Every fiction book needs a setting – a place and a time in which the story takes place. I love lighthouses so I research different ones and use them as my settings. So far I feature three different lighthouses for each of my three books. Lighthouses offer intriguing settings for readers, especially if a writer uses sensory language where readers can visualize what it looks like, sounds like, etc. My third book features a lighthouse that combines another passion of mine – castles! This lighthouse resembles a castle with twin towers! I love writing stories that spotlight many lighthouses I read about, or of which I have a model at home.
Two of these lighthouses I personally visited, and the third I researched through books, manuals, and the Internet. Located on the northeastern coast of the United States, these beauties protect many types of vessels. I wrote my stories in these regions set in the present time. Since I grew up and live in Iowa, research for these areas was necessary! A wonderful by-product of research for writing resulted in tons of new learning. For example, when researching a lighthouse found on an island, I learned about the thick fog that rolls in and engulfs the island every night and lifts each morning. That was totally foreign to me living in the midwest!
Another benefit for me was the visible majesty of these historic beacons, and all of the history and legends attached to each one of these lighthouses. My settings guided my plot in each story due to the uniqueness of each location and design. I discovered even though I admired lighthouses most of my life, immersing my characters in them required me to learn about how they functioned in the past and present day. As an author, I can’t “wing” information just because I write fiction books. I risk credibility with my readers, especially those who live near, or in lighthouses, on islands, or near the areas of which I write.
If you are an author, what is unique about your settings ? If you are an avid reader, what settings do you enjoy most, and why?