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Dianna Love | Walk the Land

June 6, 2008

Research is the strength of all stories, regardless if it is contemporary, historical, fantasy or futuristic. So how does an author create real settings in all of these worlds?

I like to walk the land every time I can to pick up details we don’t see in a casual passing or on the internet. When Sherrilyn Kenyon and I were writing our new romantic-suspense story PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT (Pocket/June 10, 2008) last fall, we spent time in New Orleans (NO) surveying areas specifically for the story in spite of our joint knowledge of Louisiana. Sherrilyn knows New Orleans well since her Dark-Hunter series is set primarily there, KCON (Kenyon Convention) is in or around the French Quarter each year and she lived in NO at one time. I had family in Louisiana at one time and still do in Biloxi, Mississippi, plus friends in NO. I’ve fished from many of the coastal Louisiana towns along the Gulf of Mexico and had a business in NO at one time, so Louisiana has been a favorite location of mine for many years.

Even with all this background, we spent time there last fall “walking the land” so we had fresh images of law enforcement locations and proximity of residences to the French Quarter, exit routes, airports (small ones, too) and shipping container storage facilities. I photographed areas and wrote notes pertinent to the story. And we always talk to people wherever we go. All this played a part in creating realistic scenes. When I wrote my RITA award-winning book, WORTH EVERY RISK, I had a lot of emails from readers saying how the setting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida felt so real. That wasn’t too hard to do since I grew up in Florida and chose that city for many reasons that fit the story.

What about paranormal or fantasy stories – where do those settings come from? Sherrilyn has created such realistic sounding locations her books that fans often ask about the actual location of Sanctuary (Were Bear Bar) that will appear again in the upcoming ACHERON book (St. Martin’s Press/August 5, 2008), even though it is a fabricated establishment. She gives fans a walking tour through the French Quarter each year at KCON so they can see where different scenes occurred.

I have a paranormal novella coming out this fall that leans heavily toward fantasy. The setting is midtown Atlanta, Georgia – not far from where I live in Peachtree City. Even though I’ve lived here for many years and visit midtown quite often I still spent time walking through Piedmont Park just for the story, visualizing major scenes then traveling between different locations to get a good feel for time and place. But one setting is under a mystical mountain that is part of the actual Hindu mythology, another blend of mythical history with fictitious properties. I hope you’ll get a chance to read MIDNIGHT KISS GOODBYE (in the Dead After Dark Anthology by St. Martins Press/December 2, 2008) to see how I used real locations with fantasy elements.

~ Do you have a favorite story setting?

~ Did you ever read something that felt so real you wanted to go find that location…and did you try?

~ Have you read about a paranormal, fantasy or futuristic location you’d like to visit? Please tell us.

Visit my ONE DAY ONLY blog contest for a chance to win a copy of PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT. Two winners!!

Dianna Love

Dianna Love writes a romantic-thriller series with #1 NYT best seller Sherrilyn Kenyon. For more on PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT and Dianna please visit, and for information on Dianna’s nonfiction book Break Into Fiction™: Power Plot YOUR Novel coming out in 2009 visit

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