Thursday, 29 December 2011
Author Spotlight - Michelle Sutton talks about "setting"
When I wrote When Love Collides years ago, I had it set in another state. I ended up pulling it off that series and making it a stand-alone book. Part of that required a change of location, so I decided to switch it to the county where I live. There is a lot of unpredictable weather in Arizona during the summer monsoons in the high desert, so I thought that would fit the mood of the story. Sometimes Raquel gets in a mood and it's because she can't control her symptoms. You can't control monsoons either. You just work around them.
There is the opening scene where Raquel is shivering on the table and feeling like a drowned rat. She's just glad she doesn't know anyone at the clinic. So what does a good writer do? I make sure that the one person she doesn't want to see her looking like a drowned rat is the person she runs into. Then when they meet again the next day and Scott is waiting for her, he's a nervous wreck. I toss in some thunder when he's already jumpy and moody and it works very well for the setting. There are other times when things start to look hopeful and bright. That's when the clouds go away, the sun starts beaming, and a rainbow appears in the sky.
Once I started making the weather as unpredictable as their emotions each day, I think it added to the tension between them and the fear of not knowing what to expect. It fits the story well, which is why I love the cover. In it the hero is holding an umbrella over the heroine in a protective gesture, which is very symbolic of their relationship. So that is how I use the setting to compliment or add to the emotion in the story.