Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mystery We Write Blog Tour ~ Joyce Lavene

Why setting is important to A Haunting Dream

Setting is as important as any character is a mystery novel. Setting plays a crucial role in determining what the world is like where your story takes place.

Setting can be anything, anywhere, which conveys the mood, place and time of a mystery. It gives the reader a sense of who a character is, and what that character is experiencing. Creating a believable setting is vital to any fiction.

The story can be humorous or thoughtful. It can be scary or paranormal—loaded with ghosts and demons. It can take place in the past, in the future, or in present day. All of these details become real in your setting.

Make your setting as dynamic as possible. Don't throw in a bunch of unimportant facts that have nothing to do with the movement of your story. Use setting consciously to communicate specific information and achieve a particular effect on your audience.

In our Missing Pieces Mysteries, our sleuth is Dae O’Donnell. She is the mayor of her small town, Duck, North Carolina. Duck is a real place in the N.C Outer Banks. We visited the area frequently as much to give our readers real landmarks (Kitty Hawk, the Hatteras Lighthouse) as a sense of what it’s like to live in this place. Pirate and ghost stories abound here. It’s a much different life than Dae would have if we’d put her character in Raleigh!

Our next book in the Missing Pieces Series is A Haunting Dream (December4th).  We hope to transport our readers to Duck again with the smell of the salt air, the sounds of the sea, the feeling of living in a small town of less than 600 people. Our mayor is facing re-election in this book and she’s forced to work with a woman she fears to find a missing child.

Joyce Lavene writes bestselling mystery with her husband/partner Jim. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley and Charter Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. She lives in rural North Carolina with her family, her cat, Quincy, and her rescue dog, Rudi. Visit her at, Facebook/ Twitter: @authorjlavene,

Win a copy of A Haunting Dream, the fourth book in the Missing Pieces Mysteries, by leaving your name at my blog:


Patricia Gligor said...

I agree. Setting serves so many purposes in a novel. For me, the setting was what first inspired me to write my mystery series.
"A Haunting Dream" has me intrigued and it's at the top of my TBR list.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

A Haunting Dream is haunting me--I definitely have to read it.

Earl Staggs said...

Great essay on setting, Joyce. I used to fish at Rodanthe. I betcha fishing is good at Duck, too.

Joyce Lavene said...

Thanks, Patricia! I love writing settings!

Joyce Lavene said...

Clever, Marilyn! Mind if I use it?

Joyce Lavene said...

I'm sure you're right, Earl.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Very good advice, Joyce, and I couldn't agree more about the importance of settings.

cmgren said...

Can't wait to read your book! Love the series.

M.M. Gornell said...

Never tire of hearing how important setting is! Enjoyed your comments, Joyce, especially your insight that "It gives the reader a sense of who a character is, and what that character is experiencing." I sooo agree!


Collin Kelley said...

Adding this to my must-read list!

WS Gager said...

I keep rethinking my importance of setting and it keeps climbing to a higher priority.
W.S. Gager on Writing

Jake said...

Settings help we readers get our mental pictures in place for becoming engrossed in story. Thanks

marja said...

I like your comment about even time can present a setting. Great post!
Marja McGraw