Girls Write Out
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
SMALL TOWN LIFE

I've been thinking about settings lately, and I find that I'm naturally drawn to small town settings. Maybe that's because the thought of living in a city makes me break out in hives. But mostly it's because life in a small town is real. It forces you to have community. You can't step outside your house without seeing someone you know.

Yesterday my mother-in-law was having heart palpitations, and I rushed her to the ER where we discovered she's been having small strokes (I've suspected this since September and have been after her to go in for tests. She's going to be fine, btw.) Anyway, this is the same ER where I took my mom and my father-in-law in September. There were some of the same doctors and nurses there, who all recognized me. I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while.

There's no anonymity in a small town. Everyone remembers the day you broke your foot in front of the library and the fact your dad is the loudest yeller at the football game. Life moves at a slower pace here. The mailman stops to chat a minute, people you don't know feel free to look you up in the phone book and call (okay, maybe that's not a benefit. LOL).

I think the midwest has a special quality that way too. It could be because I've always lived in Indiana, but I think it's more than that. I think the midwest is real. We don't get influenced by the craziness that hits the coasts. We have our values in bedrock, and we're a little harder to shake up.

So I'm thinking about setting more books in the midwest. Maybe Wisconsin. Some of the best memories of my childhood are the summers we went fishing on Lake Chetek. Like the time my brother Randy and I were going to make sure our brother Rick caught his first fish. I distracted him and Randy put a fish on Ricky's hook, then we screamed and yelled for him to catch it. LOL

But here's the question of the day. What settings appeal to YOU? When you go to a bookstore, is there a setting that makes you think, "Oh I've got to read this?"

And hey, I'm about to leave for my favorite setting of all--Hawaii!! Malia, I'm coming your way!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:47 AM  
  Comments (18)
 
 
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18 Comments:
At 8:05 AM, Blogger Christy said...

Colleen,
I will almost read anything set in the south, especially if it's in Louisiana or Georgia. I guess it's because I'm a true Southern girl, even if I do live in Florida where it's Southern in geography only (well if you're south of I-10!).

 
At 8:30 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

Wisconsin rules!! If you need tours, I'm here! :)

Of course ... you can't beat Montana either.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Dana said...

I'll read anything set in a foreign land. I've loved books (such as 'Kissing Adrien' by Siri Mitchell) as much for the setting as the characters. I also love, love, love books set in a city. Cities just seem so much more interesting and full of life. I'm a small town girl and all its appeal has been lost on me. :)

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I love small town settings too. Right now, I especially enjoy New England harbor towns, which is why I'm writing a series set on Nantucket. :-)

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Tina said...

I love to read about small town, rural life, Colleen. Wyoming is sort of West/Midwest, so I know exactly what you mean.

I grew up in a small town, but lived in Sacramento before Wyo. While I loved the sun and busy life in Sac, I prefer my slower Wyo.

 
At 10:25 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

I went to my coffee shop at 5:30 a.m. this morning and ran into my chiropractor and she and I had a great conversation until 7. Small town life, my foot!! LOL

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

I like to set my stories in Florida if possible, because I'm a native Floridian and proud of it--since "natives" are few in number with all our transplants.

Off the subject, but (whine, whine) Denise, WHERE DO YOU FIND STUDIO GEAR EYESHADOW? I want to try your trick--eyeshadow as eyeliner.

 
At 10:29 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

You get coffee at 5:30 AM?? My goodness, I was still asleep. LOL
I can't socialize, big city/small town, at any hour before 7:00 AM. However, we could set up an appt. at 1 AM if you want 'cause I'll still be up :)

No, the worst thing about small towns is when you're in customer service and some guy comes in and goes ballistic on you, calling you every vulgar name in the book and then you run into him in an aisle at Walmart. I usually hide behind the Cheerios...

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Studio Gear makeup is at Ulta. You can look at www.ulta.com for it too. It's fabulous! You can do the same with MAC makeup too. It's at Macy's.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

Personally, I'm partial to small town settings and Louisiana is my favorite. DUH....could be because that's where my debut book is set. LOL But, if the author does it well, as you do, C, then I'm into whatever setting.

 
At 11:23 AM, Blogger Malia Spencer said...

Can't wait to see you Colleen! We'll have fun, whatever the weather. :)

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Can I join you and Malia? I adore Hawaii. I've found it's the only place in the world where I will actually slow down and relax - and the only place I'l lay in the sun. Ahh, I can feel the hot sun and tropical breezes that make laying out bearable. Sigh.

Okay, question at hand: I too, like small towns. Here in Georgia, we have some wonderful small towns. I live at the edge of one. We live in an unincoporated area, so have the address of one town, but live closer to another. I've adopted Sugar Hill as my home town.

Only difference here is that we're a burb of Atlanta, so all the smlal towns overlap one another. But if you stay in the center of town, you can't go far without seeing someone you know.

That's a wonderful feeling, one of continuity. Maybe that's why I like it. ;)

Hey! If you're going to Hawaii, does that mean you aren't coming to the Op Board meeting in frozen Chicago? How come we aren't holding the board meeting in Hawaii?

Something's wrong here. Ane walks off, scratching her head.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

If a book is set in Istanbul (Byzantium, Constantinople) I HAVE to read it. I live on the Asian side of the city (vs. the European side), in an area that was once called Chalcedon (one of the sites of an early church council). With that kind of history around me all the time, I especially like historic fiction (but it has to be historically ACCURATE fiction!) set in old Istanbul so that I can learn new things about my city.

I feel the same way about movies that are filmed here. Have you ever seen the James Bond flick THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH? Parts of that were filmed 20 minutes from where I live. Pretty cool. (Friends tell me they filmed parts of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, an earlier Bond
film, in Istanbul, too.)

Guess I'm partial, that's all. :0)

 
At 7:53 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

I love small town settings, too! Can't wait to read Denise's books set in Nantucket!!!

 
At 7:57 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Thanks, Colleen, for the info about the makeup.

Have a great trip.

 
At 12:04 AM, Blogger Angela Breidenbach said...

Hi Colleen,
I like all settings if I can "see" them from the writer's description. I read widely about anywhere in the world (from small towns to exotic locale) because I like to travel:-)
I had my step-mom out running errands with me (she's from a BIG city.) She noticed that up here in MT, people are much like your town. Everywhere I went took a few minutes longer because we had to chat with someone I knew, lol. And our town is 100K+. But it's still small enough to know everyone everywhere. Man, my kids have always thought I must be magic. I always hear what they don't want me to hear, lol. In fact, when one of our kids gets a speeding tkt, we get a phone call. We know before they get home! They are pretty good, btw.
Angie

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger Audra said...

I love novels set in Ireland, Australia, and Hawaii as well as various places in the US. I enjoy both city and country, beach and mountain settings. :) Anything exotic, anything peaceful and beautiful and anything fun lol. Okay, I'm easy to please I guess.

 
At 7:58 PM, Blogger Deena said...

I'm getting to where I love the South...I just love that small town, lazy feel to everything. But if it says "Colleen Coble" on it...I'll read it, no matter where it's set!

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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