The topic for our latest cycle is setting. Being a New Orleans chick, born and bred, I consider myself fortunate to have such a rich history to draw from for settings for my novels. In 2012, my first (and only, to date) historical released. Love Finds You in New Orleans , which takes place in the 1840s. I discovered that so much of the landmarks and landscapes of my city are like patina, a richness that forms from fine scratches on silver over years of use. On the surface, those shadows and dark highlights may seem to spoil the luster of a piece, but it actually adds to its value and beauty.
This is how I described my city in the novel to bring it alive to readers:
New Orleans is a city much like the gumbo for which it is famous. Populated by the Indians, founded by the French in 1718, and later inhabited by the Spanish, the Germans, and the British, various cultures have simmered for centuries creating a stew of rich, hearty, and vibrant people.
Called “the Crescent City” because its communities expanded along the half-moon curve in the river, New Orleans is as genteel as it is raucous, as flamboyant as it is understated, and as historic as it is contemporary. In one day, visitors can admire the towering triple steeples of Saint Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North American; meander into the French Quarter for Sunday bunch and listen to jazz in the lush courtyard of the Court of Two Sisters; shop for antiques along Magazine Street; stop at Plum Street’s Snoball Stand, where the treats are served in Chinese takeout containers; dine on the two-hour Natchez steamboat cruise along the Mississippi; and end the night with coffee and beignets at Café du Monde, the original French Market coffee stand.
Soulful jazz spiraling from clubs on Frenchmen Street, lavender wild irises and pink azaleas splashed along Creole cottages, beads and doubloons tossed at Mardi Gras parades, streetcars clanging along St. Charles Avenue, and fleur-de-lis flocked Saints fans chatting “who dats” all the way to the Superdome—New Orleans wraps her arms around you and hugs you so close, you can feel her heartbeat.
Christa Allan's newest novel, Test of Faith, released in March. You can find her at www.christaallan.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her husband live in New Orleans with their three neurotic cats and new dog, Herman. You can find her other novels here.