Setting As Character

Today we are joined by the talented, multi-published author Michele Hauf, who is famous for coining the phrase "Beautiful Creatures".

Michele has been writing romance, action-adventure and fantasy stories for over nineteen years. Her first published novel was DARK RAPTURE. France, musketeers, vampires and faeries populate her stories. And if she followed the adage 'write what you know', all her stories would have snow in them. Fortunately, she steps beyond her comfort zone and writes about countries she has never visited and of creatures she has never seen.

Check out what Michele says about setting...

Hey all!  My latest, BEAUTIFUL DANGER, is still in bookstores for a few more days.  The hero is a vampire and the heroine a vampire slayer.  It’s set within my Beautiful Creatures world, and is the first in the mini-series In The Company of Vampires, that shines a spotlight on the ancient slayer organization called The Order of the Stake.
I’ve chatted at other blogs about characters and music and how I get my story ideas, but I never talk much about one of my favorite settings: Paris. About half my stories are set in the City of Light.  I’ve been there twice, most recently this past April.  It is my dream city, and I feel as if I have lived there before.  It is very natural to me to set a story there, because some things I just know about it due to research and…dare I say it?...a deep knowing that might only have come from a past life.
I won’t get into the past life stuff.  I’m not even sure about that, but, again, it is a knowing that I have lived there before.  For example, I can’t ever get lost in Paris.  Maybe it’s because I’ve studied the map of Paris so often, or that I’m pretty handy navigating the city by arrondissements. Or even, if you know where the river is in the city, then you can always find your way home.  Or maybe it’s just that knowing?  ;-)

Paris Wallpaper : Top 10 in Paris
I love to place my characters in the city and have them wander about the ancient streets and past the landmarks, because so many of those characters have lived there for centuries.  Vampires and werewolves, don’t you know?  They tend to live a long time.

And with my recent trip, I returned with a renewed sense of the smells, food, atmosphere, language, noise, reverence, and utter awe the city imparts on one and all.
So if you have a fascination for Paris, I do hope you’ll check out my stories!
Where to find Michele online:
And to view the compendium for my world of Beautiful Creatures, go here:

Thanks for stopping by and, as always, we love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever been to Paris? What settings do you write about?

The Joy of Writing/Reading Best Friend Characters

Naomi Watts would play Jules in movie version.
By Christine Fairchild

Writing and reading great characters in a book is certainly what drives me to spend more money on books than on food. But occasionally I come across a best friend or side-kick character that truly puts the icing on the cake!

Even as an author I aspire to write best friends that readers love, remember, and anticipate on the page. That means they must be loyal and multi-faceted, but never predictable.

Workmates Can Prove Loyal Friends

For example, my photographer heroine, Jules, in my romantic suspense novel, An Eye For Danger, doesn't have a trove of girlfriends. Heck, she doesn't have friends at all, since she's a loner. Her editorial assistant, Howard, who aspires to be Editor-n-Chief one day, proves the only real friendship she's got.

Jim Parsons as Howard.
Howard's job is to escort Jules on photography trips because her anxiety attacks make traveling outside her five-block safety zone unbearable. Howard even escorts her to dental visits across town, showing he's one loyal friend outside the workplace. Howard's vain, sarcastic and mouthy, and has a flair for the dramatic, but he always brings her dog Max a treat. One minute he's complaining about the dating game and not wanting to be considered just another boy-toy, and the next he's playing tug-of-war with Max and not afraid of doggie slobber. He's even willing to get his hands dirty when Jules is in trouble with the law and needs his help sneaking out evidence. Now that's loyalty!

Stephen Amell as Sam Fields. Sexy!
Since the previous post on Beach Read Authors was about casting characters in a book, I'll add this... If my book were made into a movie, Naomi Watts would be the perfect actor to play Jules. Howard might be Jim Parsons from the TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, or a young Sean Hayes from Will & Grace.

Male Bonds are Harder to Break... and Fix

My hero, Sam, an undercover cop in the same book, has a very different type of best friend in James, a former boxer who's edgy, authoritative, and runs a chop shop. Sam is dedicated to upholding the law, but the guy he grew up with in the hood will always be considered his brother, even if they went opposite directions with their career choices.

So when Sam reunites with James while on the run, he expects that bond to mean James has his back. James' loyalty goes too far, however, and he turns on Jules, putting her to the test. James wants to save Sam from another unfaithful woman, but ends up temporarily severing his friendship with Sam. What will he do to earn that friendship back? (And earn Jules' forgiveness?) Sorry, I can't give away the end of the book :)
Wentworth Miller could play James. Hot!

Sam could be played by an older Stephen Amell (from the TV show Arrow, and here he is at the recent ComicCon

Sam's best friend character? Wentworth Miller could definitely play James because he's also edgy and has that dark and mysterious look about him.

Sometimes a Girl's Best Friend is Her Dog

Jules and Sam have another friend in common. Besides becoming each other's best friend, they both adore Max, a lab-German shepherd mix with a penchant for finding trouble.

