“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
- Russell Baker
The dog days of summer are upon us – hot days and nights that don’t fully cool off (especially if you live in Texas, as I do!). The daily temperatures are at, near or over 100 yet I still enjoy it. Love it, in fact.
To me, summer means freedom and fun and a certain lightness of heart that you simply don’t find other times of the year.
I’m always amazed how the seasonal setting in a book so often drives a lot of the action as well. That was incredibly true for me in my current series, Alaskan Nights. The first two books in the trilogy were set in winter and then the third has a summer setting. The weather was a character in the book and came to life in many of the scenes as an important backdrop to what was taking place in my small town of Indigo, Alaska.
I think J.D. Robb does this incredibly well in her In Death series. Eve’s attitude (although not usually shiny and bright) <g> goes through distinct changes pending the weather and Robb does an outstanding job highlighting what season it is throughout the action of the book. Historical romances do this quite well, too. Our hero and heroine often find themselves in the park or fighting off rain and cold to get to one another and an author can use the weather to enhance emotions or create contrasts.
I think that’s what I find endlessly fascinating about being a writer – how something as truly simple and common as the weather can create texture, depth and understanding for my readers. Keying into the simple rhythms of our bodies and our lives creates an immediate connection we can all feel because we’ve all experienced it. It’s part of that subtle magic that happens when we read – that human connection that flows through the words from author to reader, making the words come to life in our minds.
But hey – I’ve rambled on long enough – it’s summer. Get out there, snag a book and head for the beach (or the park or the pool or even your backyard!) We don’t have many dog days left to soak up the sun.