Guest Author Victoria Houston on Setting as a Character

VictHoust

Victoria Houston is author of the Loon Lake Mystery Series, a collection of murder mysteries based in Wisconsin, the author’s home state.

I grew up on a small chain of lakes just ten minutes east of Rhinelander where my grandparents had a log cabin that had been built in 1895.  Years later their cabin was demolished by a new owner, which broke my heart.  However, I was able to a full acre and 240 feet of lake frontage — the property abutting my grandfather’s.  On it is a 120-year-old cottage where I live all summer (as a kid I used to spy on the former owners because it has a wonderful sleeping porch windowed all around. My cottage has only 525 square feet of living space but it’s 20 feet from the lake.  I sleep surrounded by the sounds of the water and the wind, Great Horned Owls and eerie murmurs from cottages across the lake. I spend my days in the midst of towering red and white pine trees with eagles, Great Blue Herons, woodpeckers and lots of other critters.
This setting infuses my stories — the lovely sunsets, the terrifying thunderstorms.  And all my characters are people who live and deal with the beauty and the threats of the northwoods.  While my plots and people may be contemporary, this setting allows me to transcend the everyday.  My characters may be fictional but I feel as though they live nearby.
My lake world is haunting, often stunningly beautiful, seductive and, on occasion, murderous.  I love it.  I love living here.  I could not write the mysteries I write if I did not live here.
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