Author’s Guest Post
Setting the Scene – Scenery as a Character
What’s the most important thing in a book? Some people will say plot. Others will say characters. Still others will say the writing itself.
But somewhere in there is the setting. It sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Setting isn’t at the top of most people’s lists but it’s often what draws people to a book whether they realize it or not.
A small town with a hidden secret sets the stage for an intriguing mystery. A stormy island where guests are trapped with a murderer is a classic set up for a gripping tale.
And how fun is a creepy castle with secrets lurking around every corner? This is the location that sets the scene for the Cate Kensie Mysteries. As an American, the castle is automatically intriguing to Cate when she arrives. There’s so much to explore, she figures she’ll spend the rest of her life discovering the small intricacies of the castle.
Toss in a few secrets hidden behind those castle walls, and this mystery series takes off.
Readers have asked me specifically why I decided to place the castle in Scotland. I had a few reasons. First, a large part of my heritage comes from the UK (over 50% in fact!). It felt natural to look to my background for a setting. On top of that, much of the fiction I read growing up was set in the UK, so it provided a familiar setting to write in.
So, I narrowed the region, but why Scotland specifically? First, the natural beauty in the country made it an easy choice. Cate’s experiences with the country make for an entertaining story in and of themselves. On top of that, Scotland enjoys a bit more privacy than other locations. Nestled in the highlands, fictious Dunhaven Castle holds a secret that’s a bit easier to keep since it’s more out of the way than, say, Buckingham Palace! It also helps keep those pesky rumors trapped in the highlands, only escaping here and there as people travel outside of the region, especially in the olden days.
Cate’s castle isn’t the only one in my arsenal either. As Duchess of Blackmoore, Lenora Fletcher’s stories are also set in an amazingly ominous castle in the Scottish Highlands.
Of course, Scottish castles aren’t the only great setting. Not all my books are set in Scotland or even a castle. But they are vital to all my storylines. From a gothic house on the rocky coast of Maine to major archeological sites across the globe, setting is like another character to me. Bringing to life a great setting for the reader is as important as painting each character in vivid and three-dimensional color.
I truly hope the settings I write are as alluring to readers as the story itself.
About Danger at Dunhaven Castle
Danger at Dunhaven Castle: A Cate Kensie Mystery
4th in Series
Publisher: A Novel Idea Publishing, LLC
Number of Pages: ~400
Digital ASIN : B09GYKD84F
Aberrations in time.
Who is haunting Cate’s nightmares?
Months after solving two mysteries involving her ancestors, time-traveling, castle-dwelling Countess, Lady Catherine Kensie, still suffers from haunting nightmares. Chased by a mysterious man, Cate ponders who could be haunting her dreams and disturbing her sleep. She’s also smack dab in the middle of a brand-new research project, having found journals belonging to the Scottish castle’s original owner.
As Cate digs into the castle’s history, not only do her nightmares become more frequent and more frightening, but Cate also begins to experience strange phenomena with the time portals enclosed in the castle walls. Controlled by the mysterious heirloom timepiece she received as part of her inheritance, Cate is shocked when she begins to slip in and out of other time periods despite not activating the mechanism that controls them!
Can Cate learn the secret to control the time portals and discover who haunts her dreams before she finds herself lost in time?
About Nellie H. Steele
An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.
An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies! A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.
She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.
Publisher Website: www.anovelideapublishing.com
Amazon (ebook preorder is currently live. Book will be offered in eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audio).
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