Never predictable, Max is the one that jumps right into a murder scene to save the day, but also the one to lead a fugitive back to Jules' apartment. Of course, even Max can figure out that this fugitive is the perfect guy for lonely Jules.

When Sam or Jules' life is in danger, he's there to bite the bad guy. When they need to smile during rough times, Max is there with a dumb trick to lighten the mood. And when either of them needs comforting, he's at their side to snuggle or give a sloppy kiss.

Body double Max, Jules' best furry friend
Max is loyalty, bravery, and joy all wrapped into one human-like dog. And I can admit that he was loosely based on my former working dog, Bo, who helped me rehab dogs and work with disabled persons. So he's definitely a best friend character close to my heart!

And here's the dog picture I used for Max, which I found online and fit his image.

So who's your favorite best friend character in a book? Comment to win a free copy of my ebook, An Eye For Danger...


For more images, check out my Pinterest page I used while writing An Eye For Danger:

I've also published a book about character development to help other authors/editors create more memorable heroes, heroines, and best friend characters: The Editor Devil's Gude to Characters

For more information about me, check out my personal page here on Beach Read Authors, or look me up at my editing blog,

Do You Cast The Novels You Read (or Write)? by Author Kim Hornsby

Goldy from Necessary Detour
Ever read a book and think 'this would make a great movie!'? I do it all the time and try to play casting director while I'm at it. I imagine a current heartthrob as the hero and an actress or singer as the protagonist. I've used Ashley Greene, Sandra Bullock, Juliane Hough, Beyoncé, Kate Hudson, and Fergie for the girls. A young Debra Winger is my Stephanie Plum, for example. Fergie/Madonna is my character Goldy in my novel Necessary Detour, acting the part of a retired rock star.

Last night I was at a book club and they spent half an hour casting my novel, something that I found extremely interesting and flattering. Actually, just being asked to talk to a book club is interesting and flattering so this discussion about who'd play Jamey and Tina was icing on the already delicious cake. It's fun to put faces to names or photos to character descriptions.
Romance novels sometimes have the two main characters on the book cover, either locked in an embrace or otherwise. If they show the faces, it can help a reader get started.

Pete - Necessary Detour
Katie from Dream Jumper
Jamey from Dream Jumper

Pinterest can bridge a gap between the book and the movie by supplying visuals for characters and settings. Loads of authors now have links to their book boards on Pinterest and although it's fun to use your imagination to dream up your own ideas, sometimes it's hard to imagine a ski lodge in Aspen or a beach in Thailand if you've never seen one. Pinterest is like an imagination boost for the reader if they just can't be bothered conjuring up a visual for all the characters of a book. I've read books where I never got a clear idea of what everyone looked like and that was okay too. I just went with a general feeling of who the person was. My Edward looked very different from Robert Pattinson in Twilight. Bella too. But when the movies came out I quickly adjusted to Kristen and Robert. I can't even remember what my Bella looked like anymore.
Tina from Dream Jumper

As a novelist, sometimes readers tell me who they pictured as the main characters in my books. It's extremely amusing when this happens. I'm a huge fan of hearing from readers anyhow, but when they cast my novel and make a movie in their head, I'm tickled beyond pink. One such reader who gave my novel THE DREAM JUMPER'S PROMISE 5 stars, had Ryan Gosling and Natalie Portman in the lead roles and I thought that was excellent casting even though I wrote it with Ashley Greene in mind. I don't assign real people to every character but writers need to know the general physical look to their characters. Using movie stars or public personalities work extremely well where using your sister to play the evil stepmother or your best friend to be the ditzy airhead may get you into trouble later.
Me and Jane Porter at her launch of The Good Daughter
I have aspirations of my novels eventually becoming movies like Jane Porter with Flirting with Forty. When they turned her novel in to a movie, her protagonist was played by Heather Locklear and I bet she thought that was great casting. I doubt you get to put in your two cents about who to play your male and female leads and when that phone call comes to announce that Carrot Top signed on as the studly Drew Forest in your romance, you have to bite the bullet and cry privately. My friend Andrea, who is a screenwriter was thrilled when they cast Mira Scorvino in her latest script, and rightly so. An Oscar winner playing Mrs. Santa Claus was a real coo for Andrea.
I'm pretty sure if anyone liked my novels well enough to make a movie, I'd have to crazy glue my lips shut and accept what they did with it. Casting is such a personal opinion according to what and who you find attractive, funny, sexy, and all the other attributes we authors give our characters. I'd love to have the addresses of some movie stars who I picture playing my heroes so I could stalk them into producing and staring in the movie version of my book.
Next time you start a book you might want to check to see if there's a Pinterest board to help your imagination get started. Or not. Some people want to do their own casting and that's part of the joy of reading. If you find Carrot Top super-sexy, you can give him the hero job and no one elses opinion can sway you.

Do you cast your current bedside novel or leave the interpretation loosey goosey? Wanna tell us who you gave a staring role to recently?