by Chris Ledbetter
Setting is an important tool we authors employ. I engage two distinct settings as alluded to on the bottom of the book’s cover. The first, and the one that opens the story, is Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. The second is the world within the cursed sketchbook.It’s based loosely on a Tuscan village circa the Renaissance. I hope that the settings are vivid enough to become characters themselves.
I chose Wilmington as the base setting because I live here. I know it well, and I wanted to drop real-life sights and places into the story. This performs two actions for me. On the one hand, it brings the city to life for those who haven’t been here. They can look up certain places on my Pinterest board or on Google maps and get a three-dimensional representation of the places I describe. Secondly, for those who have been here, I hope to create an in-story nostalgia.
(My Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/chris_ledbetter/drawn-novel-inspiration/ )
The world within the sketchbook, Terra Sempre, is a darker version of a fortified, hilly village in the heart of Tuscany during the Renaissance. I chose Italy as my inspiration because of its obvious link to and influence over art. The Renaissance was one of the most artistically creative times in world history. So, feeding off of that was simply homage. And I loved the research that was involved. I’ve never been to Italy, but now I feel like I have. And while there isn’t a one-to-one direct correlation from Terra Sempre to Italy, because, hey, Terra Sempre is fantasy, after all, there is a strong enough link for Italians to enjoy it as well, I think.