Setting and community often play a large role in romance novels. Talk about whether the setting and community are important in your books.
Kristina: Definitely! I think of setting/community as another character. I want readers to be able to see the streets my characters are walking on, whether it's a small town or a bustling city, because when I'm reading that is what I'm looking for. Not just a richly draw hero or heroine, but a richly drawn setting that takes me to Paris in the 20s or Indiana in the next century. For me, getting the setting right is all about the detail—are the sidewalks cracked? Are people saying a friendly “hi” as they pass? Sometimes I get the setting right and sometimes it takes a pass or two before I feel it’s right. Great question, Nan! Thanks!!! ;)
Liz: Well, sigh, Kristi took my answer. Well, part of it. It's a character to me, too, with color and personality and background noise that lends music to the story. When I'm reading, I love for setting to be exciting and/or different and (sorry to be boring here) kind of educational. I want to feel as though I've been there when the book is finished. When I'm writing, however, I just want to feel at home in the setting. Great question, Nan!
Margie: Sigh, I wish I was better at it. That is my weakness. I am terrible with details--whether it's the crack in the sidewalk or the golden waves of the main character or the dimples of her love interest. That said, I do think it's vital to keeping readers invested in your fictional world. And I'll just keep plugging away and trying to EXPAND my repertoire. (Did you notice I got a nod into Liz and Nan in that last sentence?)
Nan: I’m with Liz and Kristian in thinking of setting as a secondary character in my books—especially in the Women of Willow Bay books because the village is so much a part of who the hero and heroine are or who they become by the end of the story. I’m actually fortunate enough to have two settings in my real life—our home that we’ve been in for over 30 years and our lake cottage that we bought four years ago. The lake has been an amazing blessing and has provided a lot of fodder for the characters who inhabit Willow Bay! Oh, and Margie, thanks for the nod! ;-)
So what do you other Word Wranglers out there think? Talk to us about what kind of a role setting plays in your book.