Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On location with Laurel Mayer, plus a book giveaway

**Giveaway is now closed**

Laurel Mayer attended Boston University as a Cardinal Medeiros Scholar and majored in English Literature with a minor in Journalism. For over ten years she has been working in marketing communications industry. The story and characters of her debut novel, "Pushover," developed while driving home from work and chauffering her children to and from their afternoon play activities. Laurel lives outside of Boston with her three sons and husband.

Laurel is here today to share "Pushover" with us, and to explain how location and setting for a chick lit novel become such a huge part of the storyline. She is happy to offer one e-book of "Pushover" as the giveaway prize to a lucky winner anywhere in the world!

You can visit Laurel Mayer on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

Check out the trailer for "Pushover":

On Location: Setting the Scene

Some refer to a novel’s setting as the “other character.” And, indeed, in some cases the setting is a star in its own right. Imagine “Gone with the Wind” without Tara? “The Devil Wears Prada” without Manhattan? Often in chick lit the location is the anchor for the plot and the source for the mood we associate with the story.

With so many options in cities and occupations, it’s in many ways fun to choose a setting. My latest novel, “Pushover,” sweeps the reader away to Hollywood, Las Vegas, New Jersey, and Paris. But jetting across the globe doesn’t come lightly. Just like any character in the story, the setting requires consideration and development to fully meld with the overall novel.

Iconic
There are some novels with settings so memorable I actually feel like I’ve been there. Manderley, the palatial estate in the novel, “Rebecca,” is one of those places. It’s a remarkable feat by author, Daphne du Maurier, to create a location with so much presence. The descriptions of its enormous fireplaces, sprawling staircases, and views of a rocky coastline are vivid. But, more than that, they work in perfect synchronicity with the characters.

In my novel, “Pushover,” the setting is a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. Its dark wood and high rafters paint both a glamorous and intriguing portrait, perfect for the restaurant’s fatal history. But, settings can also be bigger than a singular space. Major cities and small towns are popular locales for the chick lit novel. New York, Paris, London, and other destination cities have appeal, offering writers picturesque surroundings and readers the thrill of traveling and living vicariously in some of the world’s most recognizable places.

Authenticity
There’s nothing better than getting pulled right into a story, but it’s hard to do unless the setting as well as the characters are completely believable. Locations unique to the writer’s imagination require full development. Colors, textures, smells, sizes, all create a picture, the world that the characters live in. Often for me these fictional places become quite real, with both a past and present intrinsic to the story. In “Pushover,” Dani Wilder, an up-and-coming chef is searching for space for the launch of her new restaurant. The locale on Sunset is ideal with its massive wine wall, large picture windows, and exclusive loft area complete with plush, private banquettes. The loft is so high that the fall from it could kill someone. In fact, a waitress died from a tumble over the railing in recent history.

When it comes to cities, towns and landmarks, it’s even more important to be authentic. People actually live there so the description in the book must mesh with the real thing. In “The Great Gatsby” the setting embodies a Long Island/NYC summer in the roaring 1920s. The decadence is palpable and legitimate because Fitzgerald’s descriptions are true to the lifestyle. In “Pushover” a trip to Las Vegas for a marriage renewal features some of Sin City’s hottest spots including Bellagio, the luxurious resort boasting dramatic fountains. The blown-glass ceiling of the foyer, the piano bar off the lobby, and the perfectly primped hedges of the pool area make a realistic appearance in “Pushover,” and the high stakes imagery truly sets the stage for the crescendo of events to come in the story.

Voice
Sometimes in chick lit the choice of location provides a voice for the characters and for the author. Claire Cook’s beachy reads carry her signature style that conjures up images of flip-flops and beach totes. Elin Hilderbrand’s trademark Nantucket setting creates a seaside palette that is remote and unique to her story and characters.

In “Pushover” the character of Vic Valtieri is an L.A. transplant originally from New Jersey. His story as a Jersey cop is rooted in his neighborhood. The two-family house he grew up in, his mom’s outdated kitchen, the local pizza parlor, all help to explain Vic, and cast his story in stark contrast to the glimmer of the Hollywood landscape.

The “Other Character”

Whether it’s a charming farm or a bustling metropolis, a cube-lined office or a suburban home, the location and setting of the chick lit novel becomes part of the fabric of the story. The characters can hardly be who they are without giving them that concrete point in time and place. It may induce a sense of romance, freedom, hope, renewal, or sadness, and take us on a journey of emotions. But, whatever the setting, the “other character” is a staple of the chick lit novel, leaving writers and readers with the opportunity to examine and explore, if only for a few hundred pages, the most fascinating places on earth.

Thanks to Laurel for setting the scene for us and sharing her book with one of our readers.

How to win "Pushover":
Please comment below with your e-mail address.
(Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.)

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Describe a favorite location from your childhood.
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)
5. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

Giveaway ends October 3rd at midnight EST.

31 comments:

Jel ♡ said...

favorite location from my childhood would be the beach <3

punkme15 at gmail dot com

Jel ♡ said...

im already a follower =)
GFC: Jel

punkme15 at gmail dot com

Jel ♡ said...

im a member of CHicklit Central on FB
FB Name: Jung Rae Woo

punkme15 at gmail dot com

Jel ♡ said...

shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/jelaiii_x/status/119051708021211137

punkme15 at gmail dot com

Kritter said...

