by Cate Masters
Aloha ladies! Thanks so much for having me as a guest at Desert Island Keepers. The gorgeous island image on your site makes me crave an umbrella drink. And a vacation. :) It’s actually my topic for the next three days: settings. I’ll also give away a PDF of the featured story each day to a random commenter.
Do you love exotic settings in your stories? As someone who doesn’t travel often, I sure do. I love researching them, too.
Although I’ve used other familiar settings in stories – my hometown, or cities in which I’d worked, normally I have to rely on other resources for research. For instance, for Rock Bottom, my upcoming contemporary novel due in June 2011, I sent for a visitor’s guide for Los Angeles to get a feel for the Malibu area. The Internet provides wonderful details, of course, and I was also lucky to find a magazine feature about a great house in The Bu. For now, I’ll have to visit virtually, and bring it to life in my book.
A few years ago, I was lucky enough to visit to Key West, Florida, with my family. What a beautiful, funky little island! History’s ingrained in its streets. Walking down Duval Street, I could almost imagine myself walking in the footsteps of previous visitors such as Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, John James Audubon, Tennessee Williams or U.S. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Carter and Kennedy.
Though there’s not much of a beach at Key West, the crystal aquamarine ocean surrounding the island is perfect for snorkeling, sailing in a glass-bottom boat and other water sports. This is the hotel where we stayed – quite the view, isn’t it? I didn’t want to leave.
My vacation grew more exciting when we visited several local maritime museums, where I learned the little-known history of the wreckers. These incredible heroes amazed me. They rescued shipwrecked passengers from certain death during fierce storms, battling nature herself. Afterward, they reaped huge rewards from salvaging the wrecked ship’s cargo, but to me, they earned every penny. In the late 1800s, no real diving equipment existed. The wreckers dove to the ocean floor while holding their breath for minutes while performing dangerous tasks.
Of course, I had to write about it. Freya’s Bower released my historical adventure romance novel, Angels Sinners and Madmen, on July 27.
Here’s the story blurb:
What happens in Key West, stays in Key West. Especially in 1856, when men outnumber women by ten to one. Wrecker Sam Langhorne came to Key West eight years earlier to forget his ruined engagement. When he rescues Livvie Collins from a watery grave, he’s swept away by her beauty and spirit. He’s sworn off love, but is soon captivated by Livvie’s wit–and her determination to remain single.
The death of Livvie’s father leaves her no other option than to sail to New Orleans to live with her brother Wendell. Though she hopes to support herself by writing novels, she’s sure Wendell will try to soon marry her off, and is determined to experience life to its fullest before reaching New Orleans.
Sam is handsome and attentive, constantly surprising her with his intelligence and his interest in current literature and happenings. She gives herself to him in a night of passion so she can know the true emotion at least once in her life. But can she save herself after she arrives in New Orleans?
The first chapter is posted on my web site at http://www.catemasters.com/angels.html, along with an excerpt. I hope you’ll read it and let me know what you think.
Historical novels require additional research, of course, to provide setting details accurate for the time. I felt fortune to find those resources on my vacation, not only in the museums, but in the books I picked up by locals who’d researched Key West and its history for many years. The historical documents at the local library, too, were like unearthing a treasure chest.
I hope you’ll find it as intriguing as I did. I’ll give away an ebook of Angels, Sinners and Madmen to a commenter. I’d love to answer any questions, or hear your thoughts. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you win!