Girls Write Out
Monday, October 29, 2007

A HOOSIER YANKEE IN THE SOUTH
I've been all over the country, but can you believe I'd never been to a South Carolina plantation? Or to the amazing city of Charleston. It was enough to make me want to go back to writing historicals. And guys, did you know the rivers and streams are BLACK in many places there? They are these beautiful. pools of black that reflect the vegetation on the banks. I've never seen anything so unusual. Or sinister. My poor heroine is going to have to battle more than a killer. She's going to face the swamp: alligators, poisonous snakes, knobby knees of cypress tripping her up. Poor girl. I'm already sorry for her.

Going to South Carolina was a fresh reminder of how important research is to a work of fiction. I had to go experience the humidity, the bugs, the lush vegetation even at the end of October. The smells, the salt marsh. I fell in love with the place. My sweet Ami grew up there and that made it extra special as well. Some ACFW friends were sweet enough to show us around as well. I had shrimp and grits she-crab soup (though I'm told it's now made with he-crabs. LOL), gumbo, SC barbeque, chocolate pralines (to DIE for!), and benne wafers. Um, let me say that Dave did NOT try any of these. He's a strict beef and pototaes man. LOL I tried to convince him to at least try a praline but he held firm. Which was fine with me since it left more for me.

Even after just three days, I found myself wanting to talk southern. If I lived there for long, I'd be talking just like them. I wonder if it's a trait of writers that we absorb our surroundings so completely? LOL But back to setting. If you could pick out ONE thing in your most favorite place that takes you back there, what would it be? A smell, a taste of a certain food, the sight of a favorite plant? When you read a book, what transports you to the locale?
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:04 AM  
  Comments (23)
 
 
Delicious Delicious
23 Comments:
At 10:19 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

the blazing orange autumn leaves of the Porcupine Mtns. and Silver City!! I love that place to death!

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Yay the Porkies! Love that place!

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Brittanie said...

Did you eat at Paula Deen's place? I want to go just to eat there. ;)

 
At 12:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

The smell of grass mixed with the salt air blowing in off the Atlantic in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

 
At 12:25 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Sethy and I are jealous. We really want to go to the south and enjoy the food -- and the sights of course, but more the food.

 
At 7:29 AM, Blogger Pam S. said...

When I smell the vanilla-y, pine-y smell of the evergreens outside my Istanbul apartment, then I'm instantly transported to the Colorado Rockies. I can close my eyes and I'm back in the San Isabel National Forest, near my former home. The smell of pine trees is a guaranteed trigger for homesickness.

 
At 8:46 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Isn't Paula Deen's place in Savannah? At least that's what I thought so I didn't look for it in Charleson.

K, the whole time I was there I was thinking how much your kids would love it. The history dates to before the Revolutionary War. It would be a great place to go on vacation. You have it all there, beach, history, amazing food.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Yes, Paula Deen's Lady and Sons is in Savannah. Good food, though it's packed to the gills with long lines waiting outside wanting you to hurry up and finish.

Sounds like you had a great trip! Thanks for sharing!

Living in the South, I can say that there are just too many sights, smells, and sounds to pick a favorite. Living near the beach, though, I can say that watching a sunrise and hearing the waves and gulls is a delightful thing to behold.

 
At 11:30 AM, Blogger Kayla said...

Hilton Head Island is my favorite place, and mentioning the pralines immediately took me back there. There is this little shop in Caligny Plaza that makes them fresh every Friday. However, the best thing about Hilton Head is rolling in at about 4 in the afternoon, unpacking and getting everyone settled in (last time, we had 17 people in one huge beach house! Having the whole family together is a blast), then running to the beach to get my first glimpse when the sun is descending. I feel God's majesty there like I do in no other place, in the huge expanses of water and sky.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Tara Pierce said...

On a blistering hot summer day, a book about winter can make me shiver. I love winter!

 
At 5:47 PM, Blogger Kellie said...

I am not a writer, but I pick up accents all the time! After living in North Carolina for two years I still fall into my southern drawl.

It drives my Dad insane; his Arizona born and raised, half Hispanic, daughter talking like a southern bell.

I kinda like it!

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Kay said...

Smells take me back the fastest I think. But sounds, too. The sound of the aspen trees and the wind wooshing through the pines.

I am very visual and every book I read plays like a movie in my head. And actually, a lot of description can stumble me up. Because then I have to concentrate on making my images fit. But a strong mood in a book is great for my visual mind.

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

I would LOVE to go to Hilton Head with the kids. We might have to do that this next year. If we get a baby, Hawaii might be a bit far. But Hilton Head would be doable.

Smells transport me the fastest too.

 
At 11:56 PM, Blogger Deena said...

Oh,wow...great question.

I think it's the local flavor...if it's the Eastern shore, the smell, the sound, and the seafood...

If it's the south, it's the dialect, the food, and the landmarks...

If it's the Northern seaboard, the sound of the waves, the landmarks, and the smell of the salty ocean...

So, when can I get my hands on the next Colleen Coble hit novel???

 
At 2:01 AM, Blogger celestemc said...

Okay, so I'm a bit different here - my dad was a long haul truck driver and I would go on trips with him. So for me, it's the sounds and smells of truck stops. Crazy, I know. I love to sit in a truck stop and watch all the different personalities, wondering what type of setting they come from. In the summer, my hubby teases me because when passing a big rig, I'll roll down the window to hear the engine...

As for locations, I love the smell of fresh snow... and the sound of rushing water. I grew up in the forest with a mountain for a back yard - so anything that takes me back is thoroughly enjoyed since I am in the city now.

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Or try St. Petersburg beach, Colleen. The Aldlen, a no-frills-but-wonderful family resort on the beach, is one we often go to. It's down the beach from the Don Cesar.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Rachel Hauck said...

Great post! I love the lowcountry too! I'm so glad you and Dave had a great trip.

What transport me to a place while reading? Description I guess. Something authentic about the area.

Rachel

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

We loved it, Rachel! That black water was downright creepy. LOL

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Pam Meyers said...

I'm a day late on this one, but I'll add my two cents. This past weekend I opened a package of fresh basil and was instantly transported back to my grandparents place in Ohio when the surrounding fields of grass were just mowed. It was a warm summer day and we were driving down the road with all the windows down inhaling that fragrant smell. Who would've thought basil could do that?

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Oh I love the smell of basil! Diann had my favorite thing this week, Caprese salad with fresh mozzarello, tomato, balsamic vinegar and olive oil and fresh basil. Oh to die for! She was less than impressed though.

 
At 1:16 PM, Blogger BookFreak02 said...

This is for Colleen herself. I couldn't find just a place to email just her. I recently finished Abomination and I loved it! Its the first time in a long time besided Ted Dekker's books that I have found a great author such as herself that writes Christian fiction with suspense, drama and romance mixed all in one without awful language and sexual situations in them. I just started the Rock Harbor series and am on the first book and I love it already. The landscape of Rock Harbor feels like I am there in that town with Bree, Naomi, Samson and Charley. I love it! Its the best I've read in long time! I have ordered several other of her books online and hope they come soon b/c the first Rock Harbor book will be read in a flash! When I find an author with great writing skills the book is read within 13 or 14 hours of 2 days tops so I have to keep ordering books all the time! I just wanted to say she is a great author and I hope she never stops writing anytime soon! I love her already!

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Wow, BookFreak, you just made my day! I wish you'd go post that on Amazon. LOL You rock!

Thanks for helping me right now when I'm slogging through the stinky first draft!

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

YOU wanted to talk southern? LOLOLOLOLOL Um, ok.

 

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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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