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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post: Kathleen Gerard Author of IN TRANSIT

Today we have Katleen Gerard as our guest for today talking about why setting is important! Author of  IN TRANSIT


Kathleen Gerard

The Importance of Setting in Fiction

 In fiction writing, a sense of place can anchor a story. But setting is also a tool for exploring character. Often a character's reaction and response to a place can reveal a lot about him or her. I couldn't set my novel, IN TRANSIT, anywhere but in New York City, as the NYPD Transit Division and the New York City Subway System are central to the plot. Also, the idea of the subway system--a dark, underground labyrinth--serves as a metaphor to reveal the secret lives and hidden motivations of many of the characters in the story. Rita Del Vecchio is the heroine of IN TRANSIT. At the start of the novel, she is a naive 22 year-old and NYC takes on different meanings to her at different points in the story. In the first part of the novel, Rita longs for Manhattan as though it were a "promised land" - a place of opportunity. As the story unfolds, the reader learns that Rita spent the first 12 years of her life growing up in the Bronx, a borough of NYC.

When her parents moved the family to a New Jersey suburb, ten year-old Rita sentimentalized her days spent in the Bronx and longed to return. Thus, when a psychic at a shopping mall reads Rita's Tarot cards years later and proclaims, "You're destined for greatness" and "You will marry a man in uniform," it's the push Rita needs to find a way to move back to the city she loves and has missed. By the time Rita graduates from the police academy and starts working for the NYPD, Manhattan becomes larger than life. This young woman and rookie cop, who thinks she is so tough and street smart, actually feels overwhelmed when embroiled amid the fabric of New York City. Patrolling the subways for the first time as a full-fledged officer during rush hour, she experiences a sort of culture shock.  As the story progresses, Rita gradually acclimates herself to NYC.  But the place she once deemed as a "promised land" now transforms into a place of danger.

People and places aren't always whom or what they appear to be. Rita is ultimately forced to confront the choices she has made -- the life she has created for herself in NYC -- and she is forced to rise up against the mighty city and the powers therein, refusing to be dominated by forces larger than herself. In Rita's case, it is only by making this journey to NYC, and facing each challenge, that she changes and grows. What about you in your own life . . . Have you always lived in the same place or have you moved around a lot? What does where you live say about you? Is there some promised land (a place of opportunity) you are longing for? Where is that place and what would you hope for in migrating there? Please share your stories with us...

To learn more about Kathleen Gerard and the story-behind-the-story of IN TRANSIT please visit http://intransit-thenovel.blogspot.comcopyright/ 2011 by Kathleen Gerard. All Rights Reserved.



  1. Kathleen, what an interesting take on how setting influences character development when writing a novel. I can thoroughly attest that New York City can be an overwhelming place, and employing Manhattan as a backdrop for Rita's growth as a person is such a creative idea. I love looking at "In Transit" from so many different angles. Thank you for that.

    M.A. Chase - thanks a million for hosting Kathleen on your blog and for allowing her to share the process of writing "In Transit" with your readers. We appreciate your support of the book and its author.

  2. Dear M.A. Chase: I appreciate your hosting my guest post on "The Guide to Good Books." Hope your summer is filled with lots of inspired reading! :) Kathleen


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