Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Perfect Season For a Book by Tara Randel



Spring is here in Florida. The temperatures are warming up to make for very comfortable days. Everything is blooming and the pollen count is off the charts, which means allergies are a concern right now. But, the azalea’s are gorgeous and the grass is starting to turn back to a healthy green shade. It’s a very pretty time of year. Just ask the tourists!

 Here's a picture of the azaleas blooming in my yard right now.



As an author, one of the things I must decide as I start plotting a book is what time of year will I use as setting for my story. Christmas is always a popular holiday to write about, especially if you love snow and the fun details of holiday decorations. But then I think, who can resist a book set during a summer vacation? The beach or maybe a cruise? And what about the mountains in autumn when the leaves are changing color? With so many traditions scheduled at different times of the year, picking that particular season to plan the story gives authors plenty to work with.

So how do we chose? First, it depends on what is going to match up with the story line. If you start out knowing the book will be a Christmas story, then you can jump right in. Maybe the season is determined by the character's jobs. Or the best, or worst (for more conflict) time of the year for our characters to visit the family or help a friend in need.  

The time of year can play such an important role in the story. Having our characters forced to spend time together during a snowstorm is always challenging. The lure of a star-filled night under a bright summer moon is always very romantic.  

When I wrote Orange Blossom Brides, I had been to a spring fashion show. Since the memory of that fashion show figured so heavily in my story, I set my story in early spring. In Magnolia Bride, my July 2014 release, I moved right along to June, with temperatures beginning to rise in anticipation of summer. 

So authors, chime in on how you pick the perfect season for your books. And readers, what time of the year do you like best as book settings?





14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. The book I'm working on now is a Christmas. It didn't start that way, but when I saw my release date, I went, "Oh, yeah!" and changed it. I love Christmas.

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  3. I read an interesting blog the other day on using seasons as part of the main plot in our books. The blogger said they thought authors tended to set their books in the season they liked best. If that's true I'm sure I have more books set in summer and fall than in spring and winter--because those are my favorite times of the year. I've probably only set two books and a novella in the winter and I remember being cold all through writing one called Hot Chocolate In The Morning. Glad you have spring on the horizon Tara.

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    1. When I wrote the blog I didn't eve realize today is the first day of spring!

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  4. I'm with Roz - warm weather books. Although the series I'm writing now is winery-based, so every person in the winery has a job that has a busy season, but few of those seasons are in the heart of winter. I just finished a novella that is set on Christmas Eve in snowy Maine. Brrr. Going back to Indian Summer.

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  5. Funny, I've never really thought about when I set my books, but looking back, I tend to do spring/early summer. Must be my default, LOL. Have to admit, growing up in sunny CA, writing about other parts of the country that actually have "seasons", like the Xmas novella I just completed, I felt off kilter. How does one research snow? :) Great post, Tara! Makes me grateful for sunshine.

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  6. Hi, Tara. I'm guessing 75% of my books are set in the fall and winter. I love the coziness of those seasons. And probably that many of my books are set in Oregon. I once made myself a calendar and noted the weather and temps and what was in bloom when so that I could be accurate. Of course, that can vary up to a month around here depending on the temperatures. I imagine that's true everywhere? I know everything flowers here about a month before the East Coast. Anyway - fun to think about, Tara. Maybe I should branch out into summer.

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    1. I love the fall too, even though it's still usually warm here in Florida. It would be fun to branch out. Consider it a challenge.

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  7. I like almost any season to write about. My problem is dealing with some of the negative qualities that a reader knows are there. What do you do with mosquitoes when you want a nice walk in a moonlit night?

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  8. Great post, Tara. You know, this will sound funny, but the time of year my first book, The Promise of Rain, took place was determined by the drought vs rainy season in Kenya's Serengeti. I actually had to research that and make sure everything else was consistent. Now, as I work on book 2, I'm counting months based on certain events in book one...in order to make sure my 'timeline' still makes sense in book 2. I can't write a book without a calendar LOL.

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