Monday, April 29, 2019

A Personal Tour Guide

Q: When it comes to creating a sense of place in your work, how do you do it? (Research and real places? Invention and fictional ones?) What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t?

-from Susan

The places that resonate most for me are the ones I can create most successfully. They're places I love, have explored, can see, taste, smell, hear. I may fictionalize them but they're not made up and don't rely on Google Earth or tourist brochures to live in my head. 

My characters demand the right worlds in which to move and carry out their roles. So, if my characters are to come alive, so must the places they carry out my (and their) plans.

San Francisco - for decades I have lived in or close to the city
Palace of the Legion of Honor museum, near where Dani is stalked in MURDER IN THE ABSTRACT


Santa Fe - one of my favorite places and one I have stayed in in each of the four seasons
Governors Square, where Native American artisans sell their work in MURDER IN THE ABSTRACT

Manhattan (we New Yorkers differentiate among the five boroughs) - my hometown and a constant shot of adrenalin for me and my creations
The Metropolitan Club in Manhattan  where Dani manages a black tie dinner in THE KING'S JAR


New England - spent a lot of time there, but also my novel set there (Mixed Up with Murder) is on a college campus and I spent a couple of decades working in higher education
WELLESLEY COLLEGE, which is not the site of MIXED UP WITH MURDER
 since I created an imaginary college


Burgundy - the small, pastoral towns became home for some friends, and I spent delightful times with them there
The municipal center (le mairie) in the town of Avallon, where much of DRESSED FOR DEATH  takes place


What's more problematic but not fatal is going back in time. Sure, I've spent time on Long Island but I wasn't there in December 1941. That's the challenge I'm facing right now in writing my first historical, and that's where research plays a big role. I'm having to resist the lovely rabbit hole of research and more research and more research, all of it fascinating but, uh, Susan, you do want to write this thing, don't you?



1 comment:

Myra Jolivet said...

Thank you for the journey, Susan!