Question of the Month: On Location

by Susan Henderson on March 4, 2013

Tell me what it would be like if you spent some significant time in the setting of your current work-in-progress.

Because that’s what my plan is. I’m headed here to do the final edits on my book. Population: 181. That’s the sign to the hotel where I’ll be staying, and they do not take credit cards, I just discovered, but said they could give me a room with a table in it if I paid for the deluxe suite. Oh, yes, I will splurge for a table!

LitPark is on hiatus until the book is done, and then I’ll have so, so much to share! Be well, everyone!

Oh wait! Can’t leave without saying some thank you’s: Just Jenny, Feeding the Brain and the Body, howaboutabook, Brenda’s BlogMed Bok og Palett, and to everyone who has ever written an Amazon review for my book because it’s a generous thing to do. Okay, see you on the other side of this adventure!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathalie (@spacedlaw) March 4, 2013 at 6:36 am

Have a great time!

(No real venue for me, no reality, the story is in my brain: It has plush cushions and sharp angles. Quick sands and wild berries.)


Susan Henderson March 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Oh! What a fabulous description of your setting!


billie hinton March 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

What a fun question! I’m so excited for you that you’ll be on location working on your new novel – can’t wait to hear all the things that happen while you’re there.

I am wanting so badly to go to the location of my novel-in-progress. It begins in Needles, California and the main character Ava Lee drives south to the border and then ends up in Arivaca, Arizona, where she sleeps in a tent on a cattle ranch and helps out with the domestic chores to earn her keep. The landscape is dry and dusty and although I know it well enough to write it, how wonderful would it be to just BE there in it for awhile right now? I’d really like to get a sense of the border town community, the comings and goings, the rhythms of the day.

I’ve talked about flying to Needles and then recreating the whole journey in a rental car (an old green truck like Ava Lee’s?) – if I do it it would be this summer, in the brutal heat, to get the full effect. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, enjoy your time in your room with the table!! I know it will be magical.


Susan Henderson March 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I’m about to go into the courthouse for jury duty and using my phone for the last time before I have to give it up at the security desk.

How wonderful to hear about Needles and the hot dust! I hope you’re able to retrace the route. I just think being there wakes the senses up to all the details, or at least that’s what I hope.

I’ll let you know how it all works out with my deluxe table. 🙂


Elizabeth Crane March 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Well, I have to laugh at this topic, because I am in the location where my current project takes place, but this is in large part the very topic of the book; what it’s like to be back here after so long. (Memoir). The short answer is: CHALLENGING. 🙂
And I don’t know if that’s going to make for a good book, or if its just going to be therapy on the page, in which case, it will never see the light of day, and that will be the best favor I can do for anyone. All I know is its what I’m compelled to do right now, and I’m ok with that deal.


Susan Henderson March 4, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Betsy, I can’t wait to talk to you about all of this… and the huge and surprising difference between writing memoir vs. novel vs. short story. Maybe on our KGB day, we can meet way early for lunch or dinner.


Elizabeth Crane March 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I would love that!


Cousin Dean March 5, 2013 at 12:21 am

Looking forward to your visit!


Susan Henderson March 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

My dad and I were just talking about you today. Are you going to drive out from Missoula with me? I was hoping you’d be along for a visit to the cemetery and the breaks. Will be so, so good to see you!


Ali March 5, 2013 at 6:32 am

Most of my current w-i-p takes place in Portland, where I live, so I’m actually there all the time. It’s the first time I’ve written something set where I live, and it’s so much fun. Though it’s easy to get bogged down in the details, at times.

Have a great writing trip!


Susan Henderson March 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Ali, yeah, you’re so right about the potential to get bogged down in details because you know a place so well. The flip side is that it feels so great as a reader to be able to see, hear, and feel where the author has taken you. Best of luck with your Portland WIP!


Michael Ronemus March 6, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hey Susan.

Good to meet you in jury selection today. I’m sorry we won’t have you with us the next few weeks. I enjoyed our short talk and now have to read Up From the Blue (nice reviews). Montana sounds great right now and I look forward to reading your work and reading about you in the future. By the way I really appreciated how you understand how a victim’s credibility is attacked in court. You eleqouently voiced what few realize. Oh yea I spent a couple years at Vandy too but awhile before you.

Michael Ronemus.


Susan Henderson March 8, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Hey, what a nice surprise this is! You’ve given me the hugest smile.

I actually came away from the jury selection with a profound respect for the process . Hopefully I’ll get another crack at seeing it from the inside.


Raima March 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I think I told you before that my current work-in-progress is set in Montana, too (well, part of it is, anyway)…near Bozeman (Three Forks, to be exact). Your trip plans (and this photo) make me think that maybe I should go for a visit this summer. I haven’t been there in quite a few years, although the memories of these places out west seem to be embedded in me at a cellular level. Have a great time!


Susan Henderson March 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Raima, I know love Bozeman so much and hope you will go for a visit to Three Forks because I’d like to see the pictures and hear the stories. I understand about certain places being inside you at a cellular level, and I hope I’m right that staying in this town will help me awaken all the senses that memory can’t quite put into words.


Robin Slick March 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Ha ha, I wish I could spend time where my present book(s) take place – flying through the skies at night. (Cheap promo for Book 2, which my publisher delayed 🙂

But as I have been spouting ad nauseam, ever since I started doing TM I fly through the skies, anyway, every single day, just by sitting still and meditating. Life is finally good because I take it a moment at a time and focus on the beauty surrounding me instead of worrying.

Wait, is this me talking? I can’t believe it, but it is.

Susan, have a magnificent time and I’ll bet you have news to share – I expect to read all kinds of exciting things about you and as you know, I am never wrong.

Happy soon to be Spring! I for one was ecstatic to turn the clocks forward today. Love those sunny nights.

Be well and prosper. xo


Susan Henderson March 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I’d like to spend time in your book’s setting, too. Did you know I’m going to be in Philly (or nearly Philly, officially the address is in NJ) next Saturday? I know that’s hardly notice at all, but the 17-year-old is doing an all King Crimson show with some former AllStars, and if you’re around, I’ll buy you a drink and some things made of vegetables, and we can catch up. Just let me know.



Susan Henderson March 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Well, obviously the flier didn’t post, so I’ll put it up on FB, probably tomorrow. I want to hear all about your TM and everything else.


Ric Marion March 10, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The story is set mostly where I am, or nearby. Scenes, however, are scattered about Michigan and surrounding states. This summer’s day trips will be to those places, to make sure everything is authentic. An overnight, to the Grand Rapids area, to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house and Meijer Sculpture Gardens, with a side trip to Truffant – the Stump Fence Capitol of the World – yes, that’s for real! How could one come across that and not USE it??
Enjoy your edits, Susan. Place looks like the end of world.


Susan Henderson March 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm

What a nice series of day trips! I’m going to look up the Stump Fence Capitol of the World. That is all kinds of awesome!


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