Thursday, April 29, 2010

Behind the Scenes of Angel's Bay by Barbara Freethy

The idea for my new ongoing contemporary Angel's Bay Series came from a beautiful drive down the Pacific Coast Highway of California. Driving along the wild, rugged Central Coast, I learned about shipwrecks and deep ocean canyons where wrecks could literally disappear for centuries until the tides shifted. I thought how fun it would be to create a fictional town along the coast that was tied to a shipwreck ...

I went on to create a history for the town. The ship, which was called The Gabriella, was traveling south from San Francisco, overloaded with people fleeing the ebbing California Gold Rush in the 1850's. On board were a mix of cultures, families, single men who had been mining for gold, as well as the sailors themselves. When a horrific storm broke the boat apart, there weren't enough lifeboats, so many were lost in the ocean, some just yards from sanctuary. Tales of heroism and selfishness and other intriguing events play out in legends that continue today.

Those who made it to this beautiful protected bay founded a town called Angel's Bay in honor of their loved ones. Some of the women created a story quilt with each block telling the story of one of the survivor's or one of the lost families. These blocks and those stories are connected to the present day stories, echoing themes and decisions, made by some of my current heroes and heroines.

Once I had the history of the town, I started populating it with interesting people and places. As I went along I started seeing the community as a bit like Carmel on the California coast, which is a mix of small town charm and upscale sophistication. The people of Angel's Bay celebrate every holiday and event, so there's always something going on in town and once in awhile the angels that allegedly watch over people in the bay have something to do with one of the stories.

Each of my books is stand alone with a new central story line, although some of the secondary characters continue. But I worked very hard to make sure no one would feel like they couldn't enjoy a book without reading the one before. Of course, if you want to read them all - I'd love it! The first book, SUDDENLY ONE SUMMER, came out last July. I have two books out this spring, ON SHADOW BEACH came out March 30th and IN SHELTER COVE arrives in stores on April 27th. AT WHISPER FALLS will be out next year.

What are some of your favorite small town series are and what do you like most about reading ongoing series set in one community?

Barbara Freethy is a RITA Award Winning and Bestselling Author of 27 novels. Excerpts, contests and more info can be found on her website at http://www.barbarafreethy.com/

53 comments:

joder said...

I love that small town feeling of closeness. There's always colorful characters and watching people grow up through the storylines of each book makes you more emotional about their outcomes. Robyn Carr's series comes to mind.

Deb830 said...

Hi Barbara -

I agree with Joder. The series that I think of is Christine Feehan’s Drake Sisters and coming soon Sisters of the Heart Series. We just visited San Fran & Monterey during Easter break and loved it.

deb ;0)

flchen1 said...

I love revisiting character and places I meet in a series! One favorite is Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series. She's also got the Heart of Texas series I really enjoyed.

erahime said...

I agree w/ the two previous commentators that Carr's series and Feehan's two series have appeal. I also want to add Diana Palmer's Jacksonville community because she made the people feel "real" to me. It also helps that having such character come into life with each consecutive book makes it feel like the reader is part of the community. That's what makes these series so great to read.

SiNn said...

well honestly i dont have one set fav series tho I do like Robyn Carrs series and then theres a few others i cnat think of them all right now and honestly i like it because then the story doesnt end from one book to another

Andrea Becraft said...

I don't have a favorite series! I love to many to pick just one but I do love small town ones! Thanks for blogging with us!

Jane said...

Congrats on the new release, Barbara. Toni Blake's Destiny series is set in a small town. Karen Hawkins has a series set in a small town called Glory, NC.

Leni said...

I like Virgin River by Robyn Carr. Also, Cedar Cove and the Blossom Street books by Debbie Macomber. Series are fun to read because it gives the reader a chance to learn more about the characters.

Refhater said...

I don't have a favorite series persay. But, what I like that setting in series because it often times gives me a chance to see how characters from previous books in the series are doing or have changed.

Cathy M said...