Fav location of my childhood - the dance studio where I took dance, the world disappeared and I was able to enjoy the group of girls that took lessons with me.

I follow this blog.
I am a member on facebook.

kdurham2@gmail.com

Margaret said...

I loved our basement as a kid because I loved to sing and my brothers had a band so all of their equipment was down there so when no one was looking I would go down there and turn the mic and amp on and sing. lo and be hold I had a voice.....eventually I was discovered because it was not quiet.

I'm a follower.

Margaret
singitm@hotmail.comater

Amy said...

Pushover sounds and looks (luv the cover) fantastic. My favorite childhood location was really any playground, but in particular, a playground (really a playground complex) where besides your regular jungle gym and swings, there was this huge wooden castle, so to speak, with hidden spots, walkways, a bridge, and so much more! I wish I went more but unfortunately it was not in our town. Picture a type of play ground where the little kids go during the day, but the big kids hang out at night.

I follow via GFC and email

I am a member of CLC Facebook group

amyrbromberg(at)gmail(dot)com

Shared on my Facebook wall: https://www.facebook.com/amyrbromberg/posts/175988029146829

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/jam_njellygirl/status/119151964054499328

Queen of Reading said...

My favorite location from when I was little is my grandparents house upstate. It is so peaceful up there. It is also clear so you can see the stars every night. I love it!

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Queen of Reading said...

I follow via GFC

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Queen of Reading said...

I follow via facebook

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Queen of Reading said...

I follow via twitter

brn2shop9 at gmail dot com

Kim W. said...

1. My fave childhood place was my backyard--specifically my tree house that my dad and older brothers built for me! Our yard was fairly big, with huge, leafy trees, so between that and the tree house, it felt like "my" own little place. We have 5 kids in our family so the need for my own space was important to me!

2. I follow the CLC blog already

3. I posted this contest on Facebook

4. I am a member of CLC on Facebook already

kewalker1972@gmail.com

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.

My favorite location from my childhood was an ice cream parlor that we used to go to. My sister and I were allowed to go by ourselves (it was about a half mile away) and have sundaes. They had little pretzel sticks on the tables to munch on. That was back in the 50s. It was such fun and exciting.

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Yay! Another great giveaway! :) amber_johnson2004 at yahoo dot com

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Bonus entries:
1. My favorite location as a kid was at my grandparents house - that was where we got all the good stuff! Frozen pizza and candy!
2. I'm a follower
3. I'm a follower on FB of CLC

meandmom said...

I would like to read this book.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

meandmom said...

One of my favorite places when I was young was my own front yard.

I am a Facebook follower.

I am a subscriber.

jeryl.marcus@gmail.com

marybelle said...

My favorite location from my childhood would have to be my Grandparents farm. So many great times.

GFC: Mary Preston

FB: Mary Preston

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

karenk said...

favourite location...fuzzy's field...played many ball games there :)

i'm a follower & email subscriber, too :)

thanks for the chance to read this great novel!

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

Fabulous interview! My fav location as a child was at my aunt's house at their farm in S.D., I loved seeing their horses!

Thanks for the giveaway!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

I'm a follower!!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

I follow on FB!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

I posted on my blog Facebook page, The Write Stuff!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Brittany Roshelle said...

I also added it to Twitter!

askbrittanyroshelle at gmail dot com

Jennifer S said...

Jennifersmith.ga (at) gmail (dot) com

1. Favorite childhood location would be my grandparents house

2. I'm a follower.

3. Shared on twitter and FB
https://twitter.com/#!/lilmamaj81/status/119775392910409728
https://www.facebook.com/lilmamaj81/posts/284932504852020

4. Have a request pending for Chick Lit Central on Facebook.

Laurel Mayer said...

Thank you, all, for your interest in PUSHOVER! And thank you, Amy, for the nice compliment about the cover art!

All of your descriptions really capture the magic of childhood memories. Amazing how certain, and often simple, settings conjure such sensory emotion.

Thanks again for participating in the contest!

ADR527 said...

My favorite place was the pool at our house.

I follow the blog

I follow on Facebook & Twitter

adr52775 at aol dot com

rosiepopsox said...

r.m.haigh@hotmail.co.uk
my favourite childhood location was my grandads garden because at the time is seemed really big and magical at the time :)

joined the chick lit central on fb :)

x

StereoQueenBee said...

1. Describe a favorite location from your childhood.

I think going to my Grandfather's. I used to love to go have sleepovers.

2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).

Already follow this blog.

3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.

Facebook - Sabrina-Kate Eryou
Twitter - stereoqueenbee

4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines, as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too

Am already a member!

queenofcrunk at gmail dot com

Susan said...

My favorite location as a child and one that has happy childhood memories attached is the pear tree in my best friend's yard. The two of us would sit for hours in that tree (my sister and her sister were usually in the matching tree next to it) and laugh and talk the summers away. Of course eating the pears right off of the trees was an added bonus!

I am a GFC follower.
I have joined Chick Lit Central on FB.

suzebomb(at)gmail.com

Kat said...

1) Great tips for storytelling!

2) Favourite location from my childhood is simply our backyard. I spent a lot of time playing and daydreaming.

3) I am already a follower.

4) I am already a member of CLC.

ladykathryn@rogers.com