Thursday 21 September 2017

In The Stars by Zanna MacKenzie Blog Tour, Guest Post & Free Book!

Today I'm thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for In the Stars by Zanna MacKenzie who has written a brilliant and thought-provoking guest post all about the location setting for books.  It's all about the setting - or is it? 

Not only that but Zanna is also offering every reader the chance to download a free book - just click the below link

In The Stars (Amber Reed Mystery)
by Zanna Mackenzie

In The Stars: A Humorous Romantic Mystery (Amber Reed Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Self Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Print Length: 364 pages
One desperate phone call is all it takes to turn Amber’s previously dull day into one speeding scarily out of control!
Amber Reed’s at work making up the horoscopes for the local newspaper and wishing for some excitement in her life, when she gets a phone call offering her just that.
Plunged into the middle of a celebrity murder investigation she’s desperately trying to convince the scarily handsome special agent assigned to solve the case that she can help him catch the killer.
Amber’s soon battling something far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined – and it has nothing to do with the equally scary chemistry fizzing between her and special agent Charlie.
Is it Amber’s wish for more excitement in her life which has landed her in big trouble – or is her fate written in the stars?
In The Stars is part of the fun, romantic Amber Reed Mystery series:
In The Stars (book 1)
On Trial ( book 1.5)
Precious (book 2)
Forever Mine (book 3)
Past Perfect (book 4)
Stop The Beat (book 5)
Paradise Lost (book 6)

It’s All About The Setting – Or Is It?
Does the setting of a book makes you want to dive into it more? What is it about the choice of location that entices you to purchase a book? Familiarity? Cosiness? Excitement?
At this point I confess I have a weakness for books set in the following:
  • Alaska
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Snowy mountains
  • Sunny seaside towns with a cafe, sand dunes, a lighthouse and blissful beaches
Right, so that’s my list – what’s yours? Are you keen on bustling and glam city reads? Quaint and quiet villages? Or is there something about the thrill of the unknown when discovering a totally fictitious book setting? How big a part does setting play for you when it comes to wanting to keep turning those pages - or flipping the pages in the case of an ereader!
I definitely think where a book is set influences me on whether or not I am tempted to read it. What do you think? Do you find yourself drawn to a cozy mystery because it’s set in a certain place, such as a sunny beach resort or a trendy city? I know I do. These days Amazon even lets us select cozy mysteries we want to read in categories such as small town, island, beach or mountain. How wonderful is that? Personally, I much prefer rural settings to urban ones but generally speaking, I don’t mind the country the story is set in, though the majority of books I’m drawn to are usually in the UK or the USA.
Like I said, I’m not much of a city person but that hasn’t stopped me from being intrigued by plots and drawn to reading books set in cities ranging as far and wide as London, Sydney and New York.  I certainly still enjoyed the books despite the locations not holding much appeal to me initially, so I guess location isn’t everything but I think the setting is something of a supporting ‘actor’ to the characters in a novel and can really help to bring the book to life.
As I mentioned earlier I admit to having a particular weakness for books set in Scotland, and some of my absolute favourite books have been set in Ireland as well. One book set on a fictitious island off the west coast of Ireland made me feel as though I was on holiday there with all the characters. I could smell the sea air, stroll along the lanes and see the little cottages dotted amongst the landscape, it was wonderful.
Books set overseas can make fascinating reading and allow you to learn more about the customs, traditions and the lifestyles of those who live there. I used to be a travel agent (many moons ago) and still love to watch travelogues on TV. I’ve learnt much about destinations as far flung as Alaska, Hong Kong, the Australian outback, Quebec and Montreal, North Carolina and New England from reading fantastic novels set in these places.
My Amber Reed series of fun and flirty mysteries has visited numerous destinations in the seven books so far. In The Stars (book 1) is set in the glorious Peak District National Park in Derbyshire which is only about an hour in the car from the home I share with my husband Doug and our 5 Labrador dogs. The wedding day mystery in On Trial (book 1.5 and available free via my website at unfolds amongst the hills of the Lake District, another favorite holiday destination for me. My husband and I have had numerous short breaks in the Lakes, spending a few hours each morning walking up the hills to sit and savour the stupendous views or strolling around the picturesque lakes themselves. Afternoons were usually spent perusing the local art galleries, craft shops and outdoor gear stores followed by a reviving drink and cake in a coffee shop. Ah, bliss!
Anyway, enough of my hols, back to Amber’s sleuthing destinations: there’s a remote Scottish island and a luxurious French ski lodge as well the fantastic city of Vancouver in Western Canada, a place where my husband has relatives who we visited a few years ago. The latest book, called Paradise Lost, sees Amber visiting the Caribbean for another fun sleuthing adventure.
So, how important do you think the location is in the books you read? Do you prefer to bask in hot and sunny or cosy up with cold and snowy settings? Are you a city or country girl at heart? Do you think the location adds another layer to the mystery aspect of a novel? I’d love to know!
Thanks, Zanna, for a really interesting topic.  Living in the UK I love my cozies set in a small British village with lots of quirky and eccentric characters .... but I don't favour those over any other settings.  I've read books set in hot cities and books set in freezing islands and, personally, I don't mind as long as it's got a good story.


I live in the UK (Derbyshire/ Leicestershire border) with my husband, 5 dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read
Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is my ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on. I love it when the characters in my novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot.
I enjoy walking the dogs, gardening and reading.
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