Monday, July 25, 2011

Manic Monday with J.H. Bográn

Welcome to another Manic Monday! I’ve got fellow Backspacer, J.H. Bográn on tap with us today talking about the importance of location.

José, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist and he ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José is the author of TREASURE HUNT, the first in the series of a professional thief who goes by the handle of The Falcon. He’s a contributing editor to The Big Thrill magazine; co-screenwriter for two TV serials and writes movie reviews for Honduran newspaper La Prensa.

He’s also a member of the International Thriller Writers.

So without further adieu, I'll hand it over to José...

Location; the “Where” of the story.

When you decide to undertake the writing of a novel or short story, one of the most important decisions to make is the location. You must know where the events of the story are going to happen.

The books considered “high-concept” usually have distant and/or exotic locations, and they are as much a part of the story as the protagonists themselves.

Think of it, can you imagine The DaVinci Code setting to be a rural small town in the mid-West? How would that location change the story?

Of course, locations don’t have to be real. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry doesn’t exist, although the convent where they filmed the movies is real; Peter Jackson had to settle with New Zealand because no GPS in the world could pinpoint the White City or Middle Earth; and last but not least, sci-fi and fantasy, the epitome of creating locations from the ground up.

I recently participated in an on-line chat where some of the participants pointed out how sci-fi/fantasy authors have to devout large amounts of time to create and properly describe the worlds in which they set their stories.

When I wrote the first draft of Treasure Hunt, I knew the story involved a small country with white-sanded beaches that attracted tourists, resorts with diving equipment and tours, Mayan ruins and a fair share of good roads for the car chases. Many countries have all of the above, included my native Honduras. However, I couldn’t use any of them because the geography didn’t match my plot as the locations had to be within one hour of driving. So, what did I do? I redrew the map and created a small country wedged between Honduras and Nicaragua and named it Nueva España. Location problem solved!

This audacity earned many raised eyebrows when I launched the book in my hometown. I got comments along the lines of: how come the place feels and smells like Honduras but it’s not? On the other hand, with the book being sold in the U.S., the little liberty with the geography didn’t detract any readers. Can’t be a prophet in your own land, right?

A favorite location is the City of New York. The center of the universe to many people, capital of the publishing industry, home to Broadway, and the list can go on and on. I confess to have used it several times: in Treasure Hunt when I introduced the character of The Falcon; Love Me Two Times is a twisted love story that could only happen in NYC; and in my current Work-in-progress, the lead character is a former member of New York Bravest.

After you decide where the story is going to happen, the job is not easier but at least becomes straight forward.

If it is a real place, learn as much as you can, interview people who have lived there and who have visited, ask their impressions, feeling, interesting sites, the little-known details. This will help if your characters will also be visiting or locals, and be careful because it is a whole different scenario.

When possible, try to visit the place. Fellow thriller writer Karen Dionne had the opportunity and flew to Chile to visit the volcano that is the center of her latest novel Boiling Point. But if not possible, then use the Internet. Many cities have devoted websites with their history, interesting landmarks, weather and population.

In other words, when it comes to stories, the same rule as in real state applies and everything is location, location, location!

Here is a quick view of J.H. Bográn's 2011 releases:
Absolution Withheld (2011):

Alexander Beck, a.k.a. The Falcon, enters a Catholic Church seeking for hidden treasure, but instead finds a lifeline for saving his soul. This is a short story prequel to the full length suspense thriller TREASURE HUNT by author J.H. Bográn.

Treasure Hunt (2011):

Alexander Beck, a for-hire thief that can be contracted through the web by posting ads with his handle: The Falcon.

Bill Porter hijacked a plane back in 1978, the proceedings of that caper were securely hidden inside a cave in a Central America country. Falcon is hired to retrieve it, but encounters many problems as a former cellmate of Bill, Jack Davis is after the money himself. Jack will stop at nothing until he gets a hold of the money, kidnapping Bill's daughter Jamie is only the first step.

Watch the Treasure Hunt video trailer HERE 

Other works by J.H. Bográn include short stories THE OUTPOST and LOVE ME TWO TIMES, published by Red Rose Publishing.

You can find out more about José at the following places:

His website:
His blog:
His Facebook page
Twitter: @JHBogran

Thanks for joining us today. 

On Friday, I’ll be dishing it up with Robert Browne about his new book Paradise Prophecy.

Until then,



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