One of my favorites is Lauren Dane's series that takes place in Petal, Georgia.

Lucy Monroe said...

Barbara...I just love the concept of setting several stories in one small town community. Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series is like that and you want to return time and again, both to visit the town and its residents. Your series sounds wonderful and I now have some new books to add to me TBB list. :)

Thanks for guesting at the RAH Conf! ~ Hugs, Lucy

Stephanie said...

I love the way series tend to peek back on characters from previous books and series. It's the reason that keeps me addicted to most of my favorite writers.

Judy F said...

I love small town books. My favorites are Lori Fosters and Toni blakes.

Valerie said...

Three that come to mind are Diana Palmer's Long Tall Texan series, Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series and Christine Feehan's Safe Haven series. I love books set in small towns where you not only get a feel for the characters but start to feel like you've moved in next door and can run over to the "Al's" cafe in the center square. It think it makes a book a bit more intimate. :)

Elizabeth Amber said...

Hi Barbara,

How fun to hear how the idea for Angel's Bay came about! Like Leni, I think of Debbie Macomber's books when I think of a fictional town.

Nice to *meet* you!

Aly said...

Like many others, I like Robyn Carr's Virgin River. I also like the small towns in Ireland in a lot of Nora Robert's books.

sonya said...

There are so many to choose from and I just cant pick one because they are all my favorties.
I do so love the small towns and the residents and yes I love series lol

Lillie said...

I'm going to have to go with some of the others and say Sea Haven from the Drake series by Feehan. It was such a vivid setting and the secondary characters were like a dysfunctional family. I never got tired of re-visiting that little town.

LM's Drama Queen said...

I love when there is a series done on a specific town because it gives you more time to learn about and connect with the characters. This series sounds very intriguing; I can't wait to pick up copies! Great story ideas, Barbara! And awesome comments, everybody! It's great getting to see what you all think:)

XOX
~*DQ*~

WK said...

I live in a small town, always have, and I love series/stories set in small towns!

hugs,
WendyK

Katy M said...

I love series like that where the town can become a character of its own, and I also love seeing the same characters and businesses again. What leaps to mind are Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books and Lorelei James' Rough Riders series set in Sundance.

etirv said...

I like the Lumby series. These kinds of stories remind me of Gilmore Girls on TV!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Barbara, I love your description of how you conceived Angel Bay. Sounds like a magical place.

Sherry said...

I use to love Diana Palmer's Jacksonville series the last couple I couldn't get into though. When I was reading them I felt like I knew all of the people there. I also love Christine Feehan's Safe Haven series and Jayne Ann Krentz's Eclipse Bay series after reading all of the series the people in them begin to fill like family.

sstrode@scrtc.com

trudy said...

I think what I like most about the small town stories is that in the small town everyone knows everyone and I feel as if I could really know these people. It gives you a close relationship with the characters.

After reading your post like many other readers my first thought was Feehan's Drake Sisters, it is one of my most favorite series that take place in a small town.

Nancy G said...

The closest I can come to having a favorite recurring location is in Mary Hughes' hilarious vampire series. I love Meiers Corners, and the "people" who inhabit it.

LDee said...

I love small town stories. And, am another fan of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove books. I'm am so going to to check you books out.

Thanks
Lavada Dee

Barbara Freethy said...

Thanks for all the fun comments and suggestions for series. I hope you'll all visit Angel's Bay! Sorry I wasn't here earlier but my computer went out at the wrong time.

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Susan Mallery's Lone Star Sisters and Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series and some of my favorites.

Barbara, I'm going to try one of your books as they sound wonderful.

Maria said...

I'm reading 4 series that take place in a small town, The Drake Sisters by Christine Feehan, The Hannah Swenson Murder Mystery books by Joanne Fluke, Lorelei James Rough Riders and Debbie Macombers Blossom Street series

runner10 said...

Have you read Mia King's books?

Natasha A. said...

The Quinn Brother's series by Nora Roberts. The Boat builders? :D Yup! Immediately what I thought of!

