Anne K. Albert Discusses Her Views on Setting

Thank you, Marilyn, for featuring me on Day 11 of the Mystery We Write Blog Tour. It’s a pleasure to be here and chat about setting and how it relates to writing, characters and authors.

As a beginning author my focus was on developing character, writing snappy dialogue and plot. I paid little attention to where a story took place and in hindsight did myself (and my stories) a disservice. Setting, whether real or imaginary, is important. By its very nature, it helps establish mood. It creates conflict and causes turmoil. It impacts and changes the characters. It can (and should) move the story forward.

Story setting can be urban, rural, tropical, arctic, foreign or indigenous. A sleepy English village on a clear, winter’s day is a profoundly different setting from a bustling Asian city of fifteen million battered by a category five typhoon. Locale provides distinct conditions that influence the pace, progression and telling of the story, as well as determine a character’s actions and reactions.

Niagara Falls in western New York state is the backdrop for Frank, Incense and Muriel, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. This is a fast-paced, contemporary mystery that requires a hip, urban setting. I chose western New York because I’ve visited the region many times, plus many people around the globe associate it as a romantic destination. Some streets, parks, and natural wonders (such as the Falls) will be recognized by readers. The actual homes, office buildings, and businesses frequented by the story people, however, are of my own creation.


Cities, like humans, are in a constant state of flux. Nothing stays the same forever. To retain authenticity in this series I provide a taste of Niagara Falls without being slave to its current reality. The city and surrounding area may change over the years, but its amenities, eccentricities and flare will remain consistent throughout the pages of each book.

Now, onto book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries!

FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL is set the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse. This cozy, comedic mystery is recipient of the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

What are readers saying?

“Anne K. Albert's…wit shines through this lightly suspenseful novel and her characters ring sweet and true. Can't wait to read more about Muriel, Frank and the rest of the gang.” ~ Amazon

“Laugh out loud funny in places, and that's my favorite kind of book. I was totally entertained by Frank, Incense and Muriel.” ~ author Marja McGraw

Bio: Anne K. Albert’s award winning stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. A member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and married to her high school sweetheart for more than a quarter of a century, it's a given she'd write mystery and romantic suspense. When not writing she loves to travel, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her cherished and much beloved Kindle 3G!

CONTEST DETAILS: Comment to WIN! Three names will be selected at random from comments on all 14 of Anne’s Mystery We Write Blog Tour guest appearances. Winners will receive an e-copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, book one of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. Visit for her schedule and contest details. Good luck!




M.M. Gornell said…
Anne, I like your perspective on setting--that places do change, but capturing the vitality and essence of the place is what's important.

Enjoyable post.

Jean Henry Mead said…
Great post, Anne. Settings are like secondardy characters or bits of cloves in a ham. They add color and authenticity to a plot.
Jackie King said…
Another wonderful post, Anne.
Anne is always a wonderful guest.

Earl Staggs said…
Anne, it's clear you put a lot of thought into your setting for Frank, Incense and Muriel. That, along with your keen writing skills, make it a sure winner.
Anne K. Albert said…
Hi Madeline, thank you, but I wish I'd read Timothy Hallinan's view on scenery versus setting before I wrote this post! One of the incredible things about writing is it's a lifetime of learning, refining and revisions!
Anne K. Albert said…
Ah, I love that image of cloves in a ham, Jean. What a lovely way to explain setting. :)
Anne K. Albert said…
And you are always a gracious host, Marilyn. Thank you for featuring me today!
Anne K. Albert said…
Thank you, Earl. What comes as a surprise (even to me!) is I often DON'T think ahead. These images just appear fully developed as the characters see them. Then, I scramble to get all of the details written down before the character moves on!
It was so nice to have you visiting, Anne. We must make sure we do it again.

essay said…
Amazing post! Thanks.

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