Monday, August 7, 2017

Setting as a Character by Annette M. Irby

Beach chair and sea ^

Name your favorite place. Describe your happy place. For me—the beach. Saltwater is best, but a freshwater lake is also relaxing for me.

As a writer, we might choose to write about our favorite places. Perhaps your favorite place isn’t a “place” exactly, so much as it’s a time. I have lots of writer friends who write historicals. Or maybe you prefer to write about a make-believe land and create a world for the sci-fi marketplace.

Our family loves beach vacations. The sand, saltwater, marine life, and mysterious depths of the sea inspire me. So one summer day, I went looking for a book to take me there. A summertime read that would let me escape to the beach. I was specifically looking for a compilation of novellas that were set along the coast. No luck. Most of the novella compilations that year were set on ranches, which are great, but generally aren’t too beachy. So I decided to write a novella set on the water.

That novella turned into a full-length novel and became the book I’m featuring below.

In this story, I use Friday Harbor, Washington, and the Salish Sea almost as a character. The setting lives. I immerse the characters, and hopefully the readers, into its beauty. The setting is moody—sometimes a marine layer fogs in the harbor, chilling the residents. The setting sparkles with diamonds on a sea of blue, or stars on a velvet night sky. The setting woos the characters (just like our favorite places woo us). The setting challenges my characters—deep water can harm people, even good swimmers. 

Hopefully readers will taste the grilled salmon and the rich fudge, and smell the salty air, crunch the crushed seashells underfoot on the shore, and feel the frigid water wash in on the incoming tide. Hopefully, the song of the gulls and eagles crying overhead will inspire them. And the views of the orcas performing for tourists will give them a moment of living vicariously through the book, through the setting.

How about you? What’s your favorite place? Have you written about that location? Would you like to? I’m working on a series set in my favorite place—the Salish Sea and Puget Sound. It all started with a dream and a visit to the setting, where I fell in love.

Write on, friends!

Releasing 9/1/17 from Mountain Brook Ink. The e-book pre-order link is now live. 

FLI Friday Harbor, WA
Will keeping his promise lead to another broken heart—or help them find love again? 

Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. She’ll have to face her past and overcome her concerns about the future to make it through the summer. 

Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. He’s hoping the incoming stodgy professor will help resurrect the failing business, but he’s not prepared when that professor turns out to be Mikaela, his former fiancée. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue her if she ever returned to the island single. The more time they spend together, the easier it is to keep that promise, though she still plans to leave at the end of the season. How much will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela?


Annette M. Irby *
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:

* Author  Photo Credit: Sarah Irby of Irby Photography
^ Beach chair photo credit: Pixabay

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