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Giveaway (US/Int): Paige Cuccaro on setting the perfect scene

Giveaway (US/Int): Paige Cuccaro on setting the perfect scene

by davincikittieApril 24, 2012

Let’s give a warm welcome to Paige Cuccaro, author of Hellsbane!

What if TWILIGHT had been set in San Francisco, or if INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE had taken place in a small town in Idaho? Would the stories have been as good? Maybe. Would they have been as successful? Maybe not. Choosing the right setting for your story is as important as choosing the right character. In many ways the setting for a story plays as much of a role in the plot as the characters.

In TWILIGHT, the rainy over cast days of Forks made it possible for Edward and the rest of the Cullens to mingle with humans and pose as one of them. When the setting changed to sunny days it had a notable impact on the story.

New Orleans has always been a Mecca for the supernatural, and the rich culture and beliefs of the Creole people. Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE incorporated that palpable magic ghosting through the city to influence the beliefs and behavior of her characters.

So how do you decide on the perfect setting for your story?

Well, for me, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania was a great fit for my latest book, HELLSBANE for several reasons…

The city has a rich history from its early days being settled by the Dutch, to its dirtier years when it earned its nickname as the Steel City, to present day when it enjoys a reputation of friendly people with a love of great art, music, culture and kick butt sports teams.

My lead character, Emma Jane is a Pittsburgher, born and raised and the city offers the story some amazing backdrops. The overlook on Mount Washington, where visitors can take a ride on an incline and have an awesome view of the whole city, plays a role in two sword fighting scenes. Would the scenes have worked somewhere else? Maybe. But not as well.

Another scene takes place in Troy Hill, where Saint Anthony’s Chapel sits. The old church houses the second largest collection of religious relics in the world and those relics as well as the church have a direct impact on Emma Jane just as she discovering her new powers. I could’ve set the scene anywhere, but Saint Anthony’s was perfect because of those relics.

Aside from the great history, awesome cityscape, and amazing churches the other reason I chose Pittsburgh was because I personally knew and loved the city. I grew up just south of Pittsburgh and the city was a frequent destination throughout my life. All the places Emma visits, all the streets where the characters walk, talk, eat and sword fight, I’ve visited myself. Imagining them standing on the overlook, or eating at Primanti Brothers restaurant or standing outside the house on Cook Road was natural—easy.

Does that mean you can only set a story in a location you’ve been, or know well? Absolutely not. But like your characters, the better you know a setting the more real you can make it seem in the reader’s mind. And that’s always a good goal for any writer.

But for those stories that absolutely must be set in a location you’ve never been, I highly recommend, Google Maps. Their satellite and street views are awesome! I like Google image searches too. A lot of times you can find pictures taken by everyday people that really give you an authentic feel for a place. And finally YouTube is a great resource to find vacation videos, documentaries or whatever, that just happened to have been filmed on the street where you need your character to live.

