In my first draft of EMBRACE (there were eight!), I didn’t set the city. I was in two minds the entire time. I suppose I was drawing on all the places I have been around the world. Although I now live in Sydney, when I started to write EMBRACE, my family and I had just moved back from six years living in London. And prior to that, I’d spent quite a lot of time travelling to many cities around the world – so much so, that when I was writing scenes in EMBRACE, I found myself thinking of different cities around the world and never being able to truly decided which one most suited Violet’s world.
In my second and third and fourth drafts, I chose different cities (I’ll never tell) from around the world and set Violet’s story there. But each time, it felt forced.
I wanted her to live in a city, as opposed to some small town where all these major apocalyptic events just miraculously found her. To be believable she had to be in a metropolitan environment, but which one?
In the end, the answer was … any of them, and none of them. It wasn’t that the cities I chose didn’t work; it was that in my mind I’d amalgamated them into what I needed for her story to work for me. So I made the decision to give that option to all of my readers and simply called her city, the City.
It isn’t the ‘done thing’ usually, but I believe for this story, it works. I want readers to be able to put this story where they know. If they live in a city, it can be there, if they live in a rural area, then it isn’t a stretch for them to imagine a city nearby. It is an element of control that I wanted to give to the reader.
That said, I like a little control myself … and I discovered that by giving this open setting for Violet’s hometown, it also opened up the possibility to use other locations around the world that would really pop off the page.
In ENTICED (the sequel, out in September!), Violet and her friends find themselves travelling to Jordan – on a quest to the place of Moses’ death – Mount Nebo. In EMBLAZE (book 3, out March 2013) they travel to the island of Santorini in Greece, which is small and stunning, and holds terrors that none of them are prepared for.
Each book I take the characters somewhere new and as I write the series, I have discovered how very important this is to me. I want my characters to go to the world, to find the problems and be part of the solution, rather than the fight always, and too conveniently, finding them.
Here’s a little bit more about EMBRACE:
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…