Choosing Your Novel’s Setting by Natalie J. Damschroder

Posted on












Morning everyone. Guest blogger Natalie J. Damschroder is here today to talk about choosing a setting for your novel:

People often ask how I get the ideas for my books, but they rarely ask how I decided where to set them. When I’m choosing a book to read, I don’t care where it’s set. Even “exotic” locations are incidental to the characters and plot. But while I’m reading, if the location is part of the story, and especially if it’s one unfamiliar to me, I always find it interesting. It makes me wonder if the author created the setting completely from imagination, or lived there, or visited and wishes they lived there. 🙂

Most of my recent books have been “road trip” books to an extent, but they have a core starting location that always ties to the plot, even if it ties more to my own life.

For example, Under the Moon starts out in central Ohio. I went to college there (though the town isn’t specified, it’s near Delaware, home of Ohio Wesleyan University, and the creek mentioned is Alum Creek), but I chose it because Quinn was living a quiet, stable life working both with the community around her and people just passing through. Ohio is part of the Heartland, symbolic of what my modern goddesses are all about. 🙂

The events of the story take Quinn and Nick to Boston, home of The Society for Goddess Education and Defense—because that’s a city rich in history, as is the Society itself—and to the beach near Westerly, Rhode Island, where I spent as much of my summers as I could growing up, and to Benton Harbor, Michigan, to property bordering the land of Sarrett Nature Center, where I did a summer internship in college. They also drive cross country to Portland. I’ve never been there. 🙂

My other current release, Behind the Scenes, doesn’t have any connection to my real life. Kennedy’s compound is in northern California. The film set is near LA and then in Denver for on-location shooting. Since the book is a bit of fantasy fulfillment for me (I would SO love to work on a film set!), it’s apropos that the settings are place I want to go but haven’t yet been.

How important are settings to you as a reader? Are you more interested in books with certain settings? If you’re a writer, how do you choose where to set the story?


Natalie J. Damschroder’s current releases:

Under the Moon November 15, 2011

Learn more at:

Entangled Publishing


Barnes & Noble

Their power gives them strength…and makes them targets.

Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father’s bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.

But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by “family ties” she didn’t know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.

But not as hard as denying their hearts…


Behind the Scenes October 31, 2011

Learn more at:

Carina Press|


Barnes & Noble


Kennedy Smyth’s firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries. She doesn’t usually take on “frivolous” jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son’s movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse. Also hard to resist is the film’s charismatic star, Rogan St. James. The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he’s a successful actor, Rogan wants more—a real woman to love, the type he doesn’t think exists…until he meets Kennedy. She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn’t actually out to derail the film. She’s the real target—and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next…

You can learn more about Natalie and her books at her website, eHarlequin, Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook. She blogs with four other obsessed passionate Supernatural fans at Supernatural Sisters, with a number of fantastic romance authors at Everybody Needs a Little Romance, and just to hear herself talk at Indulge Yourself.


11 thoughts on “Choosing Your Novel’s Setting by Natalie J. Damschroder

    Louise Behiel said:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Interesting read – setting is almost incidental to me. I know many people love lots of details about location or furnishings and wall colors etc….I rarely notice them in person and totally miss them in print. Thanks for a thought provoking article

      NJDamschroder said:
      November 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

      I love you, Louise. 🙂 I’m like you as a reader, so I’m like that as a writer, too, and my editor is always telling me to add more detail! LOL

    Maggie Blackbird said:
    November 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like to, so setting is a deciding factor when I’m selecting a book to read. Characters and plot do come first, but if I’m holding two books in my hand, the deciding factor for me is the location, such as Hawaii, Japan, India, Germany or somewhere else I’ve never been. It’s nice to experience setting through the eyes of the main characters, especially if they’re locals.

    Great post. A peek inside the film industry is also something quite interesting. I enjoy learning something new while I’m reading.

      NJDamschroder said:
      November 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

      I can’t say the setting is a deciding factor when I choose a book, but I definitely like getting to “explore” someplace exotic.

    Rosalie Lario responded:
    November 14, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Natalie. I find that I most enjoy the stories where the setting varies throughout the book. For that reason, more often than not, you’ll see my characters going from one location to another. Maybe it’s just my inner travel bug manifesting itself, LOL.

      NJDamschroder said:
      November 14, 2011 at 11:38 am

      Yes, road trip! LOL It goes well with romantic adventure, so my characters are always moving.

      Thanks for having me, Rosalie!

    rfirasek said:
    November 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    As a reader, I hate description and setting. In fact, I’ll skim through too much of it. I need just enough to get me through the action and to remind me where the characters are. So many books bog down the important parts with too much setting. Now, of course, because of this, as a writer this is where I struggle. My editors are constantly smacking me for not enough world building. lol. I know how to do it, now, I just don’t like to.

      NJDamschroder said:
      November 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      YES! A soul mate! LOL

        rfirasek said:
        November 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

        Awesome. After my critters get a hold of me I feel so alone. It’s good to know that I have a friend out there in the world that understands. Woot! Fated!!

    Stacy McKitrick said:
    November 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Settings aren’t all that important to me. The characters are what matters. But they have to be somewhere, I guess. Still, most of the time does it really matter WHERE they are? I think it matters WHAT they do!

      NJDamschroder said:
      November 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      You’re right, what they do is the most important thing! Where they is seasoning, you could say. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s