Ultimately the setting of your story should be a living breathing, contributing character. It should be as much a part of the book as any character and if you took it away, or replaced it by another, the story just wouldn’t be the same. If your setting sets the story, then you know you’ve found the perfect spot.

~~~~~~~@ @~~~~~~~

Emma Jane Hellsbane always knew she was different, but she had no idea she wasn’t even human. Well, at least she’s half-human. She’s half-fallen angel, too, and now dear ol’ dad wants her dead. All the Fallen angels want all their troublesome offspring removed from the mortal coil so she’s trying not to take it personally. Besides, she wants him dead just as much. Her father’s death is the only way she’ll be forgiven for his sin, stop those pesky demons from trying to hack off her head, and have any hope at all of getting back to a normal life as a wicked slick Intuitive Consciousness Explorer. 

Of course, first she’ll have to figure out which fallen angel is her father, avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.

No problem. With a last name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was definitely born for the job.

See the GraveTells review of Hellsbane here!

About the author…

Writing was never a foregone conclusion for Paige Cuccaro. She once had dreams of being a psychologist, a pediatrician, a school teacher, a photojournalist, a bartender, and/or an EMT. And then she met her husband and her world came into focus. Being wife and mother are her highest priorities and greatest joy. But escaping to the fanciful, sexy worlds twirling through her mind is an absolute necessity. Putting those worlds, and the cornucopia of characters that people them, on paper is just plain fun.

Paige lives in Ohio, with her husband, three daughters, three dogs, three cats, a parakeet and a bearded dragon named Rexy, in an ever shrinking house. When she’s not writing she can be found doing the mom thing with a book in one hand and a notepad and pen in the other. Ideas come without warning and the best way to stimulate your imagination is to enjoy the imagination of someone else.

You can find Paige at…


Paige is giving away one e-copy of Hellsbane to a commenter on today’s post. To enter, leave a comment answering the following question, then fill out the Rafflecopter below!

What are some of your favorite settings for books and how much impact do you think they have on the stories?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About The Author
Sue "DaVinciKittie" Brown-Moore is a veteran romance blogger and reviewer and the primary voice for Sue has been shamelessly pimping book boyfriends since 2010 and has won several blogging awards with GraveTells. Sue is also a freelance Developmental Editor passionate about helping authors bring out the best in their stories. She loves reading romance, fantasy, and sci-fi and edits any genre she reads for pleasure. You can follow Sue's editing blog, with tips and tricks for authors, at
  • April 24, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Hi Paige! Really enjoyed Hellsbane. 🙂 Emma Jane is kick ass.

    Setting….I like places that I’ve been before – that’s always a fun thing, imagining the characters walking around some place I’ve been. I also really enjoy places that seem larger than life, like Nigara Falls or the jungle, a place where peril is imminent because the environment itself is alive and dangerous.

    • April 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      I’m so glad you liked HELLSBANE!! I do the same thing with my settings, especially places I go back to often. I see a building or a street where something major happened in the book and tell everyone I’m with…see that? That’s where Emma took on the Fallen angel. To me it’s like it REALLY happened! But I think my family’s considering getting me some therapy. o.0

  • April 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Thanks for being a guest on GT today, Paige!

    • April 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      I’m sooo thrilled to be here! Seriously, you have no idea. I LOVE this blog, the interviews, the reviews, its an awesome source for book lovers. Thank you so much for having me!!

      • April 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        You totally just made my day!! <3

      • April 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

        I agree, it’s an awesome site for book lovers, and the interviews and guest posts are especially great! I know DVK works really hard to get them and they’re always fun and unique. I’m really happy to get to be a part of the team here! 🙂

        And I look forward to reading your work Paige and seeing more of you around here no doubt 😀

  • bn100
    April 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Very nice post. I like books set in London and New Orleans. I think settings are important for books.

  • April 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    These were the comments left in the Rafflecopter. I should have been more clear that you have to put comments down here for them to be visible. Sorry about that!

    Paulette: Nora Roberts Born In books and her Deaht books. The books wouldn’t be the same with out thier Ireland and NYC locals.

    Natasha: I like settings in different countries or creppy settings.

  • April 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I think settings can be extremely important. My fav is of other countries outside of the US because I love learning about other cultures. If it’s done right with the right descriptions providing the right setting can really enhance a story.

  • Linda Thum
    April 24, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I love historical romances in a regency setting. I read fantasy too & it’s amazing how the authors build a whole different world. But i think the setting is secondary & it’s the characters & the storyline which makes the book.

  • Robin D
    April 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    I like the settings in areas I am familiar with, but I also liked Anne Rice choosing New Orleans for her setting, because New Orleans has such a unique history and allure. Any setting that is described as clearly and lovingly as you did would appeal though, I felt I could see it through your descriptions!

  • April 25, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I agree that settings can be pivotal. If the setting isn’t right, it can take away from the plausibility in your story, plus it can also set the whole tone of your book as well. I’ve read many books set in New Orleans, and while I understand why so many are set there, the same setting gets old, you know? So I’m looking forward to checking Hellsbane out; I’ve never been to Pittsburgh, nor read a book set there 🙂

    As for my own stories, they’re set in several different places, but places I’ve been for the most part, or places I’ve completely made up in an area I know well so that I have more freedom. I don’t want to have to do more research than necessary, so I’ll stick with what I know!

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