Setting the Stage

Last week I talked about the importance of setting, including the role it can play in a book and how much thought I generally put into selecting mine.

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to the setting of my current work-in-progress. With this book, I’m going back to my roots, to the state where I was born and raised: North Carolina.

Like the details-obsessed writer I am, I took a vacation to immerse myself in the city of my current work. Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce you to Wilmington, NC.

Wilmington Downtown

That’s a shot of the historic downtown, next to the riverwalk that runs along the Cape Fear River. (I grew up a couple hours upriver.) Like with every Southern city, it’s steeped in history. Founded around 1740, it’s home to 112,000 people, EUE Screen Gems Studios (the largest American television and movie production facility outside of California), and the USS North Carolina, rescued from a scrapyard demise by a slew of devoted North Carolinians.

USS NC battleship

One defining characteristic of Wilmington is its coastal location, beaches only minutes away from downtown. Including this private beach neighborhood, where my characters happen to live in their gorgeous houses with their less gorgeous secrets.

F8 Island beach long

It is on this picturesque beach, complete with tide pools, where a body is found. (Hello, I write mystery. You had to know there’d be a body.) The Find occurs in a spot exactly like the one in the pic below. And by that I mean, this is the spot.

F8 Island beach tidepool

There’s nothing quite like NC beaches. I grew up playing in that sand, splashing around in those waves. (And no, I never encountered a shark.) A NC beach is one of my favorite places in the world, so it felt natural to take people there with my book, to introduce you to the South, NC-style. I can’t wait to share it with you.

F8 Island beach reeds


  1. Natalie Walters
    Jul 16, 2015 @ 20:16:14

    I love it! Thanks for sharing your setting and a few little enticing secrets! It always brings a story to life when we, the reader, can see what you, the writer, see. And, yeah, I can sort of a see how a body could be found on that beach. 🙂


    • halee
      Jul 16, 2015 @ 20:30:19

      Thanks, Natalie! Just walking around the area, I got a hundred ideas of how to kill someone and dispose of the body. (And that would be concerning if a normal person said it. But as writers, we’re in an entirely different world from normal, lol.)


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