Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, the third book in the demon hunter series, comes out January 29, 2013. While there are many crazy characters in the series, there’s one character I could not do without: Hannah, the small South Alabama town that is the setting of the books. Without Hannah, there would be no magic, no supernatural hijinks, no Southern crazy. The town of Hannah is the source of the magic in my books and a magnet for the strange, scary, and wonderful.
Ever hear the mantra ‘Location, location, location,’ in reference to property value? Any real estate agent worth his or her salt will tell you that similar homes can increase or decrease in value, depending on that one vital selling point: location.
The same rule applies in writing. Where and when you set your story affects it in a myriad of ways, including genre placement, marketability (that constant ever-changing thing that editors and agents are looking for), shelf space in the bookstore, even readership.
Make that especially readership. As readers, many of us have auto buys. Love tea and ballroom romances? Historical romance is your style. Do you prefer your mysteries set in the bustling heart of a big city, or intimate and cozy? The mystery component is important but the location is the thing. Love adventure on the high seas? A pirate’s life for you. Adore tales of romance in exotic places? Settle down with a Harlequin Presents. Want to be taken out of this world? You may be a fantasy/sci-fi reader.
See? Location matters. My stories wouldn’t be the same if they were set anywhere else. Here are a few ways the setting has affected my stories.
1. Culture clash—I love the collision between my stoic, alpha male heroes and my Southern heroines. Talk about apples and oranges, yin-yang, chalk and cheese, chocolate versus vanilla—my poor demon hunters spend a lot of their time trying to decipher the strange speech of the locals, not to mention the unaccustomed emotions my femmes fetales engender in their frozen, medieval little hearts. The small town location is ripe with possibilities that affect the stories. Anything and everything happens in Hannah.
2. Climate and weather—nothing like a sultry Southern night to bring out the romantic in your demon hunter. But make sure he puts up a shield spell to ward off the mosquitoes. We grow’em big down here, people. Big. We’re talking the size of sparrows.
3. Jobs and resources: farming, timber, and tourism are the big money makers in Hannah. And gossip; gossip is a natural energy source in my imaginary little town. Magic aside, Hannah is a typical small Southern town, with one grocery store, a drug store where everyone knows your b’ness, a hardware store, one beauty parlor, a drive-in and a meat and three. The size and location of the town affects the story, sometimes drives the story.
4. Recreational activities—how do the locals pass the time? Eating, drinking, going to church, hunting, riding around in pickup trucks, and football are big whoopee doo deals in Hannah. And then there are the Peanut Festival, the Grand Goober Ball, and the Halloween dance at the country club, where everyone dresses in costume. And I’ve got a mud bog in me I am dying to write. Yee-hah! Try writing that in the Big City!
5. Sex—yes, I said s-e-x. The location of your story affects when and where your characters do The Deed. In Demon Hunting in Dixie, Brand, the hero, gets his van cherry popped when a certain Southern gal has her wicked way with him in the back of a delivery vehicle. Do that on a busy city street and you’ll get a ticket! Plenty of woods for making whoopee in and around Hannah. In the novella, The Bride Wore Demon Dust, Bunny and Rafe make love on the beach with the moon and the stars for lighting and the ocean waves as a soundtrack. In Demon Hunting in the Deep South, Evie and Ansgar get it on in a backwater lagoon. Talk about the call of the wild! In Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar, Beck, the heroine, has a very romantic interlude with the sternly handsome captain of the Dalvahni on her porch overlooking the river. All of these love scenes were driven by location.
So remember: Location, location, location. My books wouldn’t be the same without Hannah. She’s as vivid and alive as any place I’ve ever been.
As we say in the South, she’s a real character.
Giveaway! I'm giving away three copies of Demon Hunting in a Dive bar. Leave a comment and enter your name to win! (US only) (I will announce the winners tomorrow, with instructions on how to send me your address.)
[Updated at 8:00 p.m., January 24, 2013]
The winners of the 3 books are:
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your
snail mail address! You have until 8:00 p.m. January 28, 2013, Central time.