Beth Revis's Blog, page 9

March 2, 2014

Due to popular demand, this feature is extending by one more week! You still have one week to enter the contest, too! 

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler

Set in: Cambridge, England, 1901
Why did you pick this setting? The story centers on three teens whose parents are paranormal investigators. These investigators are loosely based on actual founding members of the Society for Psychical Research, most of whom had a Cambridge connection. One of the founders went on to set up a women's college called Newnham, which inspired the main setting of The Dark Between--Summerfield College. Cambridge dazzles with its grand architecture and storied past, but it also soothes the soul with meadows and pastures and quiet wooded walks. I wish I could set all my novels there!
What makes your book's setting unique? Cambridge is always teeming with people--students, locals, tourists--and probably has for centuries. But Newnham College, the inspiration for Summerfield, is set a little distance from the city center in a quiet neighborhood. When you walk inside, you feel as though you've entered another world--a safe, calm refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. It seemed the perfect place for three characters to hide from their problems . . . but also the perfect place for a murderer to hide illicit activities.
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Salvage  by Alexandra Duncan

Set in: The Gyre - aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Why did you pick this setting? Truth is definitely stranger than fiction, and sometimes you hear about something that's too good not to include in a story. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean where currents converge in such a way that all kinds of garbage and debris collect on the ocean surface. In SALVAGE, people in the future have constructed a floating patchwork city that allows them to collect, clean, and resell this refuse. This isn't such a stretch as you might think. People in all corners of the world actually live in garbage dumps and make their living picking through the trash. It isn't impossible to think people in the future might do the same in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
What makes your book's setting unique? True, real life fact - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is what scientists call an "ocean desert," which means that it is basically a dead zone in the middle of the ocean with very little marine life.

Made up fact from my book - It never storms in the Gyre. Or does it?
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Cinder  by Marissa Meyer

Set in: New Beijing (futuristic China)
Why did you pick this setting? Cinder is a futuristic retelling of the fairy tale "Cinderella." For the setting I was largely inspired by what some scholars believe is the earliest Cinderella tale, “Ye Xian,” which was written in 9th-century China. Additionally, some believe that the iconic glass slipper (which was gold in the Grimm version) came to us from China’s tradition of foot-binding and a culture in which women were praised for tiny feet. So setting Cinder in China seemed to have a great cyclical quality to it, and paid homage to some of the tale's roots.
What makes your book's setting unique? One of my favorite parts of writing in this setting was researching traditional symbolism I could include in the books, particularly when it came to festivities and celebrations. For example, in the Chinese culture, bats symbolize good luck - so I decided to give my own twist to that and have all Eastern Commonwealth spaceships have bats in them somewhere/somehow, so that they no longer just symbolize good luck, but good sight in the darkness of space. (Come to think of it, this may not get mentioned until the fourth book of the series...) But a lot of the elements mentioned for the coronation and peace festival and the ball in "Cinder" were also taken directly from Chinese culture. For example, the ball is decorated with a theme of longevity (cranes, tortoises, bamboo, etc.) to encourage long life for their emperor.

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Published on March 02, 2014 21:00 • 99 views

February 27, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Dearest  by Alethea Kontis

Set in: Arilland
Why did you pick this setting? Arilland is the country I chose to be the High Seat of my fairy tale universe...where it is assumed that all the fairy stories we know and love came from one family, Once Upon a Time. Beyond Arilland are The White Mountains, Sandaar, The Troll Kingdom, and Faerie, of course. In Hero (Book Two of the Woodcutter Sisters Series), Saturday Woodcutter throws a magic mirror that calls the ocean and splits the continent almost in two. Dearest is a parallel novel, dealing with the aftermath of that impossible ocean, and the refugees that pour into Arilland as a result.
What makes your book's setting unique? Because many of the popular fairy tales have a very strong French influence, I have a plethora of French words and names in this series without ever directly referring to the country of France itself. I consider Arilland to be set during the same "once upon a time" period as Florin and Guilder in William Goldman's The Princess Bride: Before Europe, but after Paris.
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Solstice  by P.J. Hoover

Set in: Future Austin Texas during the time of extreme global warming
Why did you pick this setting? I set Solstice half in future Austin, Texas and half in the Underworld. Why the Underworld? Because there's lots of mythology in the book. Why future Austin, Texas?

