Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Joy Of Setting

Perhaps because I have a deep love of nature, adore the sound of rain slashing down outside [living in a dry climate, every drop is appreciated!] and am fascinated with geography and the countries and places of the world, setting is important to me in both reading and writing novels.

Living in Australia, I am blessed with some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery anywhere in the world. Not much surpasses our fabulous l-o-n-g sandy beaches and dramatic waves pounding onto the shore. I like nothing better [when I get the chance - I live inland] than walking for miles along the seashore with the wind in your face, feeling the ocean's exhilarating power beside you and being uplifted.

In my own novels, I have shamelessly showcased many scenic and inspiring Aussie locations. My first Pocket Novel, OUTBACK HERO, was set in my own cereal farming district in Victoria complete with crumbling homestead, bushfire and a happy ending. STARTING AGAIN was set among the green Gippsland lakes of eastern Victoria. A WHIRLWIND ROMANCE and NANNY WANTED were set in Melbourne, my home State's capital city. OCEAN BLUE is set on a fictional island in Australia's national jewel, the Great Barrier Reef.

 [Both of these views were taken in the region where I live.
Top: Looking across to the Grampians mountains
Bottom: view from Mount Arapiles, a rock climbing destination for enthusiasts]

My most recent novels, LOVING LUCY by Avalon Books and WOMBAT CREEK, a My Weekly Pocket Novel, were respectively set in my country Victoria hometown and in the lush pastoral sheep grazing country of the Western District south of where I live near the wool town of Hamilton.

My future Pocket Novel romance projects will be a series of trilogies set in a former gold mining village in the hilly north east of Victoria around Beechworth, along Australia's magical coastline, and in the outback highlighting the "big three" in Australia: sheep, wheat and cattle, set in South Australia, the West and Queensland to feature them.

 [Typical view of outback Australia. Gorgeous huh?]

As a reader, I love settings of both cosy and exotic places. So, vicariously, I have been to Asia, England, Malta and Venice ... you get the idea. If a novel blurb mentions the setting - as it should - that alone may enthuse me to dip into the story and see what I can learn and where I can go. I also adore reading historical novels and soaking up another era; always a fascinating journey.

I would love to hear about your favourite or most memorable place.


  1. Hi Noelene. It's a cliche to say the setting can become a character in itself, but it's true. Some of my favourite novels are Victorian, The Moonstone, Great Expectations and often combine my two great loves - that historical era and London. My most memorable place in literature is Venice. Stuck in time and eerily beautiful on a cold crisp morning in October - the film of 'Don't Look Now' caught it perfectly. Like many holiday destinations I prefer it out of season and would love to go in January. Your photo of the outback looks gorgeous, one day I will make it to Australia!

  2. How lucky you are to live where you do. The pictures are wonderful, thank you for sharing them.
    What you say about place is true, from the jostling Indian crowds to the remoteness of the Fens - each evoke their own specialness.

  3. I do so agree with you Noelene. I live in gorgeous Cornwall so it is the setting for lots of my novels. I was born in the Potteries so that also features heavily. Very much a part of the plot or characters. I've been lucky to travel to all sorts of places so have so memories to fall back on. Trouble is, if you don't visit for many years, everything changes! Thank goodness for the Internet .. makes research so much easier to check on things. Love Chrissie ( who still remains unable to post using anything but anonymous!)

  4. I've set my historical pocket novels in different places in the England that I know and was also interested to research the local history including Cornwall (THE SMUGGLER RETURNS), Brentford and the Chilterns (FATEFUL DECEPTION) and York and London (THE RESTLESS HEART). SECRETS AT CITY HOSPITAL, my first contemporary pocket novel, is set in a made up British city though.

  5. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures, Noelene. A lot of my pocket novels are set in the Peak District of Derbyshire, which is where I live, with beautiful scenery all around me, but I have also set two in America during the Wild West era. I've never been to America, but I watched The Magnificent Seven and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, so I figured I could wing it.

    Cara, ironically, the novella I've been editing for Siren, Command Performance, is set in and around the Venice area. I've actually been there, and used the experience of arriving there when it was snowing. I have never seen anywhere looking so pretty in the snow. It was like a Christmas card come to life.

  6. Sally, I can imagine that Venice in the snow was something else, how incredibly romantic! Even when it rains it's magical there. We had to wade across St Marks Square in the rain and sat having coffee with our feet being lapped by the overflowing lagoon - the place is just amazing, like some sort of fantasy land come to life.

  7. Noelene - brilliant pictures! Great post. Yes - location is as important to me as it is to you. As readers and authors, we feel the need to be transported, and then convinced.
    How interesting that you have been to Malta. My forthcoming novel Camera Obscura, is located there, in the main, as well as in France and Australia.

  8. Rosanne, I've been to Malta "vicariously" through reading your book Death In Malta. :) Loved it, as I commented on your blog recently.