Friday, September 20, 2013

Walking in my Character’s Shoes: Guest blog with Heaven and Hellsbane Author Paige Cuccaro

Walking in my Character’s shoes

Location is one of the most important details in any story. For HEAVEN AND HELLSBANE, I chose a place I know and love—Pittsburgh PA.

I grew up about 45 minutes south of the vibrant city in a small town named for its stop on the Pony Express—Eighty Four PA. My little rural town was so small we didn’t even have a stoplight. So for me, growing up, Pittsburgh was a huge city full of glamour and possibilities.

When I reached college age and enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, I realized the city wasn’t exactly New York City, but it was still chock full of wonderful people, amazing culture and…like I’d always suspected—endless possibilities.

So when it was time to choose a setting for a big hearted, fundamentally noble and slightly sarcastic, half human-half angel heroine, (a.k.a. Emma Jane Hellsbane) I knew there was no better place than my favorite city.

The fact that I’d grown up so near to Pittsburgh, and had been in and around its many streets and neighborhoods most of my life helped. It gave me the advantage of knowing what the city feels like, how its people think, and what makes it special. I tried to use that knowledge to enhance the setting in HEAVEN AND HELLSBANE.

But like in any book there are critical scenes where the setting isn’t just a backdrop, it’s a character all by itself. In HEAVEN AND HELLSBANE key places like Emma Jane’s home, the overlook where Emma Jane practices her sword skills, and PNC Park where a major event takes place, all played an integral role. (You’ll have to read the book to find out what and why.)

This summer, after living in Ohio for the past 14 years, I finally got the opportunity to take my family back to my beloved city and take a walk in my character’s shoes.

We visited the exact overlook where Emma Jane defends her boyfriend Dan.

From the overlook we could see Point State Park,
and PNC Park, both key locations. 

But even with my personal knowledge of the city there were still some details I needed help with. Google maps is awesome for figuring out street names, police jurisdictions and how long it would take a person to drive from Saint Anthony’s in Troy Hill to a house on Cook Street in McKeesport.

As much as I love Pittsburgh, there is one other place I was lucky enough to visit and where I knew I had to set one of the most pivotal scenes of the series. Positano Italy is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I really think my memory of the colorful seaside town helped enhance the story.

While I’m lucky to have actually been to some of the locations where Emma Jane Hellsbane lives and breathes, with a story about all powerful angels and demons who can travel the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no way I could visit every location. Luckily in this day and age a writer doesn’t have to take an exotic trip around the world to give her reader a good feel for a location. With image searches, Google maps, satellite and street views, we can go almost anywhere from the top of the Corcovado mountain in Brazil, to the dirty streets of Mumbai India.

For those sensory details that can really bring a setting to life, check Wikipedia, Flickr and even Facebook. It may sound a little creepy but you’d be surprised by the amount of rich detail you can glean from the people’s family vacation photos and the unique quirky captions and commentaries of those who have been there.

Happy writing! Happy reading! (Embrace the creepy)

Heaven and Hellsbane
Hellsbane Series,
Book Two
Paige Cuccaro

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Ebook ISBN 978-1-62266-887-8
Print ISBN 978-1-62266-888-5

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 97,000

Cover Artist: Karen Phillips

Amazon   BN

Book Description:

Someone’s killing angels and turning the half human, half angel illorum warriors against their angelic supporters. If the supernatural baddy behind the attacks isn’t stopped soon, Heaven itself could fall victim. The Council of Seven has called in the best they’ve got to find the killers, and no one’s more surprised than Emma Jane Hellsbane when it’s her phone that rings.

But when her own angelic mentor—and off-limits hottie—Eli is targeted, Emma takes it personally. With Emma hot on the trail of the growing army of assassins, though, hackles start to raise around her. Everyone wants to know if she’s in it to protect all angels or just one in particular. The Council has their suspicions…and so does Emma’s boyfriend.

Now Emma isn’t just fighting off demons, rogue nephilim, and Fallen angels, but she’s defending her honor as well. The problem is even Emma Jane isn’t sure of her motives. One thing she does know: if she doesn’t figure out the killers’ identities soon, she may not live long enough to know what, or who, she really wants.

It’s all in a day’s work as Heaven’s ultimate bounty hunter.

About the Author:

Writing was never a foregone conclusion for me. I once had dreams of being a psychologist, a pediatrician, a school teacher, a photojournalist, a bartender, and/or an EMT. And then I met my husband and my world came into focus. Being wife and mother are my highest priorities and greatest joy. But escaping to the fanciful, sexy worlds twirling through my mind is an absolute necessity. Putting those worlds, and the cornucopia of characters that people them, on paper is just plain fun.

Paige lives in Ohio, with her husband, and three daughters. When she’s not writing she can be found doing the mom thing with a book in one hand and a notepad and pen in the other. Ideas come without warning and the best way to stimulate your imagination is to enjoy the imagination of someone else.

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Roxanne Rhoads said...

Fascinating. It's always wonderful to see insight into the story, the characters and the author.

Paige Cuccaro said...

Thanks, Roxanne! And thanks for having me on your blog today!!