Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blogger: Jennifer Zane, Author of Gnome on the Range

Once you get the zing you can’t go back.

Jane West has everything a woman could want. A job in a small Montana town’s only adult store, two busy young boys and one dead husband. Everything except a little excitement–a little zing. But that changes one summer morning at a garage sale when her kids buy some garden gnomes.

Now someone wants those gnomes and will let nothing get in their way. Including Jane. This new excitement for Jane spells trouble for a relationship with new neighbor–and hot fireman–Ty Strickland. Can Jane and Ty handle a relationship meddling mother-in-law, crazy kids, and stay alive while trying to solve the mystery of the garden gnomes?

Mountains vs. Beach by Jennifer Zane

I recently spent a week at the beach in California. It wasn't remotely warm, the water downright frigid. But my kids spent hours digging imaginary castles and moats in the sand. I roamed the surf's edge finding sand dollars to collect. The constant rolling of the ocean was such a difference from where we live.

Colorado. The tall mountains, rugged snow capped peaks. No salt water in the entire time zone. I love mountain life. The cold, sharp edges in winter, the soft lushness of summer.

Are you a beach or mountain person?

These two completely different settings can change a story entirely. My new book, Gnome On The Range, takes place in a small town in Montana. Mountains. If I had it set in Miami instead (beach), the book would be completely different--and so would the title! Is it sunny, cloudy, foggy, rainy, hot or cold? Is it day, night, crowded, quiet, peaceful, hectic?

I made setting in the book even more specific. Summer vs. winter. In Montana, winter is long, summer unbelievably short. Every summer I lived there it snowed June 12th. And it got cold the day after Labor Day. That gave me about eight weeks of guaranteed summer play time. I squeezed every drop of summer fun into that small window.

I did the same with my book. My main character, Jane, and her two boys, buy two ceramic garden gnomes at a garage sale. Besides that, they swim, bike, camp, go to the county fair, watch a demolition derby and all the other offerings the Big Sky can provide in July.

But someone wants the garden gnomes and will stop at nothing to get them. Including trying to kill Jane. At the county fair. And other summer-y (and surprisingly dangerous) places!

Could I have chosen a beach setting? Of course. But Jane, Goldie, Ty and all of the other characters in the story are who they are because of where they live. Rugged, enduring, independent. Just like the mountains that surround their town.

I've decided my next book will take place in the dead of winter. It'll be below zero, snowy and dark, and months until any kind of spring thaw. Typical Montana weather--for December. I look forward to writing about the quirks of not only my characters, but the frigid Montana setting as well.

And continue to vacation at the beach.

Jennifer Zane writes contemporary fiction with lots of humor, some mystery and a dab of romance. Gnome On The Range is her debut novel.

Visit her online at:


Twitter: @JenniferZane



woolfcindy said...

I love this book. It's one of the funniest things I've ever read.

Lesley said...

I was wondering if you guys have heard Elaine Charles's radio show 'The Book Report' on Sundays that reviews current books and her interviews to prominent authors. What I like is to hear about the background and the research that goes into writing the book and I like to know more personal stuff about the author. I've also been listening to previous months chats on the radio because the recordings are on the web site: