Saturday, October 1, 2011
Location, location, location
by Kathleen Ernst (guest blogger)
Everyone who leaves a comment today will have a chance to win a free book.
One of the great joys of reading is “disappearing” into a book. My favorite authors are adept at bringing a location to life in my imagination.
In my Chloe Ellefson series, the protagonist is a curator at a large historic site called Old World Wisconsin, where I used to work. (That’s me churning butter, back in 1982.)
As the series progresses, the setting will vary as Chloe visits different museums and historic sites. In The Heirloom Murders, Chloe explores a Swiss community in southern Wisconsin. An old farmstead cheese factory, now restored, is the setting for several key scenes.
Because I write about real places, I try hard to be as authentic in my descriptions as possible. Book 3 (coming 2012) is set on two islands in Lake Michigan, and will feature the restoration of an old lighthouse. I’ve been a volunteer docent there, and know the site well. (See photo below)
Still, I made a point of visiting again during the first week in September, when the book is set. I walked the ground covered in each scene, checking not just logistics but also what flowers were blooming, birds singing, etc. I took lots of photos and my husband Scott took video. When local residents read the book, I hope the setting will seem completely familiar.
I love it when readers tell me that after reading one of my books, they want to visit the places described. Since distance makes that impossible for many people, Scott created Location Guides for the first two Chloe books. They include photographs of key buildings and places that are described in the books. When possible the Guides include historic images, as well.
You can check them out by following the links here:
Overall, reception to the Guides has been enthusiastic. One reader, though, said that after disappearing into Book 1 in the series, Old World Murder, she preferred to stick with the images created in her own imagination.
So, I’m curious. As a reader, would you appreciate seeing photographs of the places in your favorite books? Or would you prefer to conjure your own images, and stick with those? I’d love to know what you think!
I’m grateful to Poe’s Deadly Daughters for allowing me to celebrate publication of The Heirloom Murders: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery by guest-posting here. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you. Leave a comment, and your name will go into a drawing for a free book. The winner can choose any of my seventeen titles -- The Heirloom Murders, one of my American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel -- the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit my website, www.kathleenernst.com.