Field Trips for Background Scenes
I am truly blessed to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only are we gifted with incredible natural beauty, but the area thrives in cultures and people from around the world. Microclimates give each town or city their own special flavor. You can go from the university town of Stanford straight into the redwood groves of rustic La Honda in less than a half an hour. There are industrialized zones tucked near historical areas, ethnic conclaves among glittering glass high tech office buildings, salt marshes, riverbeds, seashores, and estuaries all within a forty mile radius. Plenty of incredible settings for a bookshelf of novels.
My contemporary novels, Broken Build and Hidden Under Her Heart are set in this fascinating area. Broken Build is a Silicon Valley Romantic Suspense. I draw on my experience as a software engineer in a high tech firm with its strips of parking lots and shuttered dot.com buildings. It was easy for me to visualize every scene from Jen’s ghetto two-level apartment with bars on the windows to the CEO hangouts, upscale restaurants and tree-lined estates of Atherton and Saratoga. A simple day trip confirmed the site of Dave and Jen’s Santa Cruz kissing scene, although I enhanced the scenery and privacy available, adding a few cypresses and a more private cliff-side bench location.
Hidden Under Her Heart draws more on the fantastic Bay Area with trips to Pescadero State Beach and Purisima Redwood Creek Open Space Preserve. My daughter and I hiked both places, and yes, she did do it in flip-flops! The trails were well-maintained, dry and shaded. After the hike, we drove down Highway 92 toward Half Moon Bay and stopped at the small shops and boutiques along the strip just past the Christmas tree farms.
In the story, Maryanne and Lucas make glass pieces, a heart and a pumpkin. And guess what? There is an actual place where you too, can take a class and make a glass object. Half Moon Bay Art Glass is located in the parking lot of La Nebbia Winery. My daughter made the green speckled pumpkin that became Maryanne’s and I made the swirly purple-red heart that Lucas made in the story. My first draft included all the detail of how it works, but my editor and critique partners said it was too much.
Directly experiencing settings and events is a fun way to add realism to my stories. How about you? Are there things you have done after reading about them in a novel? Have you ever done things just so you can write about them? Would you go sky diving to experience the thrill or do you prefer to let your imagination fly?
Hidden Under Her Heart by Rachelle AyalaBlurb:
Maryanne Torres is a compassionate nurse who fails at relationships. After a string of losers, she swears off premarital sex, hoping to land a marrying type of man.
Lucas Knight, a law-school dropout, moves to California to train for the Ironman Triathlon. He's smart, sweet, and everything Maryanne wants in a man, but their relationship suffers from his dedication to the sport. Seeking consolation in the arms of a handsome preacher's son, Maryanne attends a church party where she is raped.
Maryanne is pregnant from the rape and plans to abort. But the identity of her rapist is hidden in her baby's DNA. Lucas asks Maryanne to seek alternatives and pledges to support her through the pregnancy. When Lucas becomes the prime suspect, Maryanne must clear his name and make a life changing decision.
The rapist has other ideas. In order to destroy the evidence, he offers Maryanne an illegal offshore abortion. With Maryanne's life in danger, Lucas races to save her and her baby. However, Maryanne hides a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.
Bio: Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.
Rachelle is currently working on a romantic suspense that touches on disability. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.Visit her at: Website: http://rachelleayala.me Blog: http://www.rachelleayala.com or follow @AyalaRachelle on Twitter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway