Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Romance Review's Summer Blog Hope Marches On

Remember what it feels like to walk on hot sand in your bare feet on a hot summer day?

That's the Sizzling Summer Blog Hop.

One entire month to win prizes, gift cards, books, meet new authors, answer fun questions, and read steamy excerpts from new novels, and maybe find some new beach reads. What better way to fill up June? Click on the banner to the right, which will take you to blog central. Play games, answer questions, meet new authors. It's a great group of people who write in all romance genres. 

Yesterday, I attended my chapter's monthly meeting. Our speaker talked about settings for your novels, and how important they were, regardless of the genre. As I always do, I let her words settle in my mind and attempted to see how they applied to my work. I've had five books now to describe the Fitzpatrick family brownstone in New York City in the mid-1800s, so I think I've done an adequate job there. I turned next to my contemporaries. Most specifically, Voice Of An Angel, my most recent release. For that setting, I used Washington, DC. 

I lived and worked in DC in my younger days. My best friend and former roommate still lives there, so I relied on her heavily to get the layout of the city right. But as for the setting? A large portion of the novel takes place in Evelyn's apartment. Like most big cities, apartments in DC come in all shapes and sizes. I think a good judge of character is the space one occupies, so I had to make Evelyn's apartment be truly reflective of her. I chose to put her in one of my favorite places--my first apartment on Capitol Hill. I shared it with the aforementioned roommate, and we made a lot of great memories there. The apartment was the bottom two floors of a four-story townhouse. The entrance to the top apartment was up a flight of steps from the ground, but the bottom apartment entrance was hidden behind this flight of steps, and was two steps down into an English basement. 

I pictured the house and the apartment in my head, but the memory of the actual layout was a bit fuzzy to me. Using my artistic license, I put the living room at the front, the kitchen in the back, with a bathroom in between. It worked for my story quite well. 

When my former roommate read the story, she got to the scene where the downstairs bathroom came into play and said to herself, "I know that bathroom!" I had, in my fuzziness, placed the bathroom in the exact place where it actually had been. In fact, the entire apartment was described as it actually had been all those years ago. With nicer furniture. 

Not everyone is going to react as my former roommate did, but if I can implant in people's minds a believable setting, I've done my job as a writer. 

Here's the cover blurb for Voice Of An Angel: 

Max Bainbridge is an ace newspaper reporter who gets all the biggest assignments, most recently covering the fighting in Afghanistan. When he is shot on the battlefields, he is operated on and then flown home. The nurse responsible for his subsequent care is Evelyn Hammer, a 35-year-old woman who ran for her life from the musical spotlight, when she was 17 and on the cusp of fame. Her new identity has been in place, and impenetrable, ever since. Over the years, she’s found singing is a more soothing way to wake people from surgery, and they are usually so foggy they don’t realize she’s been singing to them. Until Max, that is.
Evelyn knows she’s breaking one of the cardinal rules of nursing by dating a patient, but she can’t resist Max. What begins as an innocent affair with a definite expiration date when Max leaves for his next assignment becomes a real threat to unmasking Evelyn’s hidden identity. Max can’t control his journalism instincts as one clue after another emerges and he realizes he doesn’t know the person he’s fallen in love with.
Only by uncovering Evelyn’s secret past can they move forward with their future. But her past is still there, and threatening. Some secrets are better left alone.

Praise for Voice Of An Angel from Loves All Things Books

I absolutely loved this book. The writing was flawless, the characters jumped from the pages and came to was an amazing read. Very few books have ever made me snot cry, this was one of those books. Definitely a must read.


  1. I frequently use a house or apartment that I've lived in or visited often as settings. Recently sent an ARC to a good friend and she said it felt "weird" to read about her house. My changes were minor and she kept looking around for my hero. (I'd given the place to him.)

    1. I love your comment about your friend thinking it was weird to read about her house! My friend sent a copy of the book to her sister, who visited our apartment and lived with us for a short time. My friend thought her sister would get a kick out of it.

  2. Yes, I agree setting is so important. More so in some books over others. Incredibly critical in others. For my WIP, one I mention the town and gloss over it. The other is a fictional town and I have maps and minute details in my notes to keep it all straight. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I like using fictional towns, too. That way, you can lay out the town to suit your purposes instead of the other way around.

  3. Great article, Becky, and Voice of an Angel sounds like an intriguing story. I love doing research to enrich settings. I just finished writing a book set in 1724 New France and was thrilled to find a piece of old Fort Frontenac still standing exactly where I thought it should be.

  4. Thanks, Sharon, for visiting me today. Research, for me, is the best part of writing a story. I learn so much each time I sit down to put one together. I'm working on one now that's set in the Finger Lakes, and I need to take a road trip soon. Strictly business, of course.

  5. Great discussion topic, Becky. I love to have a clear visual of the places I describe and in my current wip, chose an apartment I had lived in years ago which has now been pulled down but it was still vivid in my mind. Love the blurb of Voice of an Angel, sounds like such a good plot.

  6. I've read Voice of an Angel and think you did a great job with setting I'm a huge fan of good description. I adored all of the Anne of Green Gables Books. In Time and Forever, I used my first apartment in Los Angeles for Dave's apartment. It was great fun trying to remember what Hollywood looked like in 1969 as opposes to what is there now.