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Monday, March 9, 2009

Janet Tronstad and The Dropped Stitches series

First, let me introduce myself. I am Janet Tronstad, the author of close to twenty novels published through Steeple Hill, the inspirational line at Harlequin. I am delighted to blog with your group today, partly because I’ve grown to have a new appreciation for wedding locations while writing my latest book.

A wedding is one of the most memorable days in a woman’s life – that’s true even for imaginary weddings that happen in books. That’s why I gave a great deal of thought to how to make a wedding dramatic in my March ‘09 book, “A Dropped Stitches Wedding.” This is the last book in a four-part series that has a very attached readership so I knew the end of the book had to have a really Big Moment that would leave the readers with a sigh of contentment. It’s the same challenge a bride faces in real life. My question was how to pull that off.

My heroines (there were four heroines in a knitting group and they all played a part in the final book) were young so the wedding would be short on cash, but it also needed to be long on romance. The bride had a weakness for fluffy white chic that she couldn’t afford. In fact, she couldn’t afford much of anything. I decided the cheapest way to pull off a memorable wedding was to find a unique location.

My series is set in California’s Old Town Pasadena, a restored area filled with turn-of-the-century brick buildings, trendy cafes, and – for some reason – shops carrying scented candles and soaps. We were too far away from the beach to do an ocean wedding (since the rest of the books were all set in Pasadena, I thought it was cheating the reader to find my location anywhere else).

And then I remembered there is an old brick building that used to be a firehouse. The location got better when I discovered that an old firehouse in northern California had an old light bulb that had been burning continuously since 1901 (an inventor donated it so that the firemen wouldn’t have to waste time lighting kerosene lanterns at night before they could pull their boots on to go fight the fires). I took the liberty of moving that light bulb to Old Town Pasadena (and made a note of that in the dedication) and instantly I had a dramatic location for a wedding.

Because of the attention that the light bulb was getting, the marriage that was to take place under its glow started to get some buzz, too. The bride’s wedding gown was borrowed, a carriage ride to the firehouse was donated, and the reporters were there to cover it all for the local paper.
It was a perfect wedding (in print at least).

My efforts were rewarded when Romantic Times reviewed my book and said it was a ‘joyous conclusion’ to the series. That’s exactly what I wanted that wedding to feel like and I know the location had a part in it.

I’m anxious to know if any of you have found unique wedding locations (either in real life or books you’ve written or read).


Blogger Susan said...

Oh, Janet! What a wonderful idea!

I think I'm going to have to hit the bookstore today!

I love that you mention how writing a book about a wedding (or several!) gave you new appreciation for planning weddings.

I found the same thing with my books. The first book I wrote where the hero and heroine got engaged, I gave the heroine the engagement ring I always wanted! The second book I had to come up with a fresh idea. The third an even fresher idea etc. etc.

The same is true with weddings in books. The first wedding I planned, I gave the hero and heroine everything I'd give myself if I were getting married today. LOL In the second book I had to get creative and by the third book I quickly realized I had to think outside the box!

You mention that this series takes place in a wonderful town that added additional life to the series! What are some locations you've used for your stories?

susan meier

March 9, 2009 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

oops! Forgot to click to get email reminders when answers are posted!


March 9, 2009 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

I just picked up Janet's Stitches book last night. I'm looking forward to reading about the wedding.


March 9, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Melissa McClone said...

Thanks for joining us on the Wedding Planners today. I read your first of the series and can't wait to read the others. I can just picture who that wedding is for!

I love how you came up with that wedding. It is a great idea and congrats on what RT said about the final book! Wonderful!


March 9, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Myrna Mackenzie said...

Janet, I love that location! And what a great title! I'll have to check it out.


March 9, 2009 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Janet Tronstad said...

Susan -- You're so right! Weddings add a special touch to a book. I basically use two locations in my books -- Pasadena, CA (which I use in my Dropped Stitches series) and a small, fictitious town in rural Montana called Dry Creek. I like books that have a strong feel for the location so, as I've progressed in my writing, I tend to make the sense of place stronger. I love the title Maid in Montana incidentally -- I'm going to have to look for that one!

March 9, 2009 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger Janet Tronstad said...

Rhonda -- What good timing you have! Thanks for stopping by.

Melissa -- Thanks for the welcome. It's great to be here today. And it was special to have RT say it was a 'joyous conclusion' because I did want to give readers an extra jolt of joy since it was the end of the series.

Myrna -- Old Town Pasadena is a great location for a book -- it has 'a feel' to it which I like. Thanks for stopping to comment.

March 9, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger Merrillee said...

Hi Janet,
I loved reading about your unique wedding location. I don't know that my daughters' weddings were unique, but they both got married on the beach near our home. The beach is always changing. The first wedding took place in May 2006. The day was hot, hot, but the beach was beautiful. The second wedding took place in October 2009. The day was cool and almost rainy, but the sun came out in time for the ceremony. The beach was chewed up from too many summer storms, and the beach patrol had added an immovable blue trash barrel that we had to cover with a white blanket. Even though they were both on the beach, they each had their own unique flavor. I've blogged about both of these weddings here on this blog. I love reliving those wonderful days.

March 9, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Shirley Jump said...

Welcome to the blog, Janet!! I love the cover for your book and the story about the light bulb!!

My critique partner writes for LIH, too - her next book is out in May. I think they do the neatest covers!


March 9, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

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