Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Setting as Character by Susan Aylworth

Whether the scene is a Noah's Ark-type vessel in outer space or a three-masted square-rigger afloat on the Pacific, I love to read stories with interesting, different settings. I enjoy tales in which the setting functions almost as a character. Because that's what I want to read, it's also what I try to write.

The Seasons of Destiny series takes place in a small town in the Sierra Nevada forests. The fictional community of Destiny, California was founded during the Gold Rush by miners who discovered a few nuggets and believed they'd found their destiny. The couples who discover each other there find another kind of good fortune. 

The Rainbow Rock Romances happen in an entirely different kind of setting. Also a fictional town, Rainbow Rock is on the edge of the Painted Desert and named for the stripes of color in the dunes. Scenes from several of the stories are set in the Navajo Nation and other scenic parts of the Four Corners region. Such a picturesque setting makes an excellent character, functioning nicely in each of the nine stories.

Perhaps my interest in beautiful settings comes from the places I've lived, including my present home at the edge of the Sierra Nevada foothills and a former home in the Four Corners portion of Arizona. Plenty about my Nor-Cal home is photogenic and portrait-worthy.  As I write, the almond orchards that surround our town are in full bloom and hives of bees are busy pollenating, making sure those blossoms will turn into nuts before the autumn harvest.

Surrounded by such beauty, I try always to be aware and make it a point to enjoy. The imaginary friends who people my stories love the beauty of their settings as well. I'm eager for the Daughters of Destiny to bring it all back to the Sierra foothills at the same time they're exploring exotic new settings of their own. May we all find joy in the natural world this spring. 

Susan Aylworth is the author of 20 novels. Her newest series, "Seasons of Destiny," explores romance in every season of the year in the small town of Destiny, California.  Paris in the Springtime, Sunny's Summer, and Amber in Autumn are all available now in e-book and paperback. Look for Winter Skye, coming soon. Find her at 


  1. Yes, the settings and locales of our stories are an integral part. I visited the Painted Desert in October, and it was breathtaking.

  2. Great advice, Susan! ==>"May we all find joy in the natural world this spring."

  3. Settings are super important and can almost become their own sort of character. I love small towns.