(1) because I live in Austin

(2) because in Solstice temperatures are like 120 degrees each day. We had this summer here in Austin where it didn't dip below 100 for something like 3 months. It was brutal and made me wonder what it would be like if it stayed that way year round. I'm thinking tank tops and shorts 24/7.

(3) because it may be the most awesome city in the entire country. If I had to live anywhere in the US, it would be Austin. And hey, look at that, I do!
What makes your book's setting unique? Austin is home to North America's largest urban bat population! The bats are a huge thing here. People set out picnic blankets hours ahead to get a good spot to watch them. Vendors sell glow bracelets to the kids. And the bats do what they do every single day. They fly out from under the bridges en masse at dusk. Definitely a must-do if you come to visit!
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Tiger's Curse  by Colleen Houck

Set in: India
Why did you pick this setting? India was not my first choice. I knew nothing about India when I started writing but I'd selected a Beauty and the Beast theme for my series and chose a white tiger for my beast. Originally, I thought I'd set the book in Russia because I thought white tigers came from Siberia but after research I discovered that all white tigers are related to a small male cub that was captured in India in the 1930's.
What makes your book's setting unique? India is full of ancient ruins and temples that make for fantastic, dangerous, and breathtaking scenes. In my third book, Tiger's Voyage, I found a story about a sunken city called the City of the Seven Pagodas that everyone thought was a myth until a tsunami hit India in 2004. The ocean receded off the coast and they discovered the ruins of this ancient city. I knew that had to be the basis of my water themed book.

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

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Published on February 27, 2014 21:00 • 189 views

February 26, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Die For Me  by Amy Plum

Set in: Paris
Why did you pick this setting? Have you been to Paris? Or have you always dreamed of going there? Either way, you must have some idea of how magical the city is. Even having lived 1/3 of my life in France, even though I live right in the middle of Paris, every day I walk out of my front door and look around me and think, "I am the luckiest person in the world." I tried to convey a little bit of the wonder and love that I feel for Paris on to every page of the DIE FOR ME series.
What makes your book's setting unique? Almost every place I used in the books has been either an old apartment where I lived, an old hang-out, or one of my favorite museums or cafes. I drew from my experiences: riding on a scooter behind a handsome artist through the streets of Paris, kissing a boy on the Pont des Arts, dating a zombie. Okay, one of those isn't true. Although sometimes, I've had my doubts.
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Unstoppable by SR Johannes

Set in: Everglades, Florida
Why did you pick this setting? A wilderness thriller that explores the various habitats and talk about conservation around the florid panther and the elimination of roadside zoos.
What makes your book's setting unique? The Everglades has 4 distinct environments from swamps to the pines to the plains and the saw grass. It I the only place where the Florida Panther is found and there are only 100 left in the wild.




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Out of the Easy  by Ruta Sepetys

Set in: 1950 New Orleans
Why did you pick this setting? Secrets and scandal! New Orleans is full of both.
There's a story lurking behind every door in the French Quarter. The architecture, the music, the food, the local superstitions - they're all full of story.
What makes your book's setting unique? The setting in "Out of the Easy" is a 1950's brothel in the French Quarter. During my research I was given an extensive tour of the former brothel building by an elderly gentleman who...knew the operation well. The former madam of the house had recorded her memoirs on cassette tapes. Shortly after, she took her own life. A current resident in the building had the cassettes and I got to listen to some of them while standing in the madam's old bedroom. Hearing her voice, in her room, in the brothel. Wow.