Toni said...

The only series that I can think of that I have read is Christine Feehan's Drake Sisters series that takes place in Safe Harbor.

robynl said...

Robyn Carr's series is one I'm familiar with as is Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series.

I love small towns/continuing series because you meet many new friends and can become a part of their lives.

Linda Henderson said...

Diana Palmer's Long Tall Texans are the first series that comes to mind for me. I love reading about the characters in a small town and how they all interact with each other. I especially like it that you get to find out what's going on with the characters you met in earlier books. I have always been a big fan of series books.

seriousreader at live dot com

Raonaid Luckwell said...

I'd have to double where oe person said Feehan's Drake sister series and their little town.

Sue A. said...

Diana Palmer's Jacobsville was the first small town to come to mind.

Lil said...

Like many others before me, the series that come to mind quickly are by Robyn Carr and Debbie Macomber. There are advantages and disadvantages with small towns. However, especially in reading about them, I am able to focus more on the charm than the inconveniences or lack of privacy that can come from living in a small town.

zina seawitch6464@yahoo.com said...

I'm on the 4th book of the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. I love this series as I'm from that area. I grew up in the Redding Area and as a kid we were always going over to Eureka. My ex- husband was born in Ferndale and that's where we bought my engagement ring and we honeymooned in Fortuna. My grandparents lived in Trinity Co so I was there all the time too, Red Bluff, Chico, Corning, Sacramento, Grass Valley, Paradise. It takes me home,as I now live across the country in RI, it remends me of Shingletown in a way. The pot growers are there too, just like in the book, you have to be real careful when your out hiking or hunting,there are booby traps and they don't care if you accidently stumble on them, they shoot first and ask nop questions later.
What I love about that series is how everyone takes care of each other like a big family.
Zina

donnas said...

Congrats. It sounds like a great series in a great little town. I love when there is a continuous series set in the same town. When secondary characters in one book can become the main characters in another. And you really get to learn about everyone and feel a part of the community.

Rhea said...

Having grown up in a small town, I couldn't wait to escape. Now the I am older, I love small town books, the different characters and quaint towns add a whole different feel to the story.

Stephanie said...

I love Diana Palmer's texans series. Since I am a Texan I love my cowboys! I like to read about small towns because I grew up in one and like to see my fav. characters agian and see what happens to them after their story.

Lady_Graeye said...

Congrats on your new book and the series. You are a new author to me. After reading the post I want to run right out and find your books. They sound wonderful. I like stories that take place along the ocean with ships and small little seaside towns. I like the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr which seems to be a favorite here today!

booklover0226 said...

I agree with the comment about Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series.

Thanks,
Tracey D

Jan said...

I like the small town atmosphere very much. Reading a series of books set in the same place with the same people makes me feel like I'm visiting friends.

Jan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margay said...

Well, being a small-town girl myself, I can immediately submerge myself into that world. So I think it's the sense of familiarity that I like.
Margay

Carol L. said...

I love the idea of a small coastal town associated with a ship wreck. I'll be looking to read them. Thanks for sharing.
Carol L.
Lucky4750@aol.com

Pamk said...

lauren dane wrote a small town series about a specific that I loved it was the chase family series at samhain.

Armenia said...

I love series that are written around small towns. One of my favorite is Lora Leigh's Nauti series.

Kammie said...

I read a bunch of your stories and really enjoyed them. I haven't started this series yet, but I plan too. I enjoy revisiting the characters in series and I especially love the small town setting. Sandra Steffen has written some "keep the kleenex by your side" family stories set in small towns that I just love although their not series.

Jan said...

Barbara! I saw 2 of your books at Wal-Mart tonight. I'm waiting to get them though. I don't want to miss anything I've seen here when I go to the bookstore Sunday.

Juliet said...

I love small town series. My favorites so far are Sherryl Woods series, she has a couple of them. I also like Sandra Steffen and Robyn Carr. I think I like more aobut them is the feeling of closeness and that when someone needs it, everybody helps.