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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Guest Post + Giveaway: Author Elisabeth Barrett on Crafting a Small Town World

Picture of romance author Elisabeth BarrettI'm so pleased to welcome debut author Elisabeth Barrett today to discuss her newest release, Deep Autumn Heat, and how she created the world in which the novel takes place.

Elisabeth Barrett: I’d like to give a huge thank you to The Brazen Bookworm for hosting me as part of my blog tour for my debut novel, Deep Autumn Heat, which releases on July 9th. I’m very happy to be here! Today, I’d like to talk about crafting a small town world.

There’s nothing quite like living in a small town. Just one of the quirks of living in a tiny community is that you know everyone. My mom used to tell me to always look nice when I went out the door—even if it was just to run out to get a carton of milk—because I might see someone I knew. And she was right…I always saw someone I knew. It took a few times of me not looking my best for this to sink in. The flip side to this obvious negative is a positive—most of the time everyone knows where you are and looks out for you (and tells your mother they saw you).

Deep Autumn Heat is set in the fictional town of Star Harbor, Massachusetts, and is the story of two stubborn chefs who can’t help but fall in love. When Sebastian Grayson, chef-owner of New York City hotspot Helena, returns to his Cape Cod hometown of Star Harbor, Massachusetts to recharge, the last thing he expects is to find inspiration. But when he steps foot into the Lexie Meyers Kitchen and takes one bite of Lexie’s delectable coconut cake, he immediately gets hooked—on her.

When I started writing the Star Harbor series, I deliberately created a small town setting, for several reasons. First, I wanted to play up the idea of the hero returning to town a changed man. Seb was quite the hell-raiser as a kid. Returning to Star Harbor as a bad-boy-made-good made for a lot of fun scenarios with the locals. Which brings me to my second reason; in my mind, there is nothing more fun than local characters. They’re an integral part of the world, adding color, humor, and dimensionality. My third reason is simple: I love the sense of community in small towns. Each town has its own rituals and events. For example, Star Harbor has a well-attended Harvest Festival, where Lexie distributes samples of her fabulous cooking (she’s trying to launch a catering business out of her own, already-successful restaurant).

As you might guess, when crafting a small town, the devil is in the details. Just like building any other world, it’s the little things that make it real. Because Star Harbor is in New England, the locals needed to act like New Englanders. Polite, but a bit reserved when you first meet them, and with long memories. Star Harbor is on the water, so the landscape, architecture, and wildlife had to be carefully described (the sea birds include gulls, herons, and egrets, among others). Because I lived in Connecticut and Massachusetts, it was easier to get these kinds of details right, but I still did a lot of research. I also drew numerous street and town maps, which included houses, stores, and topography, to ensure I had everything in its right place. By the time I was finished with Star Harbor, it felt as real as my own hometown.

Giveaway: One commenter on my post will be randomly selected to win a NetGalley preview of Deep Autumn Heat (you can easily create a NetGalley account if you don't have one). Contest ends July 8th at midnight (EDT). To win, answer the question below:

Small towns or big cities: what’s your preference?

Book cover of Deep Autumn Heat by Elisabeth BarrettAbout Deep Autumn Heat:

In this sexy new Star Harbor romance series, featuring the too-tempting Grayson brothers, a celebrity chef turns up the heat for a local cafĂ© owner—and things start to sizzle.

Lexie Meyers decides there’s nothing sweeter than watching Sebastian Grayson’s perfect, wicked mouth devour her coconut cake. He’s hot, he’s hungry, and he’s sizing her up like she’s the best thing on the menu. But she’s been burned in the past and flings just aren’t her thing. Too bad Sebastian can’t resist a challenge.

Worldly, famous, and notorious with the ladies, Seb had planned a weekend of fishing and relaxation with his brothers. Until Lexie, with her kissable lips and frosty “get lost” attitude, makes him want to forget his culinary empire and create some magic with her. After he fires up his charm—including challenging her to a televised cook-off to break through her resistance—it’s now hotter in the bedroom than it is in the kitchen and Lexie isn’t sure whether she’s lost her mind . . . or just her heart.

View an excerpt of Deep Autumn Heat on Scribd: Click here.

Pre-order Deep Autumn Heat: Kindle | Nook | ITunes | Other Formats

About author Elisabeth Barrett:  Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicks off with Deep Autumn Heat (coming July 2012) and continues with Blaze of Winter (coming September 2012). Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. 

Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Romance novel book reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm

1 comment:

  1. I prefer small towns. I like the idea of everyone knowing everyone else and life never seems to be boring in a small town. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway:)


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