Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where in the World are...Alex Mallory, Janni Lee Simner, & Cindy Pon?

All this month, I'm featuring authors and the settings of their books, showcasing a variety of locales and characters from around the world--and sometimes off it!--in order to show readers new places and people.

Don't forget to enter the contest for a signed Across the Universe trilogy and swag from lots of authors--not just those featured this month! The contest is open internationally, and is super simple to enter--just tweet or share with a friend some of your favorite unique books, and enter in the Rafflecopter embedded below (or at this link).

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Wild by Alex Mallory

Set in: Pulaski County, Kentucky

Why did you pick this setting?
This book is a retelling of Tarzan. My first question when I started writing was: where could Cade live in a forest, in the United States, and reasonably never be found? It was important to me to retell this story without reusing the colonialist bits from the original.

Looking for locations, I started close to home, and discovered Daniel Boone National Forest-- in southern Kentucky.

After speaking to a park ranger, I discovered a lot of great details: it's not illegal to camp indefinitely without a permit, as long as you follow conservation laws. It's one of the few places in the US where primitive hunting is permitted.

The forest is patrolled, but because of the cliffs and caves, it would be easy to stay there, unseen, for years. If you're smart and careful, you can live off the land there indefinitely.

Finally, there's plenty of wilderness in the western US, but I've never been there. Because Cade had to be intimate with his forest, I had to be, too. Since Daniel Boone is part of my backyard, I was confident I could describe it accurately for Cade.

That made southern Kentucky the perfect place for a modern Tarzan to go untouched by the modern world, while still being quite close to it. WILD couldn't have been anywhere else!

What makes your book's setting unique?
Daniel Boone National Park has one of the largest concentrations of caves in the world. If you combine the caves in Wayne, Rockcastle and Pulaski counties, there are 173 miles of MAPPED caverns. Who knows how many unmapped caverns remain?

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Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner

Set in: Iceland

Why did you pick this setting?
Iceland has long been home to mythic stories and sagas. On my first visit to the country, I was struck by how I was walking the very same ground the characters in the thousand-year-old saga I was reading had walked. That shivery sense that the past was breathing over my shoulder was one of the things that led me to write Thief Eyes.

(I talk a lot more about my explorations of place and story in Iceland here.)

What makes your book's setting unique?
Already a geologic hotspot, Iceland is also a place where two tectonic plates meet. The combination results in one of the most geologically active places on the planet--and for a powerful sense of landscape.

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Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Set in: Kingdom of Xia

Why did you pick this setting?
Because fantasy has always been my first love. I was a new Chinese brush painting student at the time and learning more about Chinese history and culture. I wanted to combine my two loves when I finally decided to try and write a novel!

What makes your book's setting unique?
My heroine Ai Ling must journey to the The Palace of Fragrant Dreams, loosely based on China's actual Forbidden Palace. Emperors kept concubines to show their status and virility, and some kept women in the thousands, sequestered away.




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