Tag Archives: locations

The Importance of Locations by Deborah J Ledford

Crescendo F. Cover -w blurb 7 HR-FinalOkay, so keeping with the “Importance of” theme, let’s discuss locations. How important are they to you as a reader? How about as a writer? For me, the main location for my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela has definitely become a main character.

I grew up spending my summers in a small town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. This is a place that remains close to my heart and senses. There are times when I awake in the middle of the night, replaying events long passed, the scent of “green” still nestled in my brain.

The summertime nights were humid during those cherished weeks every year, but that never bothered me as I chased fireflies, capturing them in the Mason jar my grandmother would provide from her stash under the sink.

fireflies-two

The drives with my grandfather are gems I unfortunately only remember snippets of—sitting in the back seat of his huge Buick as he backed up the long drive to the two-lane, twisting highway that would lead us to the gas station/country store where he would buy me a paper sack full of Atomic FireBall jawbreakers. Even decades ago Kudzu vines hugged the trees and power poles, massive hulking monsters, disturbing yet fascinating.

kudzu

The fog that would rarely completely lift hovered over the expanse and deep in the valleys when we reached a rise high enough to look down at the most enchanting, wondrous Great Smokies I will never release from my memories.

smoky-mountains-sunrise

I go back from time to time to the real city of Bryson City, where Inola Walela, Steven Hawk and his family live in my books. My imaginary characters visit locations I still remember; essentially playing out the life I could only dream of. I suppose that’s one of the best parts about being a novelist…the “what if” and “why not” of every story one can create.

Deborah J Ledford’s latest novel of suspense, CRESCENDO, is book three of the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series. Other novels include, STACCATO, and SNARE, Finalist for The Hillerman Sky Award and the NM-AZ Book Awards. Deborah is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and her award-winning short stories appear in numerous print publications as well as literary and mystery anthologies. Part Eastern Band Cherokee, she spent her summers growing up in western North Carolina where her novels are set. Deborah invites you to visit her website.

Photograph Credits: Smoky Mountains Sunrise ©Dave Allen. Kudzu ©Felicity Green.

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Locations: Real or Imagined?

I’m 10,000 words into my next novel and this and one is turning out to be a traditional mystery rather than the thriller genre my Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series falls under. Although the location is based on Baker City, Oregon, I’ve decided to create the fictional town Cascadia, Oregon.

I usually perform endless hours researching locations if I’m not familiar with the locale, and a majority of what I write is based on first-hand experiences of the areas I present. This is the first time I’ve built an entire town from the ground up and I’m a bit nervous about this.

For you writers out there, have you created fictional locations for your work? And readers, do you prefer the writer to take you to an actual place?

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon and Kindle. If you’re in the Arizona area, STACCATO can be found at Borders Scottsdale Waterfront, The Well Red Coyote, and Changing Hands Bookstore.

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Book Club Appearances

Due to the efforts of a friend, I made my first author’s appearance at a mystery book club a few weeks ago. I was honored that this group of ladies decided to give my debut thriller STACCATO a chance. As many of you know, book clubs choose the titles they will read many months in advance. I had been waiting patiently since last November and had no idea what to expect.

A buzz began a month before the book club meeting; a few had already finished my book and enjoyed the read. Some refused to purchase the title from Amazon or didn’t have the time to wait for the publisher to send them a copy. I had extra copies on hand, so provided them at a discount for the rest of the group to purchase and all problems were rectified.

I think my friend was more nervous about the appearance than I was. This group hadn’t ever been visited by the actual author of a book they had read. Any unease soon abated when the questions about STACCATO began to flow: How did I come up with my location, names, character traits. How did I choose the classical music pieces? Explaining the motivation for why I chose that particular piece of music. On and on for two hours, these women drew me into their little circle of the appreciation of written words.

I found the experience to be well worth the anxiety of not knowing: 1) if they would like my book. 2) Would anyone show up to discuss the book? 3) Had they even read the book?

Not only did I sell 15 copies to this group, I feel confident that they are spreading the word about STACCATO. They’re also looking forward to my next release and plan to invite other authors to their book club.

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel STACCATO, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent bookstores.

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Staccato: Script vs Novel – by Deborah J Ledford

As I mentioned in a previous article to the series Staccato: Inception, the novel actually began as a screenplay. Staccato was the third script I wrote back in the ‘90s. After the visual of the hands hovering over a piano keyboard, clasped in handcuffs captured my attention (a rendition of what is now the cover of the book), I knew I had the basis for a great sub-plot. Motion picture scripts are ideal for my way of writing—captivating visuals, intriguing characters and most of all, dialogue, dialogue, dialogue.

Those of you versed in screenplays know that you cannot go into too much detail, especially how the characters react to situations because this is the actors job, and even the mention of “ticks” or body language is not to be implemented within the pages of the script. Your job as the screenwriter is to merely provide the locations, vaguely set up the characters, and give them lines of dialogue to propel the action.

Novels are another beast and the major reason I switched to writing novels. Composing full-length prose allow you the freedom to create the characters and scenes as they come to you. It is important to completely flesh out locations, especially setting the scene at the top for the reader so they can put themselves there. The way you the writer indicates body language is also acceptable and necessary to make the characters come to life.

Hidden clues are also much easier to show. For example, the mere foreshadow of a clothes hamper which will later contain a bloody shirt can prove to be a captivating visual. Images are more lasting and hard-hitting when used with finesse as well. If you thoroughly give the reader mouth-dropping images, they will remember your book, and look forward to your next.

Most of all, it is a must for the novelist to convey realistic, lasting characters. Characters the reader can connect to, those with heroic capabilities, as well as human flaws, rife with ticks, fears and foibles. The screenwriter must rely on performers, directors and editors to convey these elements.

The novelist has more “power,” if you will, to present the complete picture that comes to them, an ideal representation of their original concept.

I plan to re-write the original screenplay for my second novel in the Steven Hawk/Inola Walela series, Ice on Fire, but not before this manuscript is available in printed format—the fleshed-out, full blown, complete version of the “Movie in my mind.”

Deborah J Ledford is the author of the debut suspense thriller novel Staccato, now available from Second Wind Publishing, Amazon, Kindle, and independent book stores.

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