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Monday, May 18, 2015

Kat Martin is on with tips and treats

 Welcome, Kat Martin. A multi-published, bestselling author. today she shares with us some tidbits about choosing a setting for your story.

Choosing the Right Setting.
(Or does it choose you?)

At the end of May, AGAINST THE TIDE, the twelfth novel in my AGAINST series is being released.  This is the last of three books about the rugged Brodie brothers of Alaska. 
Being plot-oriented, I usually work through a story in my head then figure out the best place for the story to take place.  Sometimes, as happened with the Alaska Trilogy, AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE, the setting was an essential part of the stories before they were even conceived. 
The concept for the trilogy began with a month-long trip my husband and I took to Alaska--a place that has fascinated me since childhood.  Even before we set out, I knew I wanted to write an Alaskan trilogy, but had no story concepts until we set out on the five thousand mile journey north. 
It was my second long trip, both of which involved traveling cross-country, staying in a tiny pickup camper.  Every day and night spent out in the open filled my head with story ideas.  By the time we got home, I had rough outlines for three high-action romantic suspense novels about the rugged Brodie brothers, Dylan, Nick, and Rafe, and the women who loved them.
In AGAINST THE TIDE, Rafe Brodie is the owner of a charter boat fishing company in remote Valdez.  Liv Chandler, the beautiful new owner of the Pelican Caf√©, has fled to Valdez, fearing for her life.  Liv can’t trust anyone, not even Rafe, the one man who makes her feel safe.
Rafe finds Olivia an intriguing mystery.  He's determined to uncover her secrets, but the woman has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess.  When murder strikes in the tiny town, he begins to believe something terrible is coming.  And even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe may not be able to protect the woman he loves.
Though I was comfortable writing Alaska from the months I spent up there and was familiar with the wildlife and mountainous terrain, since I live in Montana, the trip added vistas, sounds, smells, and ideas for some of the interesting characters who appear in the novels. 

Setting is always important to a story, in some books more than in others.  To help me with the different locales, I use Google Maps extensively.  They have street maps, street cameras, satellite views, terrain maps, and still photos, all of which help me see what an area looks like.  What an amazing writers' tool!
Going to the location, of course, is the best way to chose a setting.  There are places I couldn't write about without having been there.  Alaska was one of them.
Driving all the way from Montana through Canada, over the Top of the World road, we took a side trip to Valdez.  It was raining there, but the scenery was still spectacular.  Valdez is the shipping terminal for the great Alaska pipeline, which gave me the plot line for AGAINST THE TIDE.
I try to choose locals that are fun for readers, enhance the suspense, and give insight into the characters. 
I hope you enjoy my Alaskan he-man, Rafe Brodie, along with the mysterious Olivia Chandler in AGAINST THE TIDE.
Till then, very best wishes and happy reading, Kat 

Secrets—and safety—melt under a midnight sun…

Liv Chandler is running for her life, and the cops haven’t been able to do a thing to help. But there’s one man who makes her feel safe, no matter what…rugged charter boat captain Rafe Brodie.

To Rafe, Liv is a beautiful mystery, one he can’t ignore. He means to unearth her secrets, and in the process, if luck is on his side, maybe the spark between them will ignite.

But Liv’s past is more dangerous than Rafe could guess, and when his first mate turns up dead, she fears that she’s next. That there’s something else coming she can’t see. That even Rafe and the remote village of Valdez, Alaska can’t protect her forever…


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Cara Marsi said...

Kat, nice to meet you. Your Alaska series sounds great. Alaska is on my bucket list. Thanks for the tip about using Google Maps.

Rose Anderson said...

Google maps is a great idea. Thanks for joining us today and best luck with your Alaskan brothers. :)

Paris said...

I love romantic suspense and rugged settings are always a plus! Your Wild series sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it!

jean hart stewart said...

Sounds like a wonderful series, as always from you.

Melissa Keir said...

Thank you for the advice. I like that you were able to visit the site of your stories. I think it makes your writing more realistic. :)

All the best!

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