We are so pleased to welcome the talented Marie Sutro the nest! This award-winning, best-selling writer has been described as “one helluva author” and we couldn’t agree more. Today the author of the newly released Dark Obsessions discusses setting the perfect setting.
Sometimes the hardest part of writing a book can be the quest for authenticity. While drafting my new release, Dark Obsessions, a furry friend reminded me that sometimes dedication to getting it right can be all wrong.
Full of vast expanses of remote forest, the Olympic Peninsula was the perfect setting for my thriller. Having only gazed at its green shores from the decks of passing boats, I could have relied on traditional research methods for filling in the gaps. Yet the greater the word count climbed, the more I worried that without actually seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and meeting the people, I would not be able to accurately recreate the feel of this magical place.
I was about halfway through the first draft when the need to find out for myself prompted me to book a flight to Washington. Type A that I am, I went armed with a detailed itinerary for a step-by-step through my protagonist’s journey. With the goal of obtaining as broad an understanding as possible, I planned to stay at resorts, hotels, and even a tiny cabin.
In the final days of the trip, my brain buzzing with new ideas, I ventured down a long gravel road to my final destination. Sitting in an open lot with a few others of its ilk, was my tiny cabin. It was nestled between the Pacific and the mighty Olympic National Forest and could only be accessed by a set of glass sliders which afforded beautiful views of the ocean.
Eager to log some serious word count, I happily settled down on my little deck and started hammering away on my laptop. Once the sun gave up for day, I moved inside with some Land O’Lakes hot cocoa mix and a box of Wheat Thins.
It was about an hour later when the bear arrived. I would never have known he was right outside my window if he had not roared load enough to wake the dead. Despite the interruption, I was happy to let him do whatever it was bears do at that late hour.
It was when he decided to climb the steps onto the deck and nose around outside the glass doors (which were only a few feet from where I was sitting) that the intrepid author spirit began to wane. With only a few inches of glass separating me from a very agitated visitor who ranted in growls and grunts, I seriously questioned whether the quest for authenticity is all its cracked up to be.
Now that the book is out in world, I’ve been thrilled by the consistently positive feedback about the setting. However, I often wonder if it would have been as good without the thrill provided by my furry friend. Next time, perhaps I’ll stay home and keep my nose in a book where it belongs.
Readers, do you have a favorite book setting? If so, why do you love it? If the setting is real, how close is it to your real-life experience?
Marie Sutro was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, which served as the setting for her debut novel, Dark Associations. As soon as she learned to read, she developed an insatiable appetite for books. With each new story, Marie became more fascinated with the transformative power of words. The magic she discovered in those printed pages sparked an ardent desire to write, which continues to this day.
Bestselling author and recipient of the IBPA Ben Franklin Gold Award for Best New Voice in Fiction,, Marie remains committed to sharing the knowledge that has brought so much joy to her life. She volunteers with California Library Literacy Services, helping adults improve their reading and writing skills. Marie is also a member of Sisters in Crime, where she has served on the Board of her local chapter.
About Dark Obsessions:
THE DARKEST WOODS HIDE THE DARKEST OF OBSESSIONS…
In the darkest corners of Washington state, Kate Barnes will come face-to-face with an adversary so ruthless and powerful that it will take everything she has to save herself, let alone a group of innocent victims.