    1. Another series I haven't read, but now that I know how everybody DIES, I will probably not read it. I'm a wuss. ;)

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  9. Early books that caught my sense of adventure were the book Hawaii and Mrs Mike which was set in Alaska...it is fun to learn about different areas from books. It seems like I have been reading a lot of West Coast books lately, San Fran and Washington State...would love to win!

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    1. Okay, I didn't read that one but I did see the movie long ago with Julie Andrews? I must have been really young because the only thing I really remember is seeing lots of naked breasts and I was totally...shocked, LOL. I'll have to look up Mrs. Mike...is that the title?

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  10. I just finished up a story that was set on a cruise ship traveling to Mexico. It was set at different locations between Texas and Mexico, plus time at sea, which made it all very interesting when crime and murder occurred!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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    1. Love me a good mystery! Don't know that one either and now I'm really feeling like I haven't ready much of anything, LOL! Thanks for the comment!

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  11. I like all types of settings. It is a pleasure to visit different places in every book. I recently have been reading the Dare Island series by Virginia Kantra set in North Carolina.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation. I just checked them out and now you've added to my monstrous reading pile! Thanks for commenting!

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  12. LOL! I grew up loving Anne and Prince Edwards Island too! I actually don't have a fav setting. I go where the author takes me and I trust that they know the location they picked :) Congrats on the new release and thanks for sharing!
    efender1(at)gmail

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    1. Thank you, Erin! Good to find a kindred spirit... ;)

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  13. Florence as described by the great Thomas Harris in his book Hannibal. Dude has game! (Thomas Harris, not Hannibal Lecter. Though he's a pretty classy guy, aside from the whole face-eating thing. ;)

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    1. Still laughing! The movie traumatized me enough--not sure if I could handle the book.

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  14. I know it's not unusual, but I love finding a book that is set in my home state of Washington. It is interesting to compare the author's interpretation to what I know to be true.

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  15. That totally counts because I'm the same way! Love to read about places I've lived to see if there's anything I recognize. Admittedly, the choices w/ SLC are a lot more sparse but in school when I read This Boy's Life, I was excited to see Utah make an appearance.

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  16. The only book I can think of that stands out because of it's unusual setting is Poughkeepsie. I'm reading it now :). Thanks for the giveaway! FeralKittenGrrl@gmail.com

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    1. I hadn't heard that title before but just took a look on Amazon. It sounds intriguing! I'll have to try it. Thanks for the comment!

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  17. Well there are many but the book that got me hooked on reading was flowers in the atic and of course was in a atic!
    Badboatygirl@gmail.com

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    1. That one is a great example of a book to movie gone wrong. The one with Kristy Swanson? Talk about lame ending. The payback in the book was infinitely better. :)

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  18. I enjoy all types of settings, but the most unique was in The Killing Game by Toni Anderson . . . and involved protecting endangered snow leopards in a remote region of Afghanistan (romantic suspense). Very awesome book!!

    You are a new author for me (love how JRS introduces me to new-to-me-authors!) and I look forward to reading your books!

    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity!! Stay warm! (Snowing and cold here in northern Minnesota today.)

    ~Kimberly Perry
    k_kperry@yahoo.com

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    1. Afghanistan? That is very unique and throw in suspense it makes it sound even better!
      The weather here has been strangely mild this year compared to the rest of the country but I'll be in Madison and Chicago this weekend so I am sure to be freezing.
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Kimberly!

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  19. I'vwe been reading Evangeline Anderson's Brides of the Kindred series - locations are on other planets.

    Congratulations on YOU AGAIN!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot con

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