Skylar M. Cates on Settings and the Imagination

I am delighted to welcome Skylar here today to talk about how places and settings fire the imagination, and to tell us a little about her new release Here For You.  Over to you, Skylar.


Settings and the Imagination

One of the best parts of writing a series is creating a town for the characters to occupy.  It is exciting and thrilling to build a contemporary world this way. But I do have some rules:


  1. Base the fictional town on a setting that’s familiar

I set my Guy series in the fictitious town of Glamour. I lived in the Phoenix area for several years. The challenge was to double-check that my memories and the reality of the location were still in synch. Here for You is set in South Florida, and I live in the area currently. I imagine the location between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.


  1. Use specific names

Glamour was the name of the town in the Guy series.  Glamour, of course, was far from glamourous. That was the fun part!

In my new series,  Ocean Vista is set near the water, and the ocean plays a big part in the novels. There are sad and happy scenes revolving around water.

When I create a town, I love to select the names of the restaurants and stores too.  My husband gifted me with the bar name  It’s Five O’clock Somewhere in Here for You. I thought of Andrew’s Busy Day Café.  Giving the locations names makes the town come to life. It’s awesome to have the characters visit to these establishments from book to book.


  1. Try to capture the ethnicity of the area

I find it odd when novels set in the contemporary world do not have any ethnic differences. Personally, I love how diverse Arizona and Florida are, and I wanted to capture some of that in my novels. When I wrote my first novel, Exposed, also set in Florida, I wanted a main character with a Cuban background. Rafe was modeled on several Cuban friends. Aside from Cuba, I know so many people in South Florida from South America and Central America. In Here for You, Tomas is from Brazil and also has German roots. The entire gang of roommates has a scene where they shop at the local supermercado, which is full of interesting food.  This is based on my own experiences. Unless the characters are from an extremely small town, I enjoy expressing the rich diversity of cultures in the area.


  1. Check each book for consistency in setting

If I have created a town in book one, I want that town to be consistent in the rest of the series. It sounds easy, right? But often it might be months between books. I always check the names and description of the town again.


Those complete my little rules for establishing a setting. Letting my imagination roam free is one of the joyous parts of writing a novel.

Thanks for hosting me today!




One e-book of choice from my backlist




finalhfyLife is a thread connecting us. One pull and it all unravels.

Cole Gannon arrives in the seaside town of Ocean Vista to work as a bartender and finally find a place to belong. Determined to make a home for himself, Cole lives happily with his four colorful roommates, whom he considers brothers. The only problem is Cole’s attraction to Ian Stark—a guy all wrong for him. He wishes he didn’t keep running into the sexy lawyer.

Ian knows Cole is attracted to him, but the younger man keeps him at arm’s length. It only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole and learn all his secrets. But while Ian has built a successful law practice, he hasn’t done too well with relationships.

When a sudden and devastating tragedy occurs, it shatters Cole’s world and throws Cole and Ian together in unexpected ways. In an instant, everything between them changes forever.

Sunshine and Happiness Series = Book One


Skylar’s bio:  Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.


One comment

  1. I’m always struck how important place, and the spirit of place, is in a novel. I agree with you whole-heartedly that getting it right is important – often the place is a silent character in the book and needs as much care as every other one there!


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