Place Setting (States of Love) by Claudia Mayrant
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Claudia Mayrant
How much of yourself goes into a character?
Every character I write has at least a little something of me in them. What that thing is or how much there is varies. Sometimes it’s something in their background, sometimes a hobby or an interest, and sometimes it’s in the way they approach a relationship with a person or persons they care about. In Place Setting, both Gray and Cameron come from a place very familiar to me and I can see their hometown of Summer Corners clearly in my head because it’s very much based on some towns back home. My love of cooking comes through in Gray’s profession as a chef, but I also wrote Gray as coming to his profession after life through him curveball — his childhood dream wasn’t going to happen so he made a new dream and struck out on a new path which is something I’ve worked through myself.
Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?
Even if I wrote someone exactly like me in personality, appearance and background, I’d make an excuse to do research, because I love it so much (yes, I was one of those children who occasionally read the family’s World Book Encyclopedia for fun). So, it doesn’t influence what genre I choose as I am going to find a way to do it anyway but I always look forward to it because no matter what I’m writing it gives me a more complete picture and makes the world of the book more real and solid in my mind.
I enjoy making up worlds and cultures but always have the reference books (and websites) close at hand when I do.
Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?
Yes, though I go through phases where I’m reading a lot of them and then hardly any at all; it’s always been that way for me, like I’m devouring a buffet and then take ample time to digest. In these phases I’m also almost always sticking to one category. My first romance book love where the teen contemporaries that filled mass-market spinners at the local mall bookstore. After that, I admit I started sneaking my mom’s racy historicals full of petticoats and pirates. After college, it was back to contemporary but usually it was a mystery or fantasy and lately I’ve been into regencies. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite kind, and I’d like to explore writing some of each.
What’s next for you as an author? Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work? Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?
I’m treating this as one question and answering out of order, to boot! Yes, I have put something away, a story with two characters that I love and I think, have some sweet and sizzling chemistry but something about their relationship journey together just wasn’t jelling like it should. That was a couple of years ago and since finishing Place Setting, I’ve come back to it and there’s a clearer path – so that is what’s next, getting these two fellas through their story to their happy end
With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain? To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?
I write to give myself- and hopefully my readers – an interlude away from real-life concerns and responsibilities for a little while. I don’t think escapism and entertainment is mutually exclusive with explanation or education but as a storyteller, I’d say I’m most consciously trying to do the former though not at the expense of the latter. I’ve found that experiencing hope, joy, and laughter often help make a fertile ground for a growing mind, so sharing those is something I strive to do with my writing.
Cameron Dunlop has lived in the Lowcountry town of Summer Corners, South Carolina, his whole life. He loves his home, but his little town in the Deep South doesn’t offer much in the way of dating options.
Chef Gray Callahan has enjoyed success in the kitchen, but his last relationship sunk like a bad soufflé. When plans for his sister’s wedding go awry, it provides the perfect excuse to pack up and go home, where he can help out as he decides how to start his life over.
Gray’s path crosses Cameron’s, and he realizes together they might have all the ingredients to save the day—with maybe enough left over for something sweet just for the two of them.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
About the Author
Claudia Mayrant has been exploring the world around her since she was old enough to get around under her own power. Since then, she’s enjoyed visiting as many places as she can.
For all her love of travel, she’s most relaxed back in the South on a Gulf Coast beach with good friends, refreshing beverages, and plenty of sunscreen.
Author twitter: @ClaudiaMayrant
Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/claudiamayrant/