Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant

Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant
OUT NOW!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Please Welcome -- Shana Galen

Well, HOPEFULLY the new season isn't too far off. Now we've put January and February behind us, I know I am more than ready for a positive change of weather, longer days, sunshine and some sprouting flowers! How about you?

Today, I'm thrilled to have the lovely Shana Galen here to bring us some of that sunshine with her merry smile, her stunning new cover and a jolly chat about the sometimes upside down, inside out world in which we writers live and write.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please help me welcome Shana, and don't forget to leave a comment for her below!

Where Am I?
by Shana Galen
 
Have you ever packed for a trip somewhere with weather quite different from yours, and despite checking the weather in your destination, you still packed for your current location? I do this all the time. I attend several writing conferences a year, and many of them are across the country from my home base in Houston, Texas.

I remember the year I attended a conference in Chicago in April. In Houston, April is warm, temperatures in the 80s. In Chicago, the weather was in the 50s. Despite knowing logically that the 50s is colder than the 80s, most of the clothes I packed were sundresses and sandals. I froze the first day I arrived and tried not to venture out of the hotel where I was staying. It’s hard to imagine 50-degrees when you’re living in 80-degrees.

The converse is also true. A few years ago my family and I went to Disneyworld in December. Orlando and Houston have similar weather, but that week Houston was in the 30s and Orlando was unseasonably hot with temps in the 80s and low 90s. I still packed jeans and coats and sweaters and then was too hot as I walked around Disney.

I run into this problem a lot when I’m writing. It’s very common for me to be scheduled to write a Christmas novella set in England in the middle of a sweltering Houston summer. How do I do it? I use my imagination. A lot.

Most authors who write historical fiction have to use their imaginations. We can read first-hand accounts of life in London or Paris, and even if we’ve been to the cities on vacation, the London of 2015 is not the London of 1820. At most, we hope for a glimmer of what was to spur our imagination.

Another element of setting I pay attention to is location. My most recent release, EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, is set in London. It’s filled with descriptions of busy streets, street hawkers, jostling crowds, and of course, that ever-present London fog. But not all of London was the same. Part of the book is set in the wealthy area of Mayfair, while the rest of the book is set in the slums of Seven Dials. I really wanted to juxtapose the two settings, because even though they are geographically close, they are miles apart in setting. Mayfair had open spaces, clean (by the standards of the day) streets, posh houses, and was considerably quieter than other areas of London. I once read that the really rich had straw put on the streets in front of their houses so the sounds of carriages passing would be muted.
 
Seven Dials was dark and filthy with rubbish in the street and walks. Unkempt children ran free. Gin houses were prevalent, which meant drunk men and women were commonplace, as were prostitutes and thieves—not that there was much to steal in Seven Dials. I read an account from a physician who attended a sick person in one of the London rookeries, and he mentioned the room where the family lived was so dark, even in the middle of the day, he had to bring extra lamps with him to see.

Quite a contrast from those whitewashed mansions in Mayfair!

 My next book, WHILE YOU WERE SPYING, will be out in April, and while it takes place in England during the early 1800s, it’s set in the Hampshire and Yorkshire countryside. Not only was the country quite different from the city, Hampshire and Yorkshire have very different landscapes as well.

 It’s no wonder I sometimes look up from writing about a rainstorm in the chilly Hampshire countryside to be momentarily confused at the hot sun outside my window, with its view of the sprawling city.

 Readers what sorts of settings do you enjoy? London? New York? Small towns? Exotic locations? One person who comments will win a copy of EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN (open internationally).

 

Earls Just Want to Have Fun--on sale now!

21 comments:

  1. Set your novels in Highlands of Scotland. All those wee crofts and crofters with blazing log fires......

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    1. Oh, I think my next series will be partly set in Scotland. I've had Scotland on the brain for a few years now...

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  2. Thank you so much for hosting me, Jayne!

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  3. Shana, Love your books, I'm reading Earl's just want to have Fun, I had to borrow it from a friend, so I'd love to have a copy

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    1. What a nice friend! So glad you're enjoying the book.

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  4. Shana, I too enjoy your plots and characters. And I like that you put several heroes/heroines together in multiple stories. Therefore I can continue the stream of connections for several books, prolonging my enjoyment. And Scotland would be nice too.

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    1. Thanks so much! For me, it's fun to create a world and stay in that world for a little while.

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  5. I enjoy all kinds of Historicals set in Pre-WWI, anything after that seems to modern to be called historicals ;) LOL
    However my preference is Regency, England and also any time frame at the Highlands. Now and then I may read other "locations" but I tend to come back to my two loves =D
    JoannaM

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    1. Joanna, I'm the same. I like to read widely, but I tend to come back to the Regency.

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  6. I like visiting England and Scotland the most. Castles, cities, anywhere is fine. I have to admit that characters are more important to me than the setting.

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    1. Very true. The characters have to be first and foremost!

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  7. I love setting in small towns for their intimacy, but New York & London for their excitement (people, night life).

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    1. Great cities! I tend to prefer the bigger city stories too.

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  8. I love all things Regency, but I just discovered I like Georgian settings very much :-)

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  9. Hi Shana! I enjoy reading about all types of locations. Since I don't get to travel much I love reading about all kinds of real or fictional cities ranging from small towns like Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor to the more metropolitan New York City. I also love traveling back in time to Regency England and the Scottish Highlands. That is what makes reading so much fun, the ability to be transported to anytime in history or anywhere in the world!

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    1. I like Jill Shalvis's Lucky Harbor too! It's sometimes fun to read books set in places I've been--like New York. It makes me want to go back, though!

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  10. Hi Shana love your books! I like London and Seven Dials.

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    1. Thanks! I've learned so much about them both.

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