The view from my window influences everything I write. Heck, it influences everything I think and do. I’m a Montana girl, born and raised, and while I enjoyed my years in Seattle, no place has ever felt as solid–as grounded, as chez moi, as terra firma–as my home in Montana. (And no, I will not now sing the state anthem. I could. But you’d rather I didn’t. Plus I’m not wearing a bandanna and I don’t have a pony.)
Some days, it’s black and white–or more precisely, shades of gray–little marks on my computer screen. Other days, it looks like a cat. Or a turkey.
Would I be less conscious of setting if I hadn’t grown up in a place where the land is so stunning–and so demanding? How is a character’s view affected by where she lives, whether she’s a newcomer or an old-timer, how often she’s packed up everything she owns and moved thousands of miles, or whether she lives in the home her grandparents built, with the family china still in the old oak hutch? I think about these things and I write in part to find the answers.
Happily, I can write about places that bear little resemblance to home. “What would it be like to live there?” I wonder, and so I write to discover. One of my first published short stories, “The End of the Line,” takes place in the stone towers of the Mani Peninsula in Greece, which we visited years ago on our honeymoon. And I’m busy working on Spiced to Death, the first in my Seattle Spice Shop Mysteries. In my view, both insiders and outsiders see things the other doesn’t see–and our work is better if we occasionally step off home ground and take a look around.