Girls Write Out
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Last week we went out of town. We stayed at the French Lick Resort and half a mile down the road at the West Baden Springs Hotel. These hotels are in the middle of a remote Indiana county and yet they are absolutely beautiful! It seems back in their day (early 1900s) people came to these hotels to experience drinking and bathing in the mineral waters from their springs. Supposedly the water had some sort of healing power.

Anyway, the protagonist in my next book owns a chocolate spa (you’re surprised, right?) in a fictional town near this place and that’s why we visited. I wanted to get a feeling for their spas—the very thing this town has been known for. Yes, I wished it had been located in Hawaii, but what can I say, Indiana just has way too much to offer.

So what helps you decide what setting you will choose for a book you write, and as a reader does setting matter all that much to you?


P.S. One more thing I have to tell you, this just cracked me up! They have several stores in the hotel. Even a Harley store! There were bikers everywhere. So this sweet little lady who looked to be 75 pounds of skin and sinew walked up to us, looked at us through coke bottle lenses and said, “Could you point me to the Harley store?” Now there’s one for the books.
Diann Hunt  
posted at 8:44 AM  
  Comments (13)
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At 9:37 AM, Blogger Kayla said...


I love setting. It makes everything really come alive in my mind and it makes me want to visit certain places mentioned in my books. Honestly, the settings of fictional books were the only things that made me realize that I could and maybe even should leave my small town.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Cracked me up. too. Reminds me of one of mine that's "for the books." An elderly man in Wed. night prayer meeting stood and thanked the Lord for helping him through the removal of his bladder stint that day. "That thang looked just like one of them kids' sippy straws and just as long, too. I asked the doctor if I could have it!"

I have a bunch of these stories, living the kaleidoscopic life of a pastor's wife. Laughter does good like a medicine...

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Oh my goodness, Kristy, that's hilarious!!! Aren't people fun?!

Kayla, isn't it cool how settings can pull you out of your small town and place you anywhere?! I love it. But I have to admit, my heart gravitates toward the small town settings.

At 11:30 AM, Blogger CHickey said...

My settings are usually the place I love the most. The Ozarks!

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

ROFLOL! That'll be me, Di, when I'm 85. :o) My dh and I ride our motorcycle a lot. Although, I must admit, we prefer the smooth ride of a Honda over the shake, rattle and vibrate of a Harley. I can tell the sound of a hog from a mile away. LOL

Glad the waters did you good.

So far, I haven't traveled to any locations, but choose places I've either lived or already been. But that may change soon, if I have my way. :o) I'd like to go back up to Albany, NY, to revisit the capitol where I lobbied for a couple of years. I need to see how they are using the newer technology.

At 7:46 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I don't care if I went into debt. I would not have left that spa without a treatment!! I could HURT that doctor of yours for scaring the life out of you and doing NOTHING quickly. Let me at him!

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Maybe she was buying a gift for her grandson. LOL

Setting is HUGE for my books. It's the first or second thing I decide on a book.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Annie said...

setting is so important. books come alive in the descriptions of the setting and what the location is like. Part of the reason that I love the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series is because of Kristin's descriptions of San Franscisco. I've never been there, but I can imagine exactly what it's like. And now that I live up here in North/Central CA, and can actually visit, I know what I want to see. So thanks K! :-) And great post Diann... the little old lady sounds just like my grandma!! :-)

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Crystal Warren Miller said...

My husband and I went to this same place in June for our 26th wedding anniversary! Wasn't it beautiful? And FULL of history and intrigue. We played golf. ha

I couldn't get over how French Lick was only about a town of less than 4000 and here's this HUGE resort with the West Baden down the road. Chris' cousin did the sound systems for the one we stayed in. What I liked was when we went to breakfast--a buffet--we were escorted to a table, served our coffee, and then she pointed us to the buffet--like we didn't see it. (It was huge, trust me, the coke-bottle glasses lady could've seen it.) Ah, lifestyles of the rich and really, really unfamous!

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

Setting is a big part of why I'll purchase a book. For example, my favorite vacation spot being the UP - well, I sort of gravitated toward Colleen's "Without a Trace". I also love Montana and anything Northwest so Tracie Peterson's books always grab me.

If I ever write a book, I'm definitely into real settings - I don't have enough imagination, Diann, to make up imaginary characters AND an imaginary small town! (Kudos!) I think I'd go with Chicago because it's gray and windy and would be something a lot of readers could relate to, if I was writing modern/suspense. Or, if I was writing historical, I'd have to just pick the midwest plains because, hey, we know farming around these parts! :)

OR!! I'd pull off my recent tour through Europe and go for Venice, Swiss Alps, or perhaps Salzburg.

Too many choices. Diann, you just opened a can of worms for me!! :)

At 2:00 AM, Blogger Anna Marie said...

Yes, setting is everything!.
I Love to get the feeling that I'm right there with who ever I'm reading.
It's part of what I love about reading, it's the escape
to places I never been!
And Yes small town are the best!

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Great hearing what you all think about settings! It's fun to dream, isn't it?

Crystal, could you believe West Baden Springs Hotel? I LOVE their flower gardens and the inside is absolutely amazing! I definitely want to go back. It's the perfect place for an anniversary celebration!

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Chocolate spa? Sign me up! {grin}

Really though . . . .setting. As long as it's realistic, I'm good. I will admit that when setting ends up being someplace I know well, it does spike my interest, but as long as it's well developed and the story's good, it can be set just about anywhere.


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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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