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This Side of Salvation  by Jeri Smith-Ready

Set in: Main Line of Philadelphia
Why did you pick this setting? I went to college (Villanova University) in this area west of Philadelphia, so I was familiar with the location and unique culture. Since many books that focus on religious zealotry are set in small towns, I thought it'd be interesting to set This Side of Salvation in a wealthy suburb. Play against stereotype, you know? The main character's family falls on economic hard times, which creates an interesting conflict between him and his friends who can afford anything.
What makes your book's setting unique? This area was originally settled by the Welsh, so lots of place names are seriously lacking in vowels (e.g., Bryn Mawr, Bala Cynwyd, and Tredyffrin Township).__________________________

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

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Published on February 26, 2014 21:00 • 70 views

February 25, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).


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Gilded  by Christy Farley

Set in: Korea
Why did you pick this setting? I was teaching at Seoul Foreign School, an international school in Korea, and I wanted to do a comparison unit of Greek mythology to Korean mythology. When I came across the myth of Haemosu and Princess Yuhwa, the story of GILDED just unfolded for me.

I'm also a history fan and I'm addicted to traveling. I loved visiting the ancient palaces and temples scattered between modern skyscrapers and tucked away in the mountainsides of Korea. Nearly every scene in GILDED is based on my own personal experiences—minus the fantasy element, of course!

But there's so much more to Korea than even that. I wanted my readers to get out and experience Korea for all of its beauty. So GILDED takes the reader from the modern city of Seoul, to the mud flats of Muui Island, to the snowy peaks of Yongpyong, to the underwater tomb of King Munmu.
What makes your book's setting unique? The mud flats on Muui Island (Muuido) is one of my favorite places to visit. We'd pack up the picnic basket and swim gear, and drive out to the coast for a day on the beach with friends.

Interestingly, I was writing GILDED when we first visited Muui Island and the mud flats completely fascinated me. When the tide is down, you can cross slabs of stone to another tiny island called Silmi. On Silmi there's a cute beach with towering rocks to climb. While climbing the rocks, the whole cave scene in GILDED came to me. That night I went home and wrote it. It's still one of my favorite scenes in the book.__________________________
Frontier by Kat Parrish
Out September 12, 2014

Set in: Frontier--a planet colonized by a galactic trading company with roots in old China.
Why did you pick this setting? I am fascinated by the techno boom in China and the way the country is reaching out into space. I am also fascinated by the way the old Dutch East and West Indies companies. I wanted a colonial planet where people in the employ of a massive trading company lived alongside scientists and the prison labor imported to strip the planet of resources. There are two nearby planets under the control of the "Double Happiness" corporation; they're Beixing (the political center) and Zhanghai (the trading center).
What makes your book's setting unique? Zhanghai, the trading planet of the story, sits on a galactic crossroads, which makes it a kind of space-going Mall of America and the universe's largest "duty-free" store. Anything you can imagine is bought and sold here--even intangibles like ... your soul.
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Eramane  by Frankie Ash

Set in: fantasy medieval period/ a mountain palace
Why did you pick this setting? I chose to use this period because I'm a huge LOTR fan and, to me, love and magic and monsters and battle are wickedly awesome when fitted in furs and accessorized with swords...yes?

A good chunk of the story takes place atop a mountain palace. This is where Eramane is forced to give up her humanity. But it is also where book #1 ends.
What makes your book's setting unique? The mountain palace, and its location, are important because of the location. It is basically a large chunk of rock surrounded by the ocean. If you want to reach it....you'd do well to have wings, or be an ancestor to Michael Phelps.
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Beware the Wild by Natalie Parker
Out October 2014

Set in: Sticks, Louisiana
Why did you pick this setting? When I was a little girl, my grandfather would let me sit on his knee while he drove one of his giant tractors through the Parker Pecan Orchard. He taught me about grafting trees, about wormy parasites, and about how letting crimson clover flood the orchard in springtime was a natural fertilizer for Mississippi soil. He knew the secret history of every tree he’d ever planted and I always thought that was a little bit like magic.

Around the same time, my grandmother on my mother’s side was filling my head with old stories. Some were traditional like Billy Goat’s Gruff, which she told with voices and a dash of terror, and some were about her children, like how my mother and uncles once tried to keep an alligator as a pet in the misty lake sitting in the middle of their old vineyard. The attempt failed, but left a rather vivid impression on me.

