Denise asked: Did you base your coffee/bookstore/reading room in Happily Ever After on a real coffee/bookstore/reading room in MN or somwhere else? Your description of this place – you can almost smell the coffee brewing and imagine what book you could be reading while sipping your favorite coffee.
The Footstep of Heaven Bookstore and Coffee Shop lived in my imagination long long before it ever made it onto the pages of Happily Ever After. I based the shop upon a cute yellow Victorian in the vacation town where I spent my summers. It had a sprawling porch, and a cute upstairs window, and had been converted into a bakery that made succulent cinnamon rolls dripping with frosting. It was from this memory that I took the pieces of Mona’s store, adding in my “research” visits to local coffee shops and quant bookstores to find the smells and feel I was looking for.
I think it’s vital for an author to create distinct places for readers to latch onto a story. Setting is the unspoken character of a story, and contributes its own conflict. A story without setting is like watching a movie against a blue scene. So I search for specific details that will create mood and emotion for a reader. And the easiest way to do that is to find a place that I already love and build on that.
Thank you for asking!
(Susan May Warren spent the summer collecting “Ask and Author Anything!” questions, about life, writing and anything (within reason) her readers asked. Stop back every week this winter to read the answers to those questions!)
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