by Linda Hope Lee
WRITING A SERIES: DEVELOPING THE SETTINGTo use the setting to link your series books together, choose various aspects of the setting and repeat them in each book. Readers will enjoy revisiting familiar places along with the characters. Showing how the characters respond to the various setting elements will enrich the story.
Here are some examples from my Red Rock, Colorado series.
The TransAmerica Railroad. The train plays an important role in each story. In book 1, Finding Sara, the train provides a means for Sara Carleton to escape an intolerable home situation.
For Rose Phillips in book 2, Loving Rose, the train is her livelihood, for she is TransAmerica's quality control manager.
And, in Marrying Molly, book 3, the train brings Molly Hensen and her daughter back to Red Rock after a two-year absence.
The Roundup Restaurant. Red Rock's popular eatery is featured in all three books. In Finding Sara, Jackson Phillips takes Sara to the Roundup after she's undergone a nerve-wracking interview at the police station. He hopes the homey, casual atmosphere will help her to relax, but she surprises him with a startling announcement.
In book 2, Dr. Mike Mahoney is dining alone at the Roundup when someone confronts him and reveals a shocking secret about Rose, the woman he loves.
For Molly in book 3, visiting the Roundup evokes bittersweet memories of the times she and her husband, Buck, had eaten there.
The weeping willow tree. In the front yard of Jackson's ranch house stands a tall weeping willow tree. Propped against the tree's trunk is an old, weathered wagon wheel. To help her relax, Sara sits on the ranch house's front porch watching the tree's long branches brush the top of the wheel in the soft breeze.
Loving Rose has a tense scene between Mike and Rose as they sit on the front porch. Like Sara, Rose calms her emotions by focusing on the tree and a robin as it perches on the wagon wheel.
When Molly first returns to the ranch, the weeping willow catches her eye, bringing waves of nostalgia.
These are only a few of the setting elements I have incorporated in all three books. Other elements include: a Denver hotel, the Rocky Mountains, a duck pond on the Phillips' ranch, and the grange hall.
You might want to check out another of my blogs on series writing, Developing the Characters.