Thursday, February 24, 2011

Choosing a Location and Settings by Roxe Anne Peacock, Guest Blogger

Today I am pleased to introduce Roxe Anne Peacock, whose first mystery, Leave No Trace, is now available in trade paperback and ebook from Whiskey Creek Press. It's intended audience includes teen through adult readers.

You can find Roxanne on Facebook. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Rockford Writers Guild.


Choosing a Location and Settings by Roxe Anne Peacock, Guest Blogger

Thank you, Patricia, for allowing me to have the pleasure of writing a guest post.

For several years, I did extensive research on rappelling caverns with the intention of writing a mystery series. Along the way, I fell in love with Carlsbad Caverns National Park. My first book of the series was to begin there.

The series changed to a stand alone when I heard a news flash about Raffi Kodikian barely alive, killing and burying his best friend, David Coughlin in Rattlesnake Canyon, Carlsbad National Park, New Mexico.

In the summer of 1999, the two best friends set off on a cross country road trip. One of the stops was at Rattlesnake Canyon where they lost their way in the desert without enough water and provisions.

The plot wouldn’t be centered around rappelling caverns. It would include The Flight of the Bats where hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats enter and exit a gigantic hole in the earth. The bat flight talks are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through September.

I grew up with the river directly behind my house. My family fished every chance we could get with bats always looming overhead. It is my desire to include a river scene in all the books I write; hence the inclusion of the infamous Flume and Pecos River.

The Flume was once featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” as the river that crosses itself. The Flume was originally completed out of wood in 1890, but was destroyed in a flood in 1902. It was then rebuilt in concrete which was the inspiration for the book cover art.

In keeping with the Kodikian and Coughlin best friend theme, my protagonist, Jessica Waters, finds herself a reluctant detective when her best friend, Sandra Adams, disappears after prom.

Jessica is an athletic, independent eighteen-year-old honor student looking forward to attending college in the fall with her best friend. She is an only child living with protective middle-class parents in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Mutual classmate, Jason Harris, had secured Jessica, Sandra and another classmate, Marcia Collins, all a summer position at Sally’s Diner where he works and Jessica needs the money to help pay college expenses.

When Sandra disappears, Jason is the last known person to have seen her and the number one suspect, but Jason isn’t the only suspect in the tight-knit community of Carlsbad. Sandra disappeared after confessing to having an affair with her teacher and cross country coach, Carl Lundstrum.

What better way for Jessica to investigate her friend’s disappearance than working at Sally’s Diner where everyone in town knows it is the best place to find out the latest gossip. Gossiping diners are something I personally know about. My father and grandfather both owned diners when I was younger, and my first job was a waitress at the age of fifteen.

With the help of Sally Cooper, owner of Sally’s Diner, and a Hispanic waitress, Rosa Martinez, Jessica musters up the courage to confront diner customers about their whereabouts when Sandra disappeared; this includes Jason and Carl. If they are indeed innocent, she hopes it doesn’t cost their friendship. If they know what happened, she hopes she isn’t the next person to disappear.

Sally’s Diner is booming with business. She might even be able to take a vacation for the first time ever with all the local gossip mongers eating at her establishment. However, when Rosa goes out back for her usual smoke and the media flashes their cameras in her face, that is the last straw. She comes back into the diner in less than a minute. Sally tells her she took the fastest break she has ever seen.

Rosa informs Sally, “There are many media out back flashing cameras in my face. I can’t see, I can’t think. Maybe I give up smoking this day.”

Jessica and Sally begin laughing. “Rosa, maybe we both can break our habit if the media stays much longer.”

“I think I quit work first. I rethink the giving up smoking. I just think your smoke alarm in the ladies room will go off soon,” Rosa said, with a Spanish accent.

Check out Leave No Trace at Whiskey Creek Press and eventually to find out what happens to Jessica and her best friend. While visiting Sally’s Diner, don’t forget to laugh.


Thanks so much, Roxe Anne, for being my guest today. I was also interested in the note on your website that you and your husband have signed with an agent to place your History Lovers Cookbook. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you'll come back to tell us all about it when it's published.

Visit Roxe Anne's website for more information about her and her novel. Roxe Anne and Tom's blog, Civil War Reenacting and Cooking, has recipes. I scrolled through and found one for bread pudding, my greatest weakness. It looks yummy.


irishoma said...

Lovely cover. The setting and the story sound fascinating.
Donna v.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I lived in NM for four years and never made it to Carlsbad Caverns - bummer!

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Roxe Anne.

