Many readers have commented on the settings in my books, often centered on the Oregon Coast or the Puget Sound area in western Washington. But why these beach settings? Why do they evoke strong memories that fuel my writing?
I grew up near Edmonds, north of Seattle. Many decades earlier, Edmonds began its existence as a logging town. Now this “friendliest town in Washington” boasts luxurious condos with sweeping views of the Sound, unique gift shops and boutiques, antique stores, and scrumptious bakeries--just to name a few. In summertime and early fall, colorful hanging flower baskets adorn the main streets, giving the town a festive, European ambience.
I remember as a small girl scouring the beach in Edmonds for shiny small rocks and shells, and the soft plopping sounds as I dropped each shell into my plastic bucket. Even broken shells would do! I remember the relatives who visited every summer without fail from the Midwest. They loved riding the ferry, even if it were only to the opposite shore and back. Often in the early evening, the women packed up a casserole, a simple salad, and beverages to tote to the beach where we’d spread out our feast onto wind-worn picnic tables. My dad would join us once he returned from work. There we’d eat, laugh, talk and gaze at the gentle waves lapping the shore. We could also see the lines of vehicles waiting to board the green and white ferries.
I remember my early teen years when my girlfriends and I’d walk to the beach during summertime. We’d spread out blankets, slather on cocoa butter, bake under the sun, and look for cute guys. With a briny breeze against our faces, the warmth radiating up from the sand, and the occasional wail of a train that rode the rails paralleling the beach, we were happy Beach Bums for the day.
Later during high school, our crowd I often drove to the beach on warm summer evenings. We built beach fires that scented the air with the salty smell of driftwood. We strolled barefoot, feeling the gritty sand between our toes. Later we huddled around the fire to toast marshmallows and solve the world’s problems--or so we thought.
So what about you? What type of environment awakens your senses and makes you feel alive and inspired? It might be a trail through a majestic Old Growth forest in the mountains, the high desert with its endless miles of tan sculpted hills, a ranching community nestled into a lush green valley, or a beach where, like me, you can commune with the seagulls.
The upshot is, to help make our fiction characters spring to life, we need to give them a vivid background setting portrayed through the use of the five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, and sound. In two of my recent re-released e-books, Sandcastles of Love (romance for teens) and The Fisherman’s Daughter (an adult romantic suspense novel), I’ve woven in many sensory details to make the characters and the story come alive—just as I’ve described the evocative sensory details in my brief autobiographical sketch above.
Be on the lookout for still another “beachy” book soon to be released as well: Free to Love. (Check out my author’s page on Amazon within the next couple of weeks or so to see when it goes live: http://www.amazon.com/Sydell-Voeller/e/B001JRZ0DU.) Free to Love, a contemporary romance packed with action and emotional tension, takes on a more serious marine theme that centers on oil spills in the ocean, injured seabirds, and our responsibility to the environment. Again, you’ll find the story sparkles with sensory descriptions.
All three beach novels are published by Books We Love Publishing (http://bookswelove.net), and I want to say thanks to this wonderful publishing group for all their hard work and dedication. Now I’ll include partial excerpts from the first two books. Happy reading!
Sandcastles of Love (YA novel)
When Logan Becker’s family embarks on a summer “house swapping” vacation in a beach town in Oregon, Logan is overjoyed. Similarly, Tricia Merrit, the daughter of the other family, is thrilled to be in the farm belt of Minnesota.
Logan falls in love with the beach boy surfer of her dreams, but soon she discovers he’s Tricia’s boyfriend. Logan’s dreams are shattered. Meanwhile, there’s another boy who is attracted to Logan—the totally uncool Grant Duncan who is busy trying to launch a campaign to clean the local beaches. Can Logan come to realize that true love often reveals itself in unexpected ways?
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sandcastles-of...490600&sr=1-15
Sydell loves for her readers to visit her personal website at www.sydellvoeller.com.