Today on the blog I am joined by Heidi Catherine, talking about the settings of her novel The Soulweaver, and the importance of settings in general…
Choosing where to set a book is a major decision. It will be the backdrop to your story and is so important to get it right. Imagine Harry Potter set in the jungles in Africa. Or Twilight set in downtown Manhattan with werewolves roaming Central Park instead of the forests of Forks. It just wouldn’t be the same.
When writing my novel, The Soulweaver, I decided to tell the story in parts, with each taking place in a different city from the point of view of a different character. I hoped that by changing the setting as well as the character, it would give each part of the book a distinctive feel. It also made sense as this is a story about finding your soulmate again and again, over many lifetimes and it felt right to make it a story that crossed the globe, rather than taking place in one location.
I’m Australian, so I chose to start the story here. The main character, Hannah, lives in a small town on the edge of a forest and although I never actually mention what forest it is, in my mind we are in the Otways, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. I spent a lot of time in this part of the world when I was a teenager like Hannah. It’s a magical place filled with old trees, colourful birdlife and lush ferns. It certainly made an impression on me and I found it easy to imagine that Hannah would hold onto her memories of this forest when she is reborn into her next lifetime as a girl in Hong Kong.
I’ve spent a bit of time in Hong Kong and chose it as the second location purely because of how different it is to the Australian forest. I wanted the reader to understand how disconnected the main character feels from the world she lives in, with her heart remaining firmly rooted in the forest for the entirety of the novel. I think (hope!) that this contrast works well.
We then move to London, which is another city that I love. The character who tells this part of the story is a famous musician and it seemed right to me that he would move from his small Australian town to a large city to further his career and escape the pain of his past. I love the way London fits as a backdrop. It’s vibrant and crowded, making it a wonderful place for someone to hide from their troubles.
The final part of the story takes place in New York – the one location in the book I’ve never been to, but would love to visit one day. I was being a little bit cheeky choosing this fabulous city, as the main character of this part of the novel believes he must ‘save the world’ and New York seems to be the place to do this according to Hollywood. Ironically what takes place in the final chapters of the book could happen in any city of the world, big or small.
There are also a few scenes scattered throughout the novel set in The Loom. This is the place where a soul goes to be woven into their new life on Earth. This required no research (thankfully, or I may not be here to talk to you today!) just a lot of imagination, making these scenes some of my favourite in the book.
Heidi Catherine can be found on Facebook, Twitter or on her website. Her debut novel, The Soulweaver, is available for order now. She also has a free prequel novelette called The Moonchild, which introduces you to two of the main characters from The Soulweaver in the lifetime they lived before the book takes place.