Monday, March 3, 2014

Where in the World are...Sonia Gensler, Alexandra Duncan, & Marissa Meyer

Due to popular demand, this feature is extending by one more week! You still have one week to enter the contest, too! 

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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The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler

Set in: Cambridge, England, 1901

Why did you pick this setting?
The story centers on three teens whose parents are paranormal investigators. These investigators are loosely based on actual founding members of the Society for Psychical Research, most of whom had a Cambridge connection. One of the founders went on to set up a women's college called Newnham, which inspired the main setting of The Dark Between--Summerfield College. Cambridge dazzles with its grand architecture and storied past, but it also soothes the soul with meadows and pastures and quiet wooded walks. I wish I could set all my novels there!

What makes your book's setting unique?
Cambridge is always teeming with people--students, locals, tourists--and probably has for centuries. But Newnham College, the inspiration for Summerfield, is set a little distance from the city center in a quiet neighborhood. When you walk inside, you feel as though you've entered another world--a safe, calm refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. It seemed the perfect place for three characters to hide from their problems . . . but also the perfect place for a murderer to hide illicit activities.

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Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Set in: The Gyre - aka the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Why did you pick this setting?
Truth is definitely stranger than fiction, and sometimes you hear about something that's too good not to include in a story. There is an area in the Pacific Ocean where currents converge in such a way that all kinds of garbage and debris collect on the ocean surface. In SALVAGE, people in the future have constructed a floating patchwork city that allows them to collect, clean, and resell this refuse. This isn't such a stretch as you might think. People in all corners of the world actually live in garbage dumps and make their living picking through the trash. It isn't impossible to think people in the future might do the same in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

What makes your book's setting unique?
True, real life fact - The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is what scientists call an "ocean desert," which means that it is basically a dead zone in the middle of the ocean with very little marine life.

Made up fact from my book - It never storms in the Gyre. Or does it?

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Set in: New Beijing (futuristic China)

Why did you pick this setting?
Cinder is a futuristic retelling of the fairy tale "Cinderella." For the setting I was largely inspired by what some scholars believe is the earliest Cinderella tale, “Ye Xian,” which was written in 9th-century China. Additionally, some believe that the iconic glass slipper (which was gold in the Grimm version) came to us from China’s tradition of foot-binding and a culture in which women were praised for tiny feet. So setting Cinder in China seemed to have a great cyclical quality to it, and paid homage to some of the tale's roots.

What makes your book's setting unique?
One of my favorite parts of writing in this setting was researching traditional symbolism I could include in the books, particularly when it came to festivities and celebrations. For example, in the Chinese culture, bats symbolize good luck - so I decided to give my own twist to that and have all Eastern Commonwealth spaceships have bats in them somewhere/somehow, so that they no longer just symbolize good luck, but good sight in the darkness of space. (Come to think of it, this may not get mentioned until the fourth book of the series...) But a lot of the elements mentioned for the coronation and peace festival and the ball in "Cinder" were also taken directly from Chinese culture. For example, the ball is decorated with a theme of longevity (cranes, tortoises, bamboo, etc.) to encourage long life for their emperor.

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Don't forget to enter the giveaway! Open internationally, and you can enter every day.


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