Saturday, April 29, 2017

Location, Location, Location


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I’m in Bethesda Maryland today at Malice Domestic!  Whoo hoo! And photos to come.

Where are you? The wonderful David Burnsworth—who I met years ago in one of those serendipitous meetings at some conference and we instantly bonded—has changed his location for his third book.

Moving is a big deal—you get comfortable, then you have to pick up lock stock and book collection, and hope for the best in a new place.

Where was your last move? Where are you now?

David’s Brack Shelton is sticking with the south.





Home is Where You Keep Your Sunscreen

                   David Burnsworth

Charleston, South Carolina will always be home to my protagonist, Brack Pelton. My first two books, SOUTHERN HEAT and BURNING HEAT were set there. But with the third installment, BIG CITY HEAT, Brack gives Charleston a break and heads to the Capital of the South—Atlanta!

Realtors will say, “Location, location, location.” I couldn’t agree more. Some (probably even me) have called setting another character of the book. I now consider it more than that. Setting influences everything about the story. Winter in northern Maine or Wyoming could freeze appendages off. Certain parts of New York City or Chicago require bullet proof windows. The solitude of Denali might trigger introspection or loneliness.

I love Charleston because it is like no other place on earth. Antebellum homes on lower King Street, crabbing in the waterways of Johns Island, shopping in the Market, and sipping sweet tea at a beach bar on the Isle of Palms while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean are just a few of my favorite things. 

So is exploring the cobble stone streets or driving down Seventeen South toward Beaufort under the cover of live oaks bejeweled with Spanish Moss. The city’s part in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and current events. Mix in the Deep South climate of humidity approaching a hundred percent in the summer and calling Charleston special doesn’t do it justice.
 
So why did I pick Atlanta for book three? Like Charleston, I also lived in Atlanta at one time in my life. I felt a need to return, to see how the city of my teens had weathered time. And what I found was what started in the late seventies and early eighties as a boom town transformed the city into a cultural powerhouse. Every corner brings something to the table. Music, art, food, progress…Atlanta is absolutely drenched in its own diversity.

For many reasons, including giving me a more worldly outlook, my parents uprooted from what I’ll call rural America to the big city. I have to admit it took me quite a while to adapt. The experience forced me to change and adapt. And it certainly exposed me to a bigger world than I had been used to.

So, Brack had to go, too. This new book was a long time coming for me. I needed to take myself and Brack out of our shared comfort zone. Like for me on my research trip, he finds things are different in the metropolis. While challenging to write, it gave me a new cast of supporting characters to choose from and a different world to play in.

I read some authors because of the consistency of the setting and characters. And I read other authors because they change things up. My series’ home is Charleston.

But I’ll not be afraid of mixing things up from time to time. BIG CITY HEAT is me living this out.

Where are your favorite books set?

HANK:  Oh, gosh, that’s too hard. It depends on the story.  I guess—they’re set in a place that feels real. How about you? And check in, Reds and readers!  Where are you today?

  
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. He is the author of both the Brack Pelton and the Blu Carraway Mystery Series. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.
BIG CITY HEAT is his latest southern noir.


29 comments:

  1. One of my most-favorite series is set in upstate New York, another in New York City. But the south has a particular charm all its own and I find I enjoy a story more when the location is an integral part of the story.
    David, I’m looking forward to reading “Big City Heat” . . . I haven’t been in Atlanta for several years now, but it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind city . . . .

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    1. Thank you, Joan! You're right. Atlanta is truly a special place.

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  2. Hi all! We are having fun at Malice Domestic! David is here, and I'm here, and Karen in Ohio! Who else is at Malice-- Edith is here! Nominated for two! Agathas!
    Checki in… Where are you?

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    1. So glad to be here! Thanks, Hank!

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    2. I so wish I were at Malice with you all!

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  3. Congratulations David on "Big City Heat". I would love to visit Charleston some day.

    Like you, I read some series with the same setting. It's a nice familiar feeling of coming back to be with characters and places you know. And it makes sense for other protagonists to have different settings with each book. For instance, Jack Reacher goes to "Anywhere USA" for each adventure.

    For now, I don't plan to move from Ottawa. Now that I'm retired. I no longer have help from work to move locations. So my 11,000+ books and I am are staying put!

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    1. Great insight, Grace! I had such a fun time having my characters play in a different city!

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  4. Thanks, Hank! What a whirlwind - and 30 of us signed the Malice anthology last night - in which all of the stories take place in the past, another kind of setting.

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  5. My entire post disappeared. Dayum

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  6. Congratulations David, and welcome.

