Thank you very much, Tania, for having me over!!
What's the creepiest place you can think of?
Cemetery… ghost town… overgrown abandoned building? Or maybe a haunted crypt full of gnawed bones?
When I needed to create a place where my main character, Tara, gets trapped during her nightmares, I thought — what would creep me out the most? Two things immediately came to mind: underground tunnels and spiders. Just thinking about being lost in semi-dark subterranean tunnels gives me claustrophobic heebie-jeebies. Add in spiders of various shapes and sizes and my arachnophobic self goes into total freak-out mode.
My vision of Tara's nightmare dungeon came out like this:
The rough gray walls of a dungeon passage enclosed her. Four burning torches in bright metal sconces lit the long hallway, illuminating the blotches of yellow ooze that covered the rock walls. Hordes of spiders — black, brown, yellow, and red, some thick-bodied and hairy, some thin and spindly-legged — crawled across the low ceiling, spinning sinewy cobwebs.
Eeeee… iiiiick. *shudder*
I'm a visual person, and one thing I've found that helps me imagine settings is to go to Google Images or sites like iStock or Freeimages and do a search on the type of setting I'm looking for. Scrolling through the photos sparks my creativity and puts me in the right mood to write the upcoming scene. Reading about similar places helps, too. The more clearly I can see the setting in my mind, the better I can recreate it with words and convey it in all its mystery to the reader.
Because setting is so much more than just the locale — it's geography, time of day, mood, atmosphere, and all the other intangibles that go into creating a backdrop for the action. If I can make every nuance come alive for myself, then it will come alive for the reader, as well.
Links to articles on creating settings:
Link to general creepiness:
TITLE: Trouble By Any Other Name
Sequel to Lady, Thy Name Is Trouble
AUTHOR: Lori L. MacLaughlin
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016
About the Book:
Tara Triannon is no stranger to trouble. She's yet to find an enemy her skill with a sword couldn't dispatch. But how can she fight one that attacks through her dreams?
With her nightmares worsening, Tara seeks answers but finds only more questions. Then her sister, Laraina, reveals a stunning secret that forces Tara to go to the one place Tara's sworn never to return to. Her troubles multiply when Jovan Trevillion, the secretive soldier of fortune who stole her heart, is mentally tortured by an ancient Being intent on bending him to its will. And worst of all, the Butcher — the terrifying wolf-like assassin she thought she'd killed — survived their duel and is hunting her again.
Hounded by enemies, Tara sets out on a harrowing quest to discover the true nature of who she is, to come to grips with the new volatility of her magic, and to defeat the evil locked in a centuries-old trap that will stop at nothing to control her magic and escape through her nightmares.
Lori L. MacLaughlin traces her love of fantasy adventure to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, finding The Lord of the Rings and The Sword of Shannara particularly inspirational. She's been writing stories in her head since she was old enough to run wild through the forests on the farm on which she grew up.
She has been many things over the years – tree climber, dairy farmer, clothing salesperson, kids' shoe fitter, retail manager, medical transcriptionist, journalist, private pilot, traveler, wife and mother, Red Sox and New York Giants fan, muscle car enthusiast and NASCAR fan, and a lover of all things Scottish and Irish.
When she's not writing (or working), she can be found curled up somewhere dreaming up more story ideas, taking long walks in the countryside, or spending time with her kids. She lives with her family in northern Vermont.
You can find her here: