One of my new goals for the rest of the year is to feature more New Adult books and authors on my blog. I am excited to introduce the new release from Jennifer Comeaux, Life on the Edge.
It is such an amazing gift to be able to set a scene with words that enable the reader not only to see, but taste, smell and feel where a story takes place. Jennifer shares how she created her setting into a living breathing character.
Researching setting and building my characters’ world
It’s been said that the setting of a book can often become a character in the story. This happens when an author makes the location live and breathe, and the reader feels fully immersed in the place described on the pages.
When I first dreamed up the story for my book, LIFE ON THE EDGE, it was a house that determined the setting. I imagined my protagonist living in the Cape Cod townhouse in which I’d stayed a few summers earlier. The charm of the townhome had stayed with me, from the cozy bottom floor kitchen to the rooftop deck, complete with a view of the bay and a never-ending sea breeze. I wanted my heroine Emily to live there.
From that Hyannis house grew the rest of the backdrop to the story. Emily is a figure skater, so she needed a place to train. A few towns away there’s an ice rink, where Nancy Kerrigan once skated. Check!
A couple of summers ago, I revisited the Cape to tour more of the places I referenced in the book. Funny story from my trip–I’d seen online there was a Starbucks near the ice rink, so I’d used it in the book as the place where my two main characters hung out and got to know each other. Well, when I physically went to look for the coffee shop, I discovered it was actually located in the middle of a busy supermarket. Not exactly a quiet spot for chatting and enjoying a cup of coffee! So, I fudged reality a little in my fictional world.
Because Boston is one of my favorite cities and I’m very familiar with it, I decided to make it Emily’s hometown. It was during my third trip to Boston that I discovered neighboring Brookline and the area in which I imagined Emily growing up. I could picture her as a child, riding her bike along the quiet, tree-lined street, and walking with her dad to the Coolidge Corner T stop to catch the Green Line train to Fenway Park. With these images in my mind, I started to fill out Emily’s backstory, which helped me know my heroine better.
Since Emily is an Olympic-eligible skater, LIFE ON THE EDGE takes her to a number of competitions in a variety of locations–Paris, Tokyo, and Vancouver, to name a few. I haven’t visited all the places I wrote about in the book, so I did online research in order to accurately describe them. The internet is a writer’s best friend!
Online information can only give so much insight, though. Experiencing a story’s setting first hand provides invaluable sensory data–the sights, the smells, the sounds that can’t be appreciated through a computer screen. You can feel what the characters feel as they live the story.
Blurb: Nineteen-year-old Emily is new to pairs skating, but she and her partner Chris have a big dream – to be the first American team to win Olympic gold. Their young coach Sergei, who left Russia after a mysterious end to his skating career, believes they can break through and make history.
Emily and Chris are on track to be top contenders at the 2002 Winter Games. But when forbidden feelings spark between Emily and Sergei, broken trust and an unexpected enemy threaten to derail Emily’s dreams of gold.