In short, my childhood experience of the south was deeply entrenched in the idea that our environment has its own transitory history that lives and changes through the stories we tell about it. I became fascinated by this idea that something as incredible as my grandfather’s history of trees could also be so fragile – it passed away when he did and his children and grandchildren have only pieces of that quiet knowledge with us. Most of that history is now a secret we’ll never uncover again.

And as writers, I suppose, are wont to do, I began to consider what might happen if those secrets were protecting something dangerous. What if my grandmother’s stories weren’t just a trick to get me into bed on time, but contained careful warnings about the world around me?

One sticky summer day in Southern Louisiana, I was sitting on a porch swing trying not to move more than was required to breathe when I was struck by the thought, “the air is trying to swallow me.” And that was it, the seed that grew into the tenacious, weedy little plant that would become BEWARE THE WILD.
What makes your book's setting unique? Sticks, Louisiana itself doesn't actually exist. I named it Sticks because I imagined the swamp as a liminal space between worlds....like the River Styx in Greek mythology. 'Styx' isn't a very Southern-looking word. 'Sticks' on the other hand? Well, I couldn't get more pointed than that.

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.

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Published on February 25, 2014 21:00 • 49 views

February 24, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Wild  by Alex Mallory

Set in: Pulaski County, Kentucky
Why did you pick this setting? This book is a retelling of Tarzan. My first question when I started writing was: where could Cade live in a forest, in the United States, and reasonably never be found? It was important to me to retell this story without reusing the colonialist bits from the original.

Looking for locations, I started close to home, and discovered Daniel Boone National Forest-- in southern Kentucky.

After speaking to a park ranger, I discovered a lot of great details: it's not illegal to camp indefinitely without a permit, as long as you follow conservation laws. It's one of the few places in the US where primitive hunting is permitted.

The forest is patrolled, but because of the cliffs and caves, it would be easy to stay there, unseen, for years. If you're smart and careful, you can live off the land there indefinitely.

Finally, there's plenty of wilderness in the western US, but I've never been there. Because Cade had to be intimate with his forest, I had to be, too. Since Daniel Boone is part of my backyard, I was confident I could describe it accurately for Cade.

That made southern Kentucky the perfect place for a modern Tarzan to go untouched by the modern world, while still being quite close to it. WILD couldn't have been anywhere else!
What makes your book's setting unique? Daniel Boone National Park has one of the largest concentrations of caves in the world. If you combine the caves in Wayne, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties, there are 173 miles of MAPPED caverns. Who knows how many unmapped caverns remain?
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Thief Eyes  by Janni Lee Simner

Set in: Iceland
Why did you pick this setting? Iceland has long been home to mythic stories and sagas. On my first visit to the country, I was struck by how I was walking the very same ground the characters in the thousand-year-old saga I was reading had walked. That shivery sense that the past was breathing over my shoulder was one of the things that led me to write Thief Eyes.

(I talk a lot more about my explorations of place and story in Iceland here.)
What makes your book's setting unique? Already a geologic hotspot, Iceland is also a place where two tectonic plates meet. The combination results in one of the most geologically active places on the planet--and for a powerful sense of landscape.
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Silver Phoenix  by Cindy Pon

Set in: Kingdom of Xia
Why did you pick this setting? Because fantasy has always been my first love. I was a new Chinese brush painting student at the time and learning more about Chinese history and culture. I wanted to combine my two loves when I finally decided to try and write a novel!
What makes your book's setting unique? My heroine Ai Ling must journey to the The Palace of Fragrant Dreams, loosely based on China's actual Forbidden Palace. Emperors kept concubines to show their status and virility, and some kept women in the thousands, sequestered away.




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Published on February 24, 2014 21:00 • 61 views

February 23, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Elevated  by Elana Johnson

Set in: An elevator!
Why did you pick this setting? Several years ago, I was visiting a planetarium with my kids. We got on the biggest, hugest elevator you can imagine to go up to the sky room. An instant story idea popped into my head -- a girl gets stuck in an elevator with her ex-boyfriend.

