Today’s guest post is by the lovely and talented Aimee Agresti, author of the Gilded Wings series. I adore her writing for many reasons, but one thing that really stands out is her fantastic use of settings. So I asked her to share a little about her inspiration and how she makes each city come alive.
I’ll never forget running wild through the streets of New York with Holden Caulfield when I was in high school. I was 14 when I first read THE CATCHER IN THE RYE and I fell as madly in love with that sweet troubled boy as I did with his thrilling city. I’m a sucker for a book that treats the setting as a living, breathing character, so before I wrote a word of ILLUMINATE—the first in my Gilded Wings trilogy about a teen angel earning her wings—I already knew where all three books would take place. And I knew that each volume needed its own perfect place.
In ILLUMINATE, it’s Chicago. I went to college there and had always been fascinated by the prohibition era, Capone, and those fabulous tunnels that ran beneath the city connecting the speakeasies. I loved that alluring mix of mystery, danger, secrecy and I wanted that feeling woven through my book. So I resurrected Capone’s old hangout, the Lexington Hotel, and made it into a glamorous modern-day hotspot. I placed my teen angel, Haven, there as an intern, staffed the place with gorgeous, soul-stealing demons hellbent on converting her to the dark side and then I let the fun begin. Those tunnels under the hotel? Here they lead to hell. Mwah-ha-ha!
But for the sequel, INFATUATE, I had to kick things up a notch. The stakes are higher, the action more intense, the demons more vicious, even my angels are just a little out of control this time. To reflect that undercurrent of delicious chaos, I needed a vibrant, freewheeling city of beauty and madness. I needed…New Orleans! There’s no better place to get into trouble than the Big Easy. Where else could my characters live next door to a real haunted house (here Royal Street’s Lalaurie Mansion is haunted by one of my devils!), be chased through a cemetery as eerily gorgeous as the French Quarter's Saint Louis #1, dabble in voodoo, wrestle alligators, drive steamboats, and see their angels-vs-demons showdown play out amid Mardi Gras?
So where do you go from there? Well, I like to think Book Three’s locale is all of that and more--it has to be! I’m not dishing yet (sorry!), but I promise it’s a place you’ll enjoy visiting, even if it will be populated with demons when you get there. Stay tuned!
Aimee Agresti is the author of the Gilded Wings Novels, Illuminate and Infatuate. She is also an entertainment journalist whose work has appeared in People, the Washington Post, Mademoiselle, and the New York Observer. As a staff writer for Us Weekly magazine, she interviewed many celebrities and penned the magazine’s coffee table book Inside Hollywood. She lives in Washington, D.C. Visit her website at www.aimeeagresti.com.