Multi-published, multi-talented author Phoebe Conn is back on the blog with us today, guest blogging about her latest books. Phoebe has written so many wonderful novels over the course of her distinguished career, and I would urge my readers to check out her extensive backlist on her website. Right now, I’m going to turn the blog over to Phoebe, who’s going to tell us how she researches the settings for her wonderful books.
People often ask me if I travel to do research. When there’s an opportunity, I quickly pack my bags. When my husband served as an Army officer, we lived in Germany and used every day of his leave each year to tour Europe. We took photos and I made notes in a journal. The Internet is terrific for research when I can’t visit the site of a book for colorful detail. I also use travel guides with plenty of photos and essential facts to base my stories in reality.
For DEFY THE WORLD TOMATOES, a Samhain contemporary, I chose a town up the coast from Santa Barbara for the setting and named it Monarch Bay. I crisscrossed the downtown, which was filled with shops catering to tourists. I bought frozen yogurt and watched the people passing by. There is a beautiful outdoor nursery and gift shop there, and it was the inspiration for the Defy the World Tomatoes nursery my heroine and her best friend open. I used a historic mission style inn in Riverside for the inn Griffin and Darcy visit. I had a fictional town, so anything needed for the story could easily be shifted to a new location.
There is a stately Langham Hotel in Pasadena, I chose the setting for a reunion party in TANGLED HEARTS. I visited on a rainy afternoon in my trench coat carrying a clipboard. I walked around the hotel making notes on the décor and bought postcards in the gift shop. (I once heard no one questions someone with a clipboard because they appear to be working.) Favorite restaurants appear in my books. There’s no reason to invent a café when there are so many delightful ones, and it’s a perfect excuse to dine out! Takeout menus provide tasty ideas for meals and are a wonderful resource.
Setting a scene in an actual location adds to the readers’ experience. When a scene is rich in detail, the story comes alive. I toured Scandinavia to collect background for my February Samhain Retro release, CAPTIVE HEART, a passionate Viking adventure. I’ll give a free copy, print or ebook, to one of the people who comment. It’s one of my most popular books and a New York Times bestseller. I love to hear from readers. Please send me an email at:
firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my website.
Well, you heard the lady! Let’s start leaving those comments. Just tell me what country or place you dream of visiting more than any other to have a chance to win Captive Heart.