Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sit-Down Saturday with Karen Rock

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Especially authors? No question that it’s tons of fun to visit exotic places while researching settings. Yet, there’s something really awesome, too, about staying home and taking a closer look at your own backyard when contemplating a novel’s location. In fact, it can be deeply inspiring.

For example, I live in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. While I’ve hiked its high peaks, canoed on its rivers, boated on it lakes, explored its caverns and ambled through its forests, I never fully appreciated just how rich and glorious this wilderness was until I began examining it critically before writing my April Harlequin Heartwarming novel, RAISING THE STAKES.  My main character, Vivie, isn’t local. Experiencing this natural landmark through her eyes made me appreciate my hometown all over again. Even better, as she’s helping an orphaned bear cub return to the wild, I even imagined it from an animal’s point of view. Amazing.

 

Here are some things I fell in love with, all over again, about my hometown during my stay-cation:

1.       Every year we have a woodsmen’s festival in Tupper Lake, deep in the Adirondack forest. It celebrates our logging heritage and attracts nationally acclaimed chainsaw woodcarvers, lumberjacks who compete in contests like log throwing, staying aboard floating, rolling logs, and climbing greased ones, a parade featuring terrific local and visiting bands, logging’s big rigs and heavy machinery and fantastic food concessions selling local specialties. It’s a hugely fun day and it definitely found a place in RAISING THE STAKES.

2.       There are forty six high peaks in the Adirondacks, the tallest being Mount Marcy at 5,343 feet. Visitors come from around the world to hike our mountains and those that scale all of the grandest, can ultimately proclaim themselves “46ers”. My hero, a forest ranger, is close to being a “46er” and it was exhilarating for me to climb the mountains he and my heroine climb for him to accomplish that final goal. Looking down at the gorgeous world below, I realized how lucky I was to live is such a glorious place and hopefully captured that euphoric feeling in my novel.

3.       Our woods are filled with wild animals. While exploring places I planned to have Vivie take Button (the orphaned bear), like meadows filled with berry patches, rivers used in national fishing derbies because of their ample supply of trout and salmon, and off-road wilderness area so pristine I felt sacrilegious for setting foot in them, I realized how important it was for these forests to stay “Forever Wild”…. the Adirondack Park’s motto.

4.       Atop one of the high peaks, Whiteface Mountain, stands a replica of a full-scale medieval castle built with natural stone. It’s a breathtaking spot to view the sunset, the majestic surrounding mountains, and shop and even dine. My husband and I had one of our most romantic dates there, ever, and of course, it is featured in a moving love scene between my hero and heroine.

My stay-cation opened my eyes to not only a rich, wonderful setting for RAISING THE STAKES, but to just how lucky I am to calling this spot home. What do you love about your hometown? Are there any places you could use for scenes in a romance novel?  
If interested in purchasing RAISING THE STAKES, please choose from any of the following links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1zxU6nF eHarlequin (Print Book) http://bit.ly/1CiDuEW Nook:  http://bit.ly/17m7LbT Kobo: http://bit.ly/1B20tXe Thanks! :)
EXCITING NEWS!
Here's what we have planned to warm your heart and chase away any lingering winter blahs. All eight Heartwarming authors with April and May releases have teamed up to offer two prize packs of four books each. We will also give away one grand prize consisting of all eight books and . . . wait for it . . . a stunning mix of “ever-blooming” spring garden flowers, for use indoors or out. These are gifts you can enjoy time and again, as you can read our books over and over, and the flowers won’t fade when winter threatens, since they’re steel, painted in bright colors.

Now if that wasn’t enough, we have a bonus book for each prize pack. Harlequin MIRA and Harlequin Intrigue author Elizabeth Heiter will include one of her recent releases—winner’s choice—in each of the prize packs.
 
There are three exciting prize packs waiting to be won. The contest runs from April 12th to April 25th. Visit the Harlequin Heartwarming blog on April 12th for the giveaway kick-off, and to learn about the ways you can enter. The more often you enter, the better your chances of winning!


Happy spring . . . and happy reading!

27 comments:

  1. Karen, I'd like to come visit you! :-) Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures.

    Thanks also for the mention of our exciting Spring Fling promotion, starting tomorrow, with the details provided right here on this blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do come for a visit! And I'm thrilled for the Spring Fling giveaway you masterminded and organized. Thank you so much, K!

      Delete
  2. What a gorgeous travelogue! I know it's beautiful where you live, but I'm even more convinced now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw! Thanks, Liz. Whenever we travel, I can't help but compare locations and think how lucky I am to live in the Adirondacks.... of course we did have snow on Easter... so there's that- lol

      Delete
  3. What a treat to open the page and see all those tantalizing pictures...and the Spring Fling sounds pretty appealing, too! Can't wait to get my hands on every book in the package!

