Friday, March 2, 2012

Mother Nature Stars in my Books!

By Jannine Gallant

Gardening and Nature is one of our topics this month. No one who has ever seen my yard would mistake me for a gardener. I’m lucky if I put one planter box of flowers out on the deck and remember to water it. My yard is green – because it’s full of thimbleberry bushes. Nature is my true love – beauty and simplicity wrapped into one lovely package that requires no effort on my part! LOL.


I grew up in the coastal woods of Northern California and have lived most of my adult life in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I can’t imagine not being able to walk out my door and into the forest. Nothing is more beautiful than the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the chirp of birds high overhead, the chatter of a squirrel taunting my dog. I love hiking until I’m out of breath, then sitting by a stream sparkling in the sunlight, breathing in the scent of pine needles… But I digress.

I can’t write cities with any authority. My characters live in small towns with nature all around. I have the occasional scene in a city, but for the most part I stick to what I know. My first book, Victim of Desire, takes place in Napa Valley, but my characters travel to a wilderness retreat in the High Sierra and to Lake Tahoe. One very tense scene takes place on the trail through the woods where I walk every day. It has now been dubbed “The Scary Trail” by a local friend. LOL

My Class of ’85 books all have rural settings. In Lonely Road to You my h&h journey cross country through Yellowstone and the Badlands on a road trip that involves camping, bears, and bison. After All These Years takes place in a ramshackle old cabin in the Adirondack Mountains, and Maybe This Time is set by the ocean in Northern California and on the course of the Lake Tahoe Marathon.


 My latest book, Bittersweet, is a historical set on a farm in Colorado. My grandparents lived on a farm when I was growing up, so I tried to channel those childhood memories of barns and fields and gardens when I wrote this story.

So, what are your favorite settings in books? Authors, do your characters find love in the woods or on city streets? Readers, tell us what locations fascinate you. They could wind up in my next book!

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15 comments:

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Jannine,
Lovely blog and pictures. Ah yes, country towns, I love them for my background settings as well.

Regards

Margaret

JenaGalifany said...

I can't imagine walking out my front door and into a forest. It sounds like it would be wonderful but I've lived in the high desert since 1967. My first book was set in my town and in the hills to the west, with the names changed. I had to do research to set my historical in Oregon 1880. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories.

Cheers!

Jerri Hines said...

Always love your blogs, Jannine. Only thing is it just reminded me I have one to finish...
Would love to visit Northern California. Heard its beautiful!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for visiting, ladies.

Margaret, small towns are the best - in my humble opinion!

Funny thing is, Jena, high desert is an hour away from me in Reno.

My little corner of CA is gorgeous. I spent a summer in Massachusetts. Loved the history in your area.

Alison H. said...

I've always been a city girl, but nature speaks more strongly to me, too, Jannine. I've set my current contemporary WIP in a fictitious small town on the Central Coast in California around Big Sur. Your photo reminds me so much of the area just north of there at Point Lobos. I don't think there's a more beautiful place on Earth.

Beth Trissel said...

Lovely post and one after my own heart. I live in the country on a farm and an a gardener and nature lover. Yes, writing cities is beyond me. Small towns only. Your books are beautiful.

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison, I love the Big Sur area. It's absolutely spectacular. I made up a town north of San Francisco for Maybe This Time. Lots of great scenery all up and down the CA coast.

Thanks, Beth. From what I've seen of your website and blog, you are a fabulous gardener. My mom spends hours and hours working in her yard, and it always looks wonderful. The green thumb gene skipped me. LOL

Darcy said...

I'm one of those city people, too. Always lived in a big city and probably always will, though the thought of being able to walk out of the front door and into a forest is wonderful. I suspect country people are more laid back and healthier because of the calming nature of, well, nature. Lovely post, Jannine, and magnificent photos. Makes me want to got over to my window sill and hug the two potted plants I have there. Okay, not a forest or even a garden, but one of the plants does have a single rose growing on it, and believe it or not, for a city girl seeing even that small sign of life taking shape can be a terrific experience.

Nancy Jardine said...

I haven't a favourite yet! Countryside plays heavily in my historical, and in my Monogamy Twist but my other two contemporaries have lots of foreign places and they are cities.
I have parts of my large garden that are almost left to nature-and no, I'm not purposely into saving native species it's just that at least one of my garden 'rooms/areas' somehow doesn't get attention. :-(

Laura Breck said...

Jannine, I think you and I are complete opposites. My books are set in Las Vegas, LA, and Miami. ;-) I read somewhere that "small town is the new vampire" so you're on the right trail to the bestseller list!

Jannine Gallant said...

Darcy, I'm sure your potted plants would appreciate the gesture! LOL Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy, foreign cities have that certain "Je ne sais quoi." Hopefully I remembered that right from my years of high school French! Exotic has definite appeal.

Laura, from your lips to the trend setters ears. LOL

Mariposa Cruz said...

Hi Jannine,

I'm a small town girl myself and I love the N California coast--both Howl and Roar! are set in Haven, a fictional town similar to Mendocino.
Great post!

Jannine Gallant said...

We used to camp a lot in that area, Mariposa. My husband still goes abalone diving down there in the summer. I'm sure it made a terrific setting for your books.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Hi Jannine,

I was born in the big, big city and now live and raised my kids in a very small town. Don't think I could ever go back!

You have a brown thumb just like me. Plants take their lives in their hands if I'm involved!

Continued luck on the career and, of course, sales!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks for visiting, Margo. I went from a miniscule town of 400 people to a small town of a few thousand. My one attempt at city living after college was not a success. All that pavement and traffic got on my nerves and made me an unhappy girl.