Summer,travel, book settings

pictures2011 038

Butterflies aren’t static, they travel widely, like authors’ stories.

Not long ago, I wrote a blog post using setting as character, then most recently I wrote about one of my most favorite places in the Hawaiian Islands. So now that it’s summer, we’re all thinking of taking trips, no matter how long, short, close or far.

Planning a trip to Chicago this summer, for starters, but I’m also “percolating” an idea and a new setting for another novel. I’m considering starting with a Midwest setting and adding a setting in Greece.

As readers, what are your favorite geographical settings? The U.S. Europe, Islands, Asia?

Happy reading and traveling this summer!

Pam

Advertisements

Kalalau Valley, Kauai, Hawaii

Since the tag line of my blog, The Write Inspiration is to experience life, travel, be inspired and write, I thought I’d pen a bit about Kalalau Valley since I’ve traveled there, am always inspired when visiting and have a different experience each time I’ve had the opportunity to return. But I’ve never written about it, so I’d like to share it with you.

As with many photos, they can certainly give you an idea, but often can’t compete with the actual view. I keep a framed photo in my living room, and yet when I’ve visited I’ve forgotten to some extent how deep this valley is, (around 4,000 feet+/-) from above, how majestic and dramatic the cliffs are and the overall beauty down to and including the Pacific Ocean. It’s mesmerizing.

I’ve stood there looking out, barely able to hear the ocean. Sometimes there are waterfalls, but they’re not audible. Clouds can rush in, especially by afternoon and cover it as if it weren’t there.

I also enjoy seeing people who walk up to the lookout for the first time. They’re floored, making comments such as “awesome,” “we should have brought our chairs and sat here all day,” or “everything is right here, the cliffs, trees, and ocean, everything.”

Before taking a helicopter ride over Kauai and also the Kalalau Valley, a sign at the helicopter pad read, “You will have a spiritual experience on this flight.” I thought it a bit presumptuous at the time, but I must admit they were right.Kalalau_Valley2_616_320_cy_100 (1)

 

 

Pam’s Author Interview

Meet Author Pamela Harstad

Halo my lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat featuring author Pamela Harstad

Having written diaries and journals from an early age, Pam now enjoys writing contemporary inspirational romance 13224290_10156848764675125_331354116_owith varied themes and settings. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When not writing, Pam enjoys traveling, music, nature and reading. She lives with her husband in Iowa.

Book blurb: HEALING JOURNEY

Tragedy. Devastation. Unanswered questions.

Kate Scott’s proposal from Jake Collins is put on hold when Kate’s mother is injured from a stabbing. Why, before surgery does Kate’s mother tell Kate she must speak to her grandmother?

When Kate comes across her mother’s journal containing cryptic passages, she’s mystified. As a tragic past unfolds, Kate’s present life is torn apart, and her future uncertain.

Will Kate overcome devastating information that will affect her life forever?

Can she hope for a future with Jake and turn her life over to God’s will?

Why do you write? I feel compelled, driven to write, and I do enjoy it.

What genre are your books? Inspirational contemporary romance, with a bit of intrigue and mystery.

What draws you to this genre? I’ve always liked stories about people and human interest. This includes relationships of course, where the romance comes in. I also like the idea of an underlying theme that speaks to people, one that they can relate to or learn from, which is the inspirational aspect.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? About four months, but the editing can take another month or two, depending.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I prefer mid-morning to start and sometimes the afternoon.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I don’t watch TV because it’s too distracting and I want to focus and let the words flow as best as possible. I do occasionally listen to music.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? For me, my Facebook page has done quite well. I notified viewers about the upcoming book and had my books pre-orderable. When they are released, those who pre-ordered are grouped together as sales giving a spike.

Any advice for aspiring authors? I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, but it’s true; keep writing. That alone improves your writing, just as exercise keeps you in shape. But belonging to a writer’s group is invaluable for networking and education opportunities. Also, good critique partners are a must.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special? She is a social worker and also has the given ability for energy healing through her hands. Yet, she is human and has tough decisions to make regarding her relationship, her mother’s stabbing and a family secret that tears her life apart.

Where do your ideas come from? I do have a good imagination, so if I think “what if?” I can usually come up with something. Also, life events and experiences definitely shape my novels.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? It deals with the tough issues of victimization and some mental health issues, all within the context of an inspirational genre.

Which writers inspire you? Too many to name, of course. But to name a few, Nora Roberts, Veronica Roth, J. K. Rowling, Karen Kingsbury and Susan Wiggs.

