Behind the Moments: Time and Places

In honor of the three months since A Moment’s Worth came out, for the month of October, I shall be doing a series where I reveal some background history of the novel each week.  I might include some content that may contain spoilers, so be careful when reading if you haven’t already read the book yet.  I hope you enjoy.

Time and place are necessary essentials when writing a novel.  For books such as The Hunger Games trilogy, it’s very specific how it’s set in post-apocalyptic North America.  In the novel 1Q84, it takes up most of the year of 1984 in an urban setting in Japan.  David Mitchell’s novels take these elements a step further; in particular with his novels Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks where he’s leaping from country to country, time period to time period all over the place.  It’s quite fascinating.  My book is definitely not an exception to these must-needed elements when it comes to storytelling, and so for that matter, I want to dwell deeper into that aspect now.

As far as setting goes, there are several places where my book takes place, but the two in particular that are the primary ones are the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles area.

The Bay Bridge, May 2013 photo by Lauren Lola

The Bay Bridge, May 2013
photo by Lauren Lola

The San Francisco Bay Area was unsurprisingly a must in my case, because of the fact that that’s where I hail from.  It was interesting to have some of these fictional plots take place in a region that I call home.  But as I’ve been given crap for by an online low-life within the first few days of the novel’s release, I did not set any part of it in my hometown.  I did that purposely for two reasons: 1. I wanted to get as far away from my own life as much as possible and 2. I wanted to give audiences who are otherwise very unfamiliar with the Bay Area a general scope of what it’s consistent of.  For that matter, that’s why I include descriptions of cities such as San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Jose, and why some of the plot lines involve riding on BART from stop to stop.

Los Angeles and the area surrounding it was a bit trickier to capture, seeing that I’m not entirely familiar with it.  I had never been to Los Angeles until last fall, and even then, I still never got around to visiting some of the sites that are mentioned in my book (i.e. Hollywood, The Grove, etc.).  When capturing the general layout of venues at The Grove, I relied on a map I found online of it as my guide.  Anything and everything else I either did the necessary research on, relied on instinct, or had to make up.  I chose Los Angeles as one of the main locations because that’s an area I’m hoping to move to within the next few years.  It was also necessary in terms of the stories where I have fictional celebrities making appearances.  On a general flow, it was my attempt at capturing the area as what could be a smooth-running region with relatively normal humans living together- both unknowns and celebrities.

I also attempt my takes on other major cities in the US as well such as New York City and Seattle; all of which are places that I’ve never been to in my life.  In one chapter, I even incorporated the Grand Canyon as a location for a brief period of time, as well as Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay attraction too; again being places I’ve never been to in my life.  They say write what you know, but I say that if you make the effort to do the necessary research on something or some place, then I think that’s equally as good.  Write what you’ve learned… and I did that through the majority of the locations I set for the novel.

As seen in K-town... November 2013 photo by Lauren Lola

As seen in K-town… November 2013
photo by Lauren Lola

As I mentioned when I revealed my millennial status, most of the book is set in modern times.  Smart phones make appearances, Twitter handles and YouTube videos pop up, boba tea drinks and frappuccinos are sipped on by various characters, and more.  I can only imagine this to be unfamiliar assets for someone like my grandmother reading this novel, when she was in her early twenties in the mid to late 1940’s.  However, I do meddle with time just a little bit.  It’s not just in “The Grove” and “2052” chapters where time places an active role.  There’s more to it than that.

Notice how each section ends; the past, present and future.  (SPOILERS up ahead.)  The first section ends with Yvonne and Justin spending one last day together before heading off to college; a story arch that obviously takes place before she and Dan have that first genuine sit-down conversation together that shows up eight chapters earlier.  The second section ends in the present, with Yvonne nearing the end of her freshman year of college, and Dan is preparing for a summer of filming his first movie.  Finally, the third section ends with Mark setting the future for bringing the art of handwriting back to humanity.

Time also has to deal with how the book got its name.  The book is called A Moment’s Worth; and the reason why it’s called that is because each chapter takes place in a short period of time; whether that be a few minutes, a few hours, an evening, or even a whole day.  And even in those time spans are smaller time spans- moments– that defy what direction to turn.  It’s with that essence that I developed the mindset for approaching the book when writing it.

They say to name the time and place, and I did that in more ways than one with this novel.  It was fun to experiment with both in this first novel.  I plan to expand further on both these factors in the second novel, and I look forward to that very much.

With this being the last Saturday of October, this concludes this month-long series of  unforeseen elements that came with creating A Moment’s Worth.  I hope you all enjoyed it.  I might reveal some more aspects about the novel in the future to come if I feel the urge or need to do so.  But for now though, I leave it as it is.

A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunesPlease leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 5 reviews so I’m already a quarter of a way to my goal).

Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.

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