Today’s mystery author guest is Loni Emmert. Loni has worked in entertainment for thirty years but had an itch to write fiction—specifically mysteries with a strong romantic edge. To hone her craft she joined writing groups Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. Drawing from her experience Lights! Camera! Murder! is her second published mystery. She is a Southern California native and also writes articles on writing and related topics. Learn more about Loni at her website.
Loni is giving away a copy of Lights! Camera! Murder! to one lucky reader who posts a comment to the blog this week. -- AP
Hollywood and Vine. Mann’s Chinese Theater. Pacific Coast Highway. Paramount Pictures. The Walk of Fame. Capitol Records. Sunset Boulevard. The Hollywood Sign. These are just a few of the famous sights that I am privileged to enjoy daily and some of them inspired me to write Lights! Camera! Murder! a murder mystery that takes place on the set of a soap opera. I think part of the fun of writing is bringing interesting locations to the attention of the reader. Personally, I know that when choosing a book I definitely look for unusual settings that I have not had the opportunity to visit. That way I get to learn about a new place and travel vicariously along with the characters.
Because I work in Hollywood and know the town intimately, I was able to bring to life some famous settings for my characters to visit, though some names of locations were changed to protect the innocent. An example is my fictional movie studio, Olympus Studios that I created from my experiences with two real studios, one of which I worked at a few years ago. I kept Barney’s Beanery—a restaurant famous for having celebrity diners such as Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin as regulars during their heyday—the same as my characters enjoyed a meal there.
By setting my story in Hollywood I hope to give readers that have never had a chance to roam around Tinsel Town a bit of the celebrity experience.
In my first book, The Leaf Peeper Murders, the locale I selected was small town New Hampshire, again a fictional town, modeled after a real village that I had visited several times. The amazingly beautiful fall foliage becames the colorful backdrop for two murders, and I hope, brought some New England feeling to readers.
One of the most important aspects of a story is the setting. The location of the story itself becomes a character and can add rich texture and color to the plot. One of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, might not have delighted me so if it took place somewhere else. The images of Tuscany were a vivid vehicle to transport the viewer to another place. In fact, the villa itself is quite a character that brings many challenges to the main character. While the story itself is important, the surrounding scenery of the story is just as important, creating a unique ambiance for the characters to react to and grow from.
Loni, thanks for joining us today. I’m sure many of my readers will be running out to pick up a copy of Lights! Camera! Murder! but before you do, readers, post a comment. You could be the lucky person who wins a copy. Don’t forget to check back on Sunday to see if you are. -- AP