What is the current book you are promoting? Healing Journey which was just released May 16, but I also have a book, Erin’s Mission on sale for $0.99 on Amazon as well until May 24.

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser

A hospital gurney held her mother’s blood-laced body. Adrenalin raced through Kate Scott as she witnessed spasms rip through her mother.

The horrific trembling subsided and Mom opened her eyes. Her usual sparkling, blue eyes lost their shine, but lent the only color to her mother’s pasty complexion.

Kate moved closer and held her mother’s cold, clammy hand. “I’m here, Mom. You’re going to be all right.”

Mom’s breathy rush gave way to pressured speech. “Sure I will. But someone came out of nowhere tonight. He grabbed me from behind. Large hands, a shiny blade. Sliced into me twice.”

Her mouth gaped open. The image sickened her. “Oh, Mom, how awful. They’ll take you to surgery soon and take care of everything.”

“I tried to scream, but he covered my mouth. I couldn’t get a look at his face. Something familiar about him, though. I can’t place it.”

What a shocking, nightmarish blur. Unreal. It couldn’t be. Who would do this? Kate needed to do something for her, anything, but she couldn’t think.

“The police will find him, Mom. Save your strength.”

Her voice stripped down to a murmur. “My hands feel numb.”

The convulsive shaking started again and she tried to warm her mother’s icy hands. She pulled the white blanket up higher near Mom’s neck. Kate’s eyes grew watery and her voice hitched. “There, Mom.”

“I made so many mistakes with you girls over the years. I wish I’d been more open, especially with you. About what happened. Funny how revelations like that come to mind at difficult times.”

What in the world could she be talking about?

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? Kate, the heroine, who deals with difficult issues and must learn to grow, forgive and heal through it all.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Spread enough love and healing to impact many lives.

Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? It is somewhat difficult, because we all have that inner editor on the lookout as we read our work. But it’s also good to have been away from the story so that you can read it with “fresh eyes,” which gives you a different perspective and way to look at your work.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Not to be a quitter. There is great satisfaction in being creative and sending others a message, even through difficult times.

What book are you currently reading or just finished? Where Yesterday Lives by Karen Kingsbury.

What do your fans mean to you? Everything. I always hope that someone can relate to or derive something from my books.

Is there anything else you would like to add? Thanks to Mercedes Fox and those who took the time to read the interview.

Many thanks Pamela! For more about Pamela and her books, follow the links below:

https://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwmercedesfo-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B01F4MCQ5K&asins=B01F4MCQ5K&linkId=79b50eb2271fea10e55d1ae75e9f60e4&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

Website / Blog / Facebook / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram

Setting as character

While I’ve mentioned I like to travel and create different settings in my stories, I’d like to mention setting as a character itself in a book. For instance, what would GONE WITH THE WIND be without the old south and the civil war, which definitely adds to the drama and story of the characters? Yes, it would still be a great novel, but think how the war and culture of the south affected the characters’ motivations and lives. I’m sure you can think of a lot more books where setting is a great foundation to a story.

When I set up my author page on Facebook sometime ago, I didn’t think about the photo image I placed there in relation to my new release, HEALING JOURNEY. I chose it as a peaceful, pleasant garden scene which happened to be from a photo I took over a year ago. However, Healing Journey is set in Florida and the heroine finds reprieve in this particular garden, Heathcote Botanical, as well as along the Atlantic coastline. The image above was taken from the Jensen Beach, Florida, Atlantic coastline.

Setting does not have to be a dominant presence to make a book great. But if you’re interested in settings or travel, the next time you read a novel consider how much the setting does relate to the book.

Happy reading and traveling,

Pam

https://amazon.com/author/pamelaharstad

 

Palm Trees, Heathcote Botanical Garden

I once remember Katherine Hepburn stating in a television interview that if she were a tree, it would be a strong oak. Perfect for her, I thought.

Although I live in the Midwest where oaks and various deciduous trees are in abundance, I would choose the palm as my tree. I like that it’s flexible, has many variations, thrives in warm weather, and has fronds that whisper in the wind.

Does that describe me? To an extent, yes.

More important, it’s amazing how nature can affect our feelings, moods and ideas, even inspire us to write, whether in a diary, journal or novel. Case in point, Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce, Florida is one of the settings in my novel to be released late this spring.

But there are many things that inspire us in life and in the world. I hope to share more of them with you.

 

%d bloggers like this: