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Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome Guest Author Kat Doran...

Choosing the Setting by Kat Henry Doran

I am a nurse by first profession; I've been writing for perhaps twenty years, published in novel length romance fiction since 2004. For the last ten years of my nursing career, I worked for a malpractice insurance carrier as an investigator. The position required me to travel the length of Upstate New York. One glorious Fall day, while driving through a small Central New York town, I passed a NYS Trooper substation. One lone car parked in the lot sparked the “what if” process that all writers experience. What if a hot shot police investigator from the big city is reassigned to a small town in the middle of nowhere? That became Nohmensville, aka No Man's Land, the setting for my first novel Captain Marvelous.

On another beautiful day in the Fall, I drove I-88 from Binghamton toward Albany and discovered the perfect scene of the crime for Captain Marvelous where women were murdered, then dumped like pieces of garbage along interstate which frames the Northern border of the Catskill Mountains. I deliberately created small, rural town where the social life of the townspeople centers around its festivals, amateur sports, and the local VFW pot luck suppers. I wanted the hero to start out being an elitist big-city attitude who loathes everything about small towns, the unique slow pace, the attitudes and mores, biases and eccentricities.

For my second novel, a romantic suspense titled Try Just Once More, I chose my favorite vacation spot—Saranac Lake, a town in the Adirondack Mountains of Northern New York, famous for its strides in finding cures for tuberculosis prior to the advent of effective meds and its spitting distance from Lake Placid and Olympic history. There is such charm here, with many of the cure cottages and cure porches still in existence. I wanted a place for my wounded heroine to run to after she hits bottom, a place that would welcome my wounded hero and give him a home to love.

For my third book, which comes out in September, 2010, as part of an anthology, I invented a suburb for Buffalo New York because I needed to be close to the Canadian border. As a victim advocate I often took my kids and their friends to Take Back the Night marches, protesting violence against women. I felt the need to introduce the girls to First Amendment rights as well as the plight of crime victims. The marches were always safe; we always made sure to have a “police presence” along the way. But as I began to plan the novella titled Raising Kane, I added a few characters to the mix of protesters, then turned the march into a riot in front of a biker bar with drunks, beer bottles, brick bats, and activists nuns. Great fun.

And now that I am a grandmother, I'm adding small children and all their dramas to my stories. One doesn't provide child care three days a week and not develop enormous respect for pre-school teachers, SpongeBob SquarePants®, Dora the Explorer®, and Clifford the Big Red Dog®.

I am currently involved with an ongoing series for The Wild Rose Press, called The Class of '85. The premise is centered around an invitation to the 25th high school reunion of the class of 1985. To start, we needed to create a small city of about 50,000 with a lot of character, history, and elegant architecture. As so often happens, brilliance strikes when we least expect it. I discovered a small, enclosed neighborhood in the middle of Rochester, where I've lived for the past 30 years, complete with stone and brick mansions, cobblestone streets, and tidy, manicured parks. Ta da! We picked up this neighborhood and dropped it on a bluff over looking Lake Ontario, Queen of the Great Lakes. Then we needed to create a framework for the high school, identify the basics [sports, principal, executive secretary, chief custodian] and let the authors take it from there.

One of the stories Archangel and Mad Dog involves a con man hero who returns home after his best friend dies and leaves the hero with a mega-million dollar charity to manage. The hero must decide if he wants to help the disadvantaged--or himself. The heroine, a former nun, is an activist for the homeless, nicknamed Mad Dog, who shows him the straight and narrow. It's a hoot of a story.

FMI: www.KatHenry.com


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