    I am in Rochester, NY, on the shores of Lake Ontario, which is one of the loveliest places I've ever lived. We moved here from San Francisco almost 17 years ago. Why might you ask? Because Julie's entire family was here, and housing prices were one decimal point to the left of those in SF. I do miss the sight of the ocean each morning and evening. I do not miss the hour long commutes or extortionate rents.

    No, the winters here are not all that bad, snow removal is an art, and LLBean is my boutique of choice for November thru March. The rest of the year is spring, right up until the autumn leaves explode in gold and scarlet and orange glory.

    My favorite book locales are the UK and France. And Canada. And Kansas! Think IN COLD BLOOD!I love to visit these places, and this summer I plan a trip to Three Pines.

    But today I'm going to curl up with a book and finish reading YOU'LL NEVER KNOW DEAR. Hallie, did you hear that shriek of delight from the west yesterday? You've done it again. I read until midnight last night and am more than halfway done. Thank you so much. I pronounce this a TGR*.

    *Thumping Good Read

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    1. Thanks, Finta! Hope you add some southern locales to your reading list. My wife and I are heading to LLBean county for vacation this year. We love New England!

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  7. Oh, in cold blood is one of my favorite books ever. Chilling.
    I'll be checking in from time to time, but counting on Reds to keep this conversation going today!
    Talk to you soon!

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  8. THANK YOU, Finta!!!! "Thumping good" is THUMPING GOOD!
    Waving to everyone at Malice!
    Atlanta. Charleston. Atlanta's a BIG CITY with all the good and bad that that entails. I think I've only been there to change planes. Charleston you can get your arms around in a few long walks and eat your way through (Best fried chicken and shrimp and grits and coconut cream pie on the planet). When you're there, you know exactly where you are from the landscape, architecture... As you say, David, the two places inspire very different kinds of narratives.

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    1. I've changed planes in Atlanta as well. And truth be told, there's never really a need to even leave the airport, it is like a city unto itself.

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    2. I agree, Jay. I spent a few extra hours there this past Thursday waiting out an airport grounding due to heavy storms.

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  9. Thinking of you all in Maryland. Good luck and congratulations! I live in rural upstate NY and almost always have. I do find setting very important to my favorite series - I know I'm going to have a mini vacation along with a great story. Among my favorites are books set in the Adirondack Park in NY, Lake Tahoe,and in a tiny village in Quebec.

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  10. I've been in the same place for 43 1/2 years and have no plans to change location.

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  11. Well, today I'm a little sad not to be in Bethesda! Waving and thinking of you guys. Having lived in Atlanta for 30 years, I tend to pick up books written with Atlanta as the setting. And, I'm also drawn to books using the South as their setting - especially the coast. I'm looking forward to reading David's work. Today I'm at home in the North Carolina mountains, outside of Boone in our little community with the sweet name of Meat Camp. LOL! Annabelle, Donald and I are sitting on the back deck enjoying a perfect day. Have fun at Malice, and when you see Dru, give her a hug from me.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kaye! I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think! Also, I have had the pleasure of seeing Dru a few times already here at Malice. She is awesome!

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  12. I have changed planes many times in Atlanta, but not yet visited the city. I haven't been to Charleston at all, but the rave reviews it gets, and Alaska Airlines new non-stop from Seattle have definitely moved it up the "to be visited" list.

    Sometimes I like to visit a place via books that I wouldn't necessarily be drawn to in real life, for instance, rural Mississippi in Ace Atkins' Quinn Colson series and Appalachia in David Joy's books. Familiar locations I love to return to are England, Boston, and L.A.

    Congrats on your latest, David! I think we first met at Bouchercon in Raleigh. I hope our paths cross in Toronto!

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    1. Thanks, Ingrid! Look forward to seeing you again in September!

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  13. Good thought Ingrid! Who all is going to Toronto?

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  14. Hi David! I've read and enjoyed Southern Heat, so I have some catching up to do but sure I'll like your latest. I'm a Southern girl, tho' I've lived in many different states before landing in Texas many moons ago, which is still considered the south! I think of setting as also a character itself and find any setting interesting, if well-written. Y'all have fun at Malice!

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    1. Hey Lynn! I'm glad you enjoyed Southern Heat. The second book is Burning Heat and then the latest one. Texas is definitely southern!

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  15. David, I love a good southern crime novel. I haven't been to Atlanta in years but I'll be happy to visit it through the eyes of your protagonist Brack - sometimes that's the best way to travel. I'm open to any setting - what sells it for me is the character I am filtering the setting through. Looking forward to getting to know yours. Thanks for visiting Jungle Red.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Jenn! I had to go back to Atlanta to do research. It has changed quite a bit in twenty-five years! Let me know how you like Big City Heat!

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