Setting: A Product of the Environment

meda~ By Meda White

When I wrote my first contemporary romance novel several years ago, I knew at least part of it would be set in the South. I suppose the old Write What You Know advice is deeply embedded in me. Georgia born and bred, hearing and re-telling area stories is what my family does for entertainment. Part of me wants to share my heritage with the world.

Interestingly, I enjoy learning about other cultures. I find them fascinating. I love to travel and experience them firsthand. Travelling inspires me to share other places and parts of the world. When I return home, I write feverishly to capture as many details and nuances as I can before I forget them. Pictures help, but there’s something to be said for holding onto the spirit of a place. I wish I’d been writing when I visited Russia or The Netherlands or Italy. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back. Can someone say “Research Trip”?

My debut novella, Spring Fling, releases this month and I wrote it immediately after returning from a Spring Break trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. I grew up going to that beach, but visiting twenty years later made the memories fresh again. It was also interesting to see through a more mature worldview. College kids still get buck wild on the Redneck Riviera, but now they have camera phones to document it for posterity.

I didn’t give many specific details about the setting in my story, but I had a good feel for the environment as the love story formed in my heart. I hope I conveyed a little bit of what it felt like to be there. I consider it part of my job to transport readers to another place.

As writers, is setting a big part of your story? A character in and of itself? Or just the backdrop for the more important stuff?

Meda White writes sweet, sultry, and southern contemporary romance. She resides in the Southeastern United States with her husband and a very spoiled furbaby. When not writing, you might find her making music, shooting zombie targets, teaching yoga, or explaining the meaning of her unusual first name.

She contracted with Soul Mate Publishing in January 2014 for her novel Play With My Heart. Release date TBD. Spring Fling will be available in March, 2014. Visit her at or on Facebook at or on Twitter @medawrites .

2 thoughts on “Setting: A Product of the Environment”

  1. I think setting can be one of the building blocks of the story, just like another character. Can’t wait to read Spring Fling and love the cover! WTG!
    P.S. I grew up going to Gulf Shores, so I know what you mean. Katrina turned it over and it’s been rebuilt, so it’s a totally different place from my memories.

    1. Thanks, Pamela. I agree about setting as a building block. I love when I’ve finished a book and feel like I’ve been there. I lived in Pensacola for a long time and as you know, Gulf Shores is just down the road. I love and miss it. You’ll have to visit again and make some new memories.

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