When done correctly, the setting can take on a life of its own. One of my favorite examples of this is from the Harry Potter series of novels. The moving staircases, the animated portraits, the floating candles in the dining hall. Not many words were necessary to bring Hogwarts to life, but the setting became a vital component of the series for me, nonetheless.
In my current WIP, I’ve created a fictional town called Corinthia set on the seaboard of Rhode Island. I named it Corinthia because I’ve based the trilogy quite loosely on the famous biblical quote:
1 Corinthians 13: 13 — As it is, these remain: faith, hope, and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.
Describing Corinthia has been fun for me because for the first time, I’m describing a place not even remotely based on Western Pennsylvania. The first novel I wrote, Mystery Heir, was written on spec. The city already existed, and it was kind of like Anytown, USA. So I just pictured my hometown, kept the descriptions pretty vague, and ran with it. The Cathedral Lake series is set in the fictional town of Cathedral Lake, but in my mind, it’s in Western PA. And there’s nothing fictional about the Medici Protectorate series. Pittsburgh is right on the front cover of the very first book. We don’t stay there, but we start there. Even Love Set in Stone takes place in the Steel City.
Corinthia is different.
Corinthia is giving me the chance to stretch my writerly wings and create something from scratch. I feel like Norman freaking Rockwell. Maybe it’s a bit cliche the way I imagine New England, but it wouldn’t have the rep if there wasn’t some truth to the beauty of it, right?
Of course, not everything about New England is apple orchards and Kennedy’s Camelot.
I have created a long boulevard—let’s call it Worship Row—of churches, temples, synagogues… all at one end of town. Just one long, winding street dotted with nothing but worship houses and burial grounds. It’s, well, let’s just say most towns don’t have a street quite like that.
When Brenden McCall discovers it, he’s perplexed by it. The reason the town is laid out that way? Well, it’s a mystery.
Just one of the quirky things I’ve come to love about Corinthia.
Whispers for Faith comes out later this year. I hope the setting comes to life for you like it has for me, and I hope you choose to check it out. Maybe this little tidbit above has piqued your interest.
If not, maybe the following little snippet will:
The church was one of several houses of worship on a long, winding, tree-lined avenue. They stood like statues, dotting the street—sculptures in God’s garden. Brenden had never seen so many denominations lined up near each other, separated only by parking lots, parks, and what he thought were private lane entrances. Only on closer examination did he realize those iron-gated paths were actually driveways into cemeteries. Catholic next to Lutheran. Across the street and down a bit, Methodist beside Baptist. Farther on, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Apostolic. A few non-denominational buildings he could only identify by crosses on their doors and street-side marquees with Biblical quotes. Near the bottom of the hill, two elaborate structures stood across from each other, and a third—the most ornate of the three—capped the cul-de-sac. As he turned around, he realized they were Muslim, Hindu, and Jewish temples.
It was the strangest street he’d ever traveled. Kind of like a strip mall for worshipping. If the street hadn’t been so beautiful, the area so tranquil and peaceful, he’d have found it tawdry. Instead, he was surprised.
He found it comforting.
So there’s your first look at Whispers for Faith. Stay tuned. There are a lot of releases coming your way this year, and this is only one of them.
So what do you think? Settings? Do they make or break a book? Can you take ’em or leave ’em? Are you a plot person? A character person? Need it all? Let’s talk about it.