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Friday, June 17, 2011


Today’s Book Club Friday guest author is Tina Gallagher. Tina writes contemporary romance novels and non-fiction. Tina began writing as a young girl. In-between softball, basketball, and music lessons, she and her best friend would create their own "happily ever afters" for their favorite soap opera couples. After a while, the soap operas lost their appeal, but the writing never did. Tina lives in Northeast Pennsylvania and is an active member of the Pocono/Lehigh Romance Writers. To learn more about Tina, visit her website
Tina will be giving away a signed copy of Misguided to one of our readers who leaves a comment this week. -- AP

Finding Inspiration

When people find out I’m a writer, they usually ask where I get my story ideas.  Actually, ideas come pretty easily…sometimes it’s as simple as reading a story and wondering “what if this happened instead of that?”  In fact, I often have snippets of potential characters’ conversations running around in my head as ideas come to mind. 

What I have more of a problem with in the writing process is the setting.  In fiction, the setting can be just as important as any character and needs to be developed just as well in order to make it come alive.  And it’s not just the city or town the story takes place in that needs to be described, it’s everything.  Unless my characters are going to have all those conversations that are running through my head in a one room shack, I need to find places for them to go, and I need to describe those places well.  

Since setting is so important, I try to notice things everywhere I go.  Restaurants, parks, schools, houses, hotels, roads…pretty much everything.  You never know what can be used in a story somewhere down the road. 

In my new release, Misguided, Jake takes Cassie for a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner at a hotel that was formerly a passenger train station.  While the town Misguided is set in is fictitious, the hotel is not.  I based it on an actual hotel located in my hometown of Scranton, Pa. 

The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel was formerly known as the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Station, whose routes stretched across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.  This six-story landmark was constructed in 1908 and considered one of the most beautiful terminals in the East, having been built as a showplace for the company’s central business offices and doubling as a depot.  It has been listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places since 1977.   

The last train left this station in 1970 and for ten years, the building fell into disrepair, falling victim to vandals and the elements.  After extensive renovations, it reopened on New Year’s Eve 1983, emerging with all the grandeur of the original station, plus so much more. 

The care that was taken throughout the restorations is evidenced throughout the building.  The Grand Lobby, which originally served as the station’s waiting area, boasts a barrel-vaulted Tiffany stained-glass ceiling, Siena marble walls, and a mosaic tile floor.  Surrounding the walls are 36 tile murals that depict scenes along the railroad’s lines, starting at Hoboken Station and ending at Niagara Falls.  Above the dining room walls are a dozen matching stained glass lamps, all but one is original to the old station.

Today, the Grand Lobby holds a fine dining restaurant and a wine bar.  This structure is truly a feast for the eyes.  If you’re ever passing through Scranton, be sure to make a stop at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.  Grab a cocktail, settle into a comfy chair, and check out the history.

Thanks so much, Tina! I will definitely have to put this train station/restaurant on my Must See Someday list. What about the rest of you? Want to have dinner at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment, and you could win a copy of Tina’s latest release. -- AP


Liz V. said...

Pictures are stunning. Good luck w/ Misguided and all your books.


I love when this happens! Thanks for sharing.

Caridad Pineiro said...

Stunning! Thanks for sharing this with us and congratulations on the new release.

Tina Gallagher said...

Thanks for having me here today, Lois...and thanks for all the kind words everyone. :)

jeff7salter said...

First of all: I'm really glad someone took the interest, time and funding to rescue and restore that old train station.
Now, as far as settings: One of my fav. examples from my own writing is the nearby cave with part of the roof broken down after dynamite for a nearby highway. I'd been in it once before and my wife's family (and ancestors) had been all over this cave for some 200 yrs. But when I saw the roof partly caved in -- of this long cave which was already very 'short' in height -- I just knew that setting had to play an important role in my 2nd novel ms. So it did. And I hope I did it well.

Bart said...

Great setting, Tina. Good luck with the new release!

Tina said...

Jeff, I'm glad they took the time to renovate the old building, too. It really is beautiful. Your cave sounds really interesting...especially the fact taht your wife's family has had contact with it for 200 years.

Tina Gallagher said...

Thanks Bart!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina,

The Lackawanna Station Hotel is a great setting. I'm glad you picked it.

As you know, I enjoy setting my stories in our hometown. Try setting one in the actual city of Scranton. Okay, it's not as sexy as the beach or Paris. Maybe just set one scene in Scranton.



Thanks for being our guest today, Tina. And thank you, everyone, for stopping by and commenting. For those of you who haven't commented yet, there's still time to do so to enter the drawing to win a copy of MISGUIDED. Don't forget to check back on Sunday to find out who the lucky winner is.

Tina Gallagher said...

Thanks Greg. And my novella, Prescription for Love is set in Scranton. Definitely not as sexy as the beach, but my characters did get to attend a Scranton/WB Yankees and see the Friday night fireworks. :)

E. F. Watkins said...

Tina, it's fascinating that you were inspired to write about this train station after it became a successful hotel. My 2009 book DANU'S CHILDREN was inspired by my college years in Scranton (early '70s), when the whole town was very blighted and shabby. I write about the station as it appeared when it was deserted--no hands on the big, outdoor clock, the exterior dark with decades of coal dust. Since I write paranormal thrillers, a group with a dark agenda is planning to make the space over for its own purposes... Of course, since my story is contemporary, I made the town smaller and called it "Carbonville." Just goes to show, though, how two authors can approach the same setting with much different visions! :-))

Tina Gallagher said...

E.F., I remember the station before the renovations and it was definitely a great setting for a paranormal thriller. I'm so thankful they renovated the building, bringing it back to its former glory.

I can't wait to check out your book.

Anne W. said...

What a gorgeous building! I love it when beautiful old buildings are restored. Thanks for the view of this one. May you have lovely sales on your book as a reward. :)

Tracy Smith said...

What a wonderful setting! Congratulations on your new book and thank you for hosting this giveawaay!