Home > Columns > Guest Posts > Choosing the Right Setting.

(Or does it choose you?)

At the end of May, AGAINST THE TIDE, the twelfth novel in my AGAINST series is being released. This is the last of three books about the rugged Brodie brothers of Alaska.

Being plot-oriented, I usually work through a story in my head then figure out the best place for the story to take place. Sometimes, as happened with the Alaska Trilogy, AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY, and AGAINST THE TIDE, the setting was an essential part of the stories before they were even conceived.

The concept for the trilogy began with a month-long trip my husband and I took to Alaska–a place that has fascinated me since childhood. Even before we set out, I knew I wanted to write an Alaskan trilogy, but had no story concepts until we set out on the five thousand mile journey north.

It was my second long trip, both of which involved traveling cross-country, staying in a tiny pickup camper. Every day and night spent out in the open filled my head with story ideas. By the time we got home, I had rough outlines for three high-action romantic suspense novels about the rugged Brodie brothers, Dylan, Nick, and Rafe, and the women who loved them.

In AGAINST THE TIDE, Rafe Brodie is the owner of a charter boat fishing company in remote Valdez. Liv Chandler, the beautiful new owner of the Pelican Café, has fled to Valdez, fearing for her life. Liv can’t trust anyone, not even Rafe, the one man who makes her feel safe.

Rafe finds Olivia an intriguing mystery. He’s determined to uncover her secrets, but the woman has a past more dangerous than Rafe can guess. When murder strikes in the tiny town, he begins to believe something terrible is coming. And even in remote Valdez, Alaska, Rafe may not be able to protect the woman he loves.

Though I was comfortable writing Alaska from the months I spent up there and was familiar with the wildlife and mountainous terrain, since I live in Montana, the trip added vistas, sounds, smells, and ideas for some of the interesting characters who appear in the novels.

Setting is always important to a story, in some books more than in others. To help me with the different locales, I use Google Maps extensively. They have street maps, street cameras, satellite views, terrain maps, and still photos, all of which help me see what an area looks like. What an amazing writers’ tool!

Going to the location, of course, is the best way to chose a setting. There are places I couldn’t write about without having been there. Alaska was one of them.

Driving all the way from Montana through Canada, over the Top of the World road, we took a side trip to Valdez. It was raining there, but the scenery was still spectacular. Valdez is the shipping terminal for the great Alaska pipeline, which gave me the plot line for AGAINST THE TIDE.

I try to choose locals that are fun for readers, enhance the suspense, and give insight into the characters.

I hope you enjoy my Alaskan he-man, Rafe Brodie, along with the mysterious Olivia Chandler in AGAINST THE TIDE.

Till then, very best wishes and happy reading, Kat


When Lane and Dylan work to solve the mystery,
they discover a legacy of injustice and murder.
With danger stalking their every move,
Dylan must risk everything to save Lane and
his daughter and uncover the truth–before it’s too late.

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains.

Her last eleven books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list. Both AGAINST THE WILD and AGAINST THE SKY, her latest release, took top ten spots. AGAINST THE TIDE the 3rd book in the Brodies of Alaska series will hit shelves in a couple weeks!

Visit Kat’s website at www.katmartin.com
Or look for her on Facebook at Katmartin/author.

Author Details
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A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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