And that's how ELEVATED was born. The entire book takes place in the elevator too.
What makes your book's setting unique? I actually have a slight phobia of getting stuck in an elevator. And by "slight" I mean "major."



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Gated  by Amy Christine Parker

Set in: An isolated gated community in Nebraska 100 miles from the nearest town. I never come right out and say it's Nebraska inside the book though.
Why did you pick this setting? I set the book here because my character is part of a cult and the leader of that cult wanted to keep his followers as far away from the outside world as possible. Middle America has plenty of space and sort of riffs on the whole "Go west" pioneer mentality early Americans had, which is also why I chose to call my cult leader Pioneer.
What makes your book's setting unique? Lincoln, Nebraska was the launch site of atlas missiles in the 1960's and so there are underground missile silos there. My community's apocalyptic bunker construction is a cross between a missile silo and a farm silo.
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Something Rotten  by Alan Gratz

Set in: East Tennessee
Why did you pick this setting? Something Rotten is a noir mystery take on Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm a big fan of noir fiction, particularly the works of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Chandler's Philip Marlowe famously made the streets of Los Angeles his home, exposing the seedy dark underbelly of the "City of Angels." Hammett's books were less rooted to a particular place, but always seemed to be set in a gritty city. When I set out to turn Shakespeare into contemporary noir, the time and the characters weren't the only things I wanted to turn on their ears. I wanted to subvert too the idea of noir having to be set in a big city. So I deliberately chose to set Rotten in my own backyard in East Tennessee, where I grew up, to bring noir to rural Appalachia--a place I think is more noir than most people think!
What makes your book's setting unique? My fictional "Denmark, Tennessee" was "rotten" figuratively, because someone had been murdered there. But I also wanted to make Denmark "rotten" literally, which I did by modeling it after Canton, North Carolina. Canton, NC is home to the Champion Paper Mill. (I think they changed their name to hide from environmental lawsuits, but it's still there.) If you've ever lived anywhere near a paper mill, you'll understand what I'm talking about right away--they stink. Bad. Like raw eggs or sulfur. It's part of the chemical process used to bleach paper white, and the smell travels for miles and miles and miles, depending on the weather. I've driven past Canton (and other paper mills in the south) enough to know one when I smell one, and I thought it would be fun to turn Hamlet's Elsinore Castle into the Elsinore Paper Mill. Now there's REALLY something rotten in Denmark. :-) To me, paper mills (and their attendant pollution) are part of my memories of growing up in the rural south.__________________________


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Published on February 23, 2014 21:00 • 100 views

February 20, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Otherbound  by Corinne Duyvis

Set in: The Dunelands (secondary world)
Why did you pick this setting? It's surprisingly straightforward. Due to the concept of the book--a boy who sees another world every time he closes his eyes--I needed to build a secondary world. I'd only ever written books set in our own world, so I was deeply intimidated by the prospect.

And I wanted to make sure I got it *right.* I needed something unique to work with; something I could portray honestly.

And so, The Dunelands were born. I would not go so far as to call it a fantasy version of my mother country of the Netherlands, but those familiar with the country will recognize tidbits of culture, names, language, and geography, sprinkled across the various lands and groups of the Dunelands.
What makes your book's setting unique? Several times in the book, I mention "alcove beds," which in my head look very different to the kind of (admittedly cool-looking!) bed you'll find when looking on Google Images. Instead, I based these beds on the kind that used to be common in the Netherlands--beds that are more like a cupboard than anything else.