Roxe Anne - Setting and location are so very important, aren't they, to make a story come alive. It sounds as though you've done a fantastic job of placing the reader, and I have to say, I love the diner as a setting. Such a lot of possibilities there :-).

I wish you much success with Leave No Trace!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Donna -- I agree about the color. That's one I'd immediately pick up in a bookstore to take a look at.

Diane -- That's always the way. I lived in Florida 11 years and didn't visit Everglades National Park until right before we moved away.

Margot -- I love books where setting becomes almost important as the characters. And the diner does sound very interesting (and a little fun, too).

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

First, I want to thank Patricia for having me as her guest.

I was an artist before I became an author. You can find a few pieces of my artwork at my Civil War cooking blog: I had this vision of what colors I wanted for the book cover and artist Gemini Judson captured my vision totally.

When you visit a diner versus a chain restaurant, you get the feeling of what an area of our country is really like. One of my favorite shows on the foodnetwork is Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Thank you for commenting about Leave No Trace.

Roxe Anne Peacock

Arlee Bird said...

Love the colors on the bookcover.
I think accuracy concerning locations is vital in giving a novel more credibility. When I write about real locations I keep a road map handy and refer frequently to websites that give me background, data, and demographics about the places I use.
Sounds like a good story. And, yes, the bat flight is an amazing sight to see.

Tossing It Out

Christopher said...

I was glad to hear about your thoughts. It adds to the story for me Best of luck to you

j.a. kazimer said...

Nice post. Pat always has the most interesting writers. Congrats on Leave No Trace. The book sounds great, and I look forward to picking it up.
Any insights on setting, for example, how much a part was the setting in creating your story? It sounds like quite a bit, but was it an
chicken or an egg sort of deal?

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Very interesting,a well written post.


jrlindermuth said...

'Location, location, location,' as the realtors say. I think it's definitely another asset in making your story come alive. And it seems the one you've selected should be a winner with the interesting characters you've created for this story.

Fashion Candy said...

Great post. The book is a must for lovers of mysteries and nature. The cover art looks beautiful, too.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a very interesting story! Great post.

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

First, I chose Carlsbad Caverns National Park as my setting. I then looked to see what rivers were close and found the infamous Flume and the Pecos River. I always knew I would include a diner in this story.

Second, I had to have two best friends. One would have to become a reluctant detective to find her best friend. Next, I needed a mutual friend who you didn't know if you should trust or fear. But he couldn't be the only suspect in the tight-knit community of Carlsbad, NM. I included cross country coach and teacher Carl Lundstrum to fit that bill along with a few more.

Creating Sally Cooper, owner of Sally's diner was a hoot. I wanted her to be a bit of a mother hen to her workers.

If you have done any research on the percentage of Hispanic readers out there, then you will know why I wanted to add a Hispanic character in my book. Rosa Martinez might have a broken Spanish accent but her mind is sharp as a tack.

Roxe Anne Peacock

Betty Craker Henderson said...

Wonderful post and an extremely interesting subject. Reflects how one can use her/his own background effectively to create something great to read. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

Leave No Trace was created as a stand alone or to be a series set at different national parks. I haven't decided which way I will continue.

My second mystery, Fatal Catch is being reviewed with an agent at the moment. History Lover's Cookbook is still with Mary Sue Seymour and looking for a publisher.

The research for my third mystery, Catch and Release is finished with the help of a fishing guide and bait and tackle owner in Hayward, Wisconsin. I hope to have the manuscript completed by the end of June 2011.

Thanks for all the wonderful comments.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Roxe Anne, it's great that you could work with the artist on your cover art to get exactly what you wanted. It's a beautiful cover.

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments about my book cover. I know it's not often we can have a say in what we envision our cover to be.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Again, many thanks for being my guest today, Roxe Anne. It was such a pleasure having your here.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the other comments on the cover of Roxe Anne's book it is perfect. But then I am a little partial you see she is my sister. And she has been very talented her whole life. Patricia thank you for having Roxe Anne as your guest today and I wish her the very best of luck and believe me she is an author you need to keep an eye on.

Anonymous said...

My wife excells in everything she does.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Welcome, Roxe Anne's sister -- I enjoyed meeting Roxe Anne so much and will indeed follow her in the future. I now have Leave No Trace on my To Be Read list.

Patricia Stoltey said...

So nice of you to stop by, Roxe Anne's husband. She's a very lucky lady to have such wonderful love and support from her family (but I'll bet she knows that already).

Roxe Anne Peacock said...

Thank you, Pat for asking me to write a post for your blog. And thanks to my wonderful husband, Tom and my loving sister, Kris for your comments as well.

Pat, I am looking forward to writing another post for your blog in the future as well as reading about other guests.