The importance of setting – Anita Hughes

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By Anita Hughes

French Coast is my fourth novel and my previous novels, Monarch Beach, Market Street and Lake Como, have all been set in fabulous locations. Setting is very important to me because it is where I spend my days when I am writing a book.♥

French Coast is set at the Carlton-Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes. Every morning when I turned on the computer, I could see the hotel with its creamy stone turrets and the Boulevard de la Croisette lined with palm trees and the white sand beach filled with striped umbrellas.

I usually start my writing day by looking at photos online of the place I’m writing about. I soak up the flavor as much as possible by reading descriptions of menus at local restaurants and learning about museums and other places of interests. I also watch movies set in the particular location (it wasn’t hard to watch To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly numerous times) and read magazine articles and travel guides. I want my readers to be transported and feel like they have traveled to the location in the book.
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I often tell a story about when I was writing French Coast. I wrote it one summer and though I barely left the house, I felt like I was on a wonderful vacation. One day I looked at Facebook and saw one of my friends posed in front of Baoli, a nightclub in Cannes. For a moment I was confused, because I had just written that my protagonist, Serena, went dancing at Baoli. How could my friend and my protagonist be there at the same time?

I want my readers to experience that same sensation of having visited somewhere wonderful. We all could use an escape and if my readers close the book and think they just sailed a yacht on the Mediterranean or visited the casino in Monte Carlo, I’ve done a good job.

It doesn’t hurt that I get to discover new places and re-visit locations I adore. My fifth novel, Rome in Love, which be released on August 4th, is set in Rome. I loved writing about the food and fashion and monuments of the Eternal City. The world is full of amazing places and I can’t think of anything better than visiting them when I sit down to write!

Anita Hughes was born in Sydney, Australia. Her writing career began at the age of eight, when she won a national writing contest in The Australian newspaper, and was named “One of Australia’s Next Best Writers.” (She still has the newspaper clipping.) Her debut novel Monarch Beach was released in June 2012, followed by Market Street in March 2013 and Lake Como in August 2013. French Coast is out tomorrow and Rome in Love will be released in August 2015.

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