Last year, I visited one of my favorite museums, the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen, which recreates an old fishing village, and lets you go inside these creaky, cobweb-filled old houses. I took several photos of the kind of bed I had in mind when writing OTHERBOUND. These are my favorites:



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Landry Park  by Bethany Hagen

Set in: Kansas City
Why did you pick this setting? Kansas City is a crossing place in a lot of ways. It was the starting place for pioneers heading west, the last glimpse of American civilization many settlers would see for months or even years. It was the divide between free and slave states during the Civil War. Currently, it is home to some of the widest economic and educational disparities in the nation. It seemed a natural place to set Landry Park--indeed, the idea of the book came from growing up in a place that was so divided between the rich and the poor.
What makes your book's setting unique? Fun fact: Kansas City has the best barbecue in the world. Even Anthony Bourdain agrees.
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Cobalt City Rookies: Wrecker of Engines
 by Rosemary Jones

Set in: Cobalt City
Why did you pick this setting? Cobalt City is an American city somewhat similar to Boston in terms of history and East Coast location, except it is populated by superheroes and fantastic villains as well as ordinary citizens. Some capes and cowls pass from generation to generation, some new heroes rise when the time is right.

Like most of my shared world adventures, this story was written at the invitation of the publisher. I also have written two paperback novels and an e-adventure serial set in the Forgotten Realms, the longrunning shared world that serves as a D&D setting. These were published by Wizards of the Coast
What makes your book's setting unique? Cobalt City is a "shared world" created by a loose coalition of writers. Many of us live in Seattle and meet up to discuss projects with the publisher, Timid Pirate. We create our own stories and heroes, borrowing other writers' characters for "guest" appearances. For my young adult adventure Wrecker of Engines, I had great fun adding a steampunk 19th century heroine modeled on real life reporter Nellie Bly and a 21st century Eurasian hacker hero who becomes the city's newest Wrecker of Engines. The pair meet across the centuries to defeat a villain's attempt to use the city library to permanently check out the good guys and gals of Cobalt City.

It was a hoot to write and the e-book includes two other YA adventures by fellow Cobalt City writers. I've always wanted to do a proper superhero story. I love the publisher's commitment to their writers, their willingness to experiment with all types of storytelling, and letting us explore the more human side of what it means as a teenager to become the savior of the city. Or the library, as my case was!

Also the editor of these YA adventures really wanted to highlight characters who were not your standard Ango-Saxon brawny superguy. Which was perfect for my gal who is breaking all kinds of gender barriers in the 19th century and my young man who is committed to using brains rather than brawn to defeat villains.
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Published on February 20, 2014 21:00 • 77 views

February 19, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Her Dark Curiosity  by Megan Shepherd

Set in: Victorian era London
Why did you pick this setting? The first book in my series, The Madman's Daughter, took place on a tropical island. I liked the challenge of continuing the story in the opposite setting: a harsh winter in a bustling city. I enjoying tying the two setting together in surprising ways, like pointing out how savage a city can be beneath its respectable veneer, or finding pockets of warmth, like steamy winter greenhouses, that evoked the setting of the first book.
What makes your book's setting unique? As part of my research, my husband and I took a trip to London last winter, where we toured old-fashioned surgical theaters, visited botanical gardens, and found some good inspiring settings for the action of the book. We took a Jack the Ripper tour that was so grisly one woman fainted!
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Mistwalker  by Saundra Mitchell

Set in: Down East, Maine
Why did you pick this setting? My best friend and I decided, and I'm not sure how, that when we died, we would board a ferry and go to an island just off the Maine coast. She grew up in North Georgia. I grew up in Southern Indiana. Neither of us had ever been to Maine, but we were both drawn to it. The first spark of MISTWALKER came in an idea about a boy cursed to a lighthouse until he collected 1000 souls. A lighthouse. Of course it had to be Maine. Of course. The rest of the story fell into place instantly. This book simply belonged there. I think my best friend and I do too-- we finally visited last year, and it was every bit as wonderful as we'd hoped.
What makes your book's setting unique? Lobstering is a big (perhaps the biggest) industry in Down East Maine these days. When people want luxury, they want a big, beautiful Maine lobster, dripping in butter and nothing else. That wasn't always the case. Lobster, due to its abundance, used to be considered poverty food. There were even laws against feeding prisoners lobster more than twice a week, because more than that was considered cruel and unusual punishment!
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The Tinker King
 by Tiffany Trent