    Thanks for the great start to our Saturday! Here's hoping yours will be perfection!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Loree! I had trouble choosing pictures because each looked better than the last! If you like the outdoors, nature and wildlife I couldn't recommend a trip here more :)

      Delete
  4. The Adirondacks sound like an amazing place to live! And rich in culture and with lots of nature. I visited a town once were they did a lot with woodcravings and it really made me appreciate the art, it's amazing to see what they can made form a simple piece of wood and transform it into something beautifull.
    I loved this place as setting for your book and after reading this post I think I appreciate it even more and it's fun to hear how you discovered your own homeplace as inspiration for your story. I think we often don't realize the beauty of our own homeplace as we grew up there. Like I always think Netherlands is an ugly country, but when I hear how other peopel see it, it gives me a whole new appreciation for my home country and the things I normally take for granted. Great post Karen and I loved seeing some pictures of the the Adirondacks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Lola! And I agree with you, we often don't realize the special qualities of our hometowns and investigating it for this book made me fully realize why people travel from around the world to visit the Adirondacks. On a side note, I would love to visit the Netherlands!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Karen, you live in a truly amazing place. I just got the April books yesterday in the mail. I have a line edit and a rotten cold, but I'm so looking forward to having time to dig into all 4 of the stories that look exciting and wonderful. Your cover is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roz! I hope you feel better soon. There is something unjust about a cold during warm weather.

      Delete
  7. I love this Karen!! You live in an amazing place. I may be one of the few people who really enjoys exploring my own hometown. (Well, my adopted hometown since I'm originally from NYC.) Since my husband was on vacation this week we visited several neighborhoods around our city and enjoyed eating out and taking pictures. I love it that there are lovely little college towns and historic neighborhoods to feast our eyes on. One in particular is Historic Downtown Concord where we just visited. There are many locally owned shops and restaurants that would work nicely in a romance novel. Too bad I'm not a writer. ) : Perhaps one day. And thanks for reminding me about the Spring Fling Giveaway. I'm all over that one!! I just bought 4 new Heartwarming books, but heck, there's always room for a few more. ( :

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm originally from the NYC area, too, Laurie! It's nice to visit my relatives there but I always appreciate coming home. Writing this book made me see more aspects that I knew about but hadn't explored. Concord sounds like a great place for a romance novel. Now you have me thinking... :-)

      Delete
  8. Hi, Karen! Thank you for sharing your beautiful hometown in this post and in Raising the Stakes! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Britney! If you ever stop by to explore drop me a line and I'll take you to the diner that serves raisin pie :-)

      Delete
  9. I have to read this. I lived in northern New Jersey and we camped and traveled in this area so often. Sounds like a wonderful story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you, Marion! I love camping, especially at Ausable Point which has large lots with beach front on Lake Champlain. Let me know if you ever come up and we'll toast marshmallows:-)

      Delete
  10. Beautiful pictures, Karen! I think you gave me another place to add to my list of future vacation spots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It truly is a great place to visit. Great camping, hiking, boating and fishing plus world class spas, shopping and dining in Lake Placid and Montreal is within driving distance- plus I'm here :-)

      Delete
  11. Wonderful. Thank you for the pictures and the info. I've never been but how lucky to have this in your own backyard.The Woodsmen Festival lookss and sounds awesome. I can't even begin to imagine how they were able to build that Castle.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The castle is amazing! It's all hand cut stone hauled to the top of one of the highest mountains in the range and gorgeous as well! Another castle that's fun is Saranac Lake's Winter Ice Castle that is huge with multiple rooms to wander through during the Winter Carnival. They cut blocks of ice out of Saranac Lake to build it and pay nationally acclaimed ice carvers to create masterpieces- like a life-sized dragon. Very cool!

      Delete
  12. Wonderful. Thank you for the pictures and the info. I've never been but how lucky to have this in your own backyard.The Woodsmen Festival lookss and sounds awesome. I can't even begin to imagine how they were able to build that Castle.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amy, I'm coming with you. It's exactly the kind of adventure I love. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We'll go camping together!! I feel a writer's retreat coming on... :-)

      Delete
  14. I've always wanted to visit the Adirondacks...maybe one day, but until then, Raising the Stakes will have to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will definitely take you there, Patricia :-) I took full advantage of all the area has to offer (wilderness-wise) and had fun seeing it through the eyes of a bear!

      Delete
  15. I'm coming with Amy and Pam. What a lovely tribute to your 'hometown' in words and photos. I grew up in Massachusetts and know the East has such beauty. Astoria is gorgeous - especially with the view of the Columbia from my office window. Boats of every description, Harbor Seals, wavy reflections, white caps when it's windy, a looking glass when it's calm. I'm so happy to be here. And I often think about all the women who love all the men who go out on those boats. Inspiration. Lovely post, Karen.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you very much, Muriel! Your description made me want to take a drive to the sea. When I lived on Long Island, we spent so much time by the water- even fishing for baby sand sharks!

    ReplyDelete