Set in: The fictional City of Scientia
Why did you pick this setting? The adventure moves to this locale, and is where many of the questions set up in the first book are ultimately resolved.
What makes your book's setting unique? Parts of Scientia are based on the Forbidden City in Beijing.
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Published on February 19, 2014 21:00 • 64 views

February 18, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Vitro  by Jessica Khoury

Set in: South Pacific Islands
Why did you pick this setting? I've been fascinated by the South Pacific ever since my childhood obsession with the Swiss Family Robinson. I have a special fondness for island stories, from Lord of the Flies to Terry Pratchett's Nation to LOST. I knew my second book had to be set on an island, and that was the starting point for VITRO. It's the perfect setting for a secret laboratory; the Corpus scientists have renovated an old, abandoned tourist resort into a state-of-the-art facility, but there are still a lot of ruined buildings around--super creepy! Plus, trapping my characters on an island adds an extra layer of claustrophobia and intensity to the drama. It was an ideal location, and I really enjoyed writing it.
What makes your book's setting unique? You can buy your own South Pacific Island! It's only oh, a couple million dollars. Just in case, you know, you need a place to launch your campaign for world domination or simply want a quiet piece of land where you can tumblr in peace. Ever hear of Niue? It's a tiny island in the South Pacific that was the first nation to provide free WiFi for the entire country. Also, their coins have Pikachu on them. This has nothing to do with VITRO, really, but I just can't get over how awesome this Niue place is.
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Steering Toward Normal by Rebecca Petruck

Set in: 4-H steer competitions in Minnesota
Why did you pick this setting? 4-H is a fantastic organization with members and alumni all over the world. Part of why I love 4-H is they celebrate the everyday things that tend to be overlooked while also encouraging exploration of the new and different. In particular, I wanted to showcase the work steer competitors do because it's so hard--physically, but also emotionally. Steers are beef cattle, they have absolutely no other function, so at the end of the year, when the competitions are done, the steers go to the packer. For kids who have spent hours a day with their steer for an entire year, that goodbye is heartbreaking, but they do it again and again. I have tremendous respect for the competitors and for 4-H and wanted to share that with the world. And I'm from Minnesota originally--most of my family is there.
What makes your book's setting unique? These are a few notes I made to myself when I attended the Minnesota State Fair in 2010:

Cows can pee straight down; BUT also don’t lean forward to pee--just lift tail straight up

When a steer lifts its tail, the end crooks, like an elf’s slipper

Poop: Lots of little patties, not big like we think. Is it because the feed changes as exhibitors try to “finish” their steers for best possible muscle/meat?

Steers can poop on the go

Apparently, getting the excretion details just right was very important to me!
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Published on February 18, 2014 21:00 • 93 views

February 17, 2014

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Control by Lydia Kang

Set in: Near future, 2015 Midwest
Why did you pick this setting? I live in Omaha, so I wanted to imagine what the future breadbasket of America would be like someday!
What makes your book's setting unique? The agriplane. All the crops have been moved up above the actual land, like on a huge table that goes for miles and miles. It's an ocean of gold crops up there, but below in the city, it's always dim because there's no sun. I liked that juxtaposition.





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Not a Drop to Drink  by Mindy McGinnis

Set in: Ohio
Why did you pick this setting? The environment is very much a character in NOT A DROP TO DRINK, the pond water worth killing for and the harsh winters that can take out families are plot shapers. Also, I a native Ohioan and I know the terrain. For a debut, writing what I knew was key.
What makes your book's setting unique? I do have a pond in my own backyard, and a dream I had about protecting it is what spawned the idea for NOT A DROP TO DRINK.



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Tin Star
 by Cecil Castelucci

Set in: Yertina feray space station
Why did you pick this setting? I wanted it to be in outer space and also in a contained and claustrophobic environment with larger galactic issues going on around it. I was inspired by the movie Casablanca.
What makes your book's setting unique? It is circling a planet called Quint that was once a hot bed of mining activity. It used to be a place that people would go to, but since the planet became depleted, the Yertina Feray space station is now on the fringes of the main trade routes and has become a backwater place that no one goes to unless they are in trouble.


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Published on February 17, 2014 21:00 • 48 views