Noelle Marchand – Location Matters

Last week a friend and I went on a day trip to celebrate my recent graduation from college. The landscape went from the towering glass and steel buildings of Houston to the rolling hills and wildflowers of the country in less than two-hours. Suddenly, the tension I accumulated during my undergraduate years floated away like the fluffy white clouds painting that big Texas sky. I left the hustle of the city and the normalcy of my everyday life to experience a new adventure. And an adventure it was… Somewhere between a miniature horse attack, rambling through a rose garden, and singing “Chantilly Lace” at a 1950s style diner, I finally got it. Location matters.

I wandered into Peppin, Texas for the first time in 1877. It was a sleepy little township tucked away in Texas Hill Country. Back then, there wasn’t much to Main Street other than what the hero and heroine of my debut novel, Unlawfully Wedded Bride, needed to keep their farm and the story going. Only a few months passed before I started working on the next book in the series, The Runaway Bride, but that ended up being about ten years in Peppin. Imagine my surprise when I walked into that country hamlet and found it had changed into a bustling small town with modern conveniences like the railroad and telegraph.

After double checking the map of my imagination to make sure that I was in the right place, I set about familiarizing myself with Peppin, Texas of 1887. There was the boardinghouse, the seamstress shop, the hat maker, the livery, the blacksmith, the bank, etc. There were new streets, a residential section, and alleyways—even the alleyways became important. Finally, I could give you directions from my heroine’s house to the café and from the café to the church and from the church through the alleyway to the hotel. Then I sat down, took a deep breath, and wrote my story.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just writing—it was an adventure. I was in an entirely new location and after mapping out the town, I watched it come to life. I watched new characters emerge from those new businesses and houses to interact with old ones. Finally, I discovered what I suspected all along when my heroine explained Peppin to someone who had never been there before.

“It’s small but not stiflingly so. The people are friendly and really care about you. There is always something going on so you’re hardly ever bored. You can just go to the mercantile or the café to find someone to talk to or about, in some cases. It’s just a normal everyday Texas town. The only thing special about it are the people.”

Yes, sometimes it does feel a little weird to have an entire town of people in my head taking up space but I will gladly bear that privilege and burden because I want their stories to be as real to you as they are to me. I want their adventures to sweep you from that high rise, subway, or suburb into a country church, dark alley, or raging river so that hopefully when you finish the last page of my book you’ll smile and think to yourself, ‘That location mattered.’ 


Noelle has offered to give away two copies of her book, The Runaway Bride, to two lucky winners. All you have to do to be entered is join in the conversation.

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29 thoughts on “Noelle Marchand – Location Matters”

  1. Noelle, I LOVE your blog! Was so very entertaining that I didn’t want it to end. I can hardly wait to read this book.

  2. We’re so glad to have you back, Noelle. What a wonderful blog. I feel that I know Peppin, Texas now. I love it when settings and characters become so real you feel you can reach out and touch them. I think it makes the stories much richer and full.

    I love the cover of your new book. The title hooked me. I’m immediately asking myself why she’s running away from marriage. I want to know the whole story. Wishing you lots of success with your series!

  3. Great cover, Noelle! Welcome to Wildflower Junction today–so glad you could be with us. You’re so right about location! It takes on the importance (sometimes) of another character. It influences the whole plot of the story in many cases. Your book sounds wonderful.
    Cheryl P.

  4. Congradulations to graduating from college and for the publication of “The Runaway Bride”. I love the cover. The color of her hair for what I can see reminds me of Julia Roberts.

  5. I enjoyed your blog and I love how you described your road trip and how you felt all your tension float away.. This is how I have felt on many a trip I have taken with friends, weather it be on the road or in a plane or some other mode of transportaiton. Just getting away from what ever is happening in our everyday life is a vacation in itself. You books sounds wonderful and I will be putting in my TBR list. Also Congrats on your Graduation and I wish you all good things for the future.

  6. Good morning, Noelle. Thank you for an enjoyable post. It was an interesting insight into the thought process of an author. The setting of a book is important and in this type of story, it is as important as some of the characters. It is nice that your can see the town the way your do. Just your description made it very real to me. I could see the streets, buildings, and people coming & going as you talked about it. The town just unfolded and grew, spreading out street by street, building by building, and alleyway by alleyway.

    I look forward to visiting Peppin, Texas and meeting your characters. I hope the release of THE RUNAWAY BRIDE goes well.

  7. Noelle, I really appreciate your attention to detail! Nothing jerks me out of a story faster than lack of continuity, consistency or accuracy. And I love a series that lets me revisit characters and places I loved in earlier books.
    Congratulations on your college graduation and the new release!

  8. Noelle, I can just see you having that conversation in your head with all the characters! I live in a rural area in Oregon and sometimes when my husband and I drive through other rural areas, I imagine what long-ago people did there! I totally know what you are thinking! I love the Old West and that’s why I have enjoyed your books! Look forward to reading this one!

  9. I think the knowing of the location makes the story become even more real… and makes the ability of the characters physical movement much more interesting to read.. Thanks for the update!!

  10. I enjoyed reading the comments. I think that is why I like reading historical romance since most of them describe a place and/or location so well.
    Your book sounds really good.

  11. Noelle,,welcome back,I love that book cover,,makes me want to open an read whats inside,,those are my favorite kind to read,,thanks for coming an sharing

  12. okay,thats me up above,but I do not know who Connie Lorenz is??dont know how that happened,

    Noelle,,welcome back,I love that book cover,,makes me want to open an read whats inside,,those are my favorite kind to read,,thanks for coming an sharing
    this the real me,,Vickie Couturier,,wow now that is strange,,

  13. Congrats on your graduation & the release of this book! Thanks for sharing with us today! 😀

  14. Congrats on graduating from college.
    I am looking forward to visiting Peppin, Texas through your book.

  15. Noelle! So excited for the new book! If i don’t win i will pre-order from barnes and noble.

  16. You are such an awesome writer!! I know we haven’t ever hung out much, but I think what you are doing is amazing! 🙂 Sincerely, Bookblot

  17. Hey, ladies! I’m just dropping in to say hello. I have a deadline tomorrow for the third book in the series but it’s such a refreshing treat to hear from y’all! I am so glad you enjoyed my blog post and are interested in my new release.

    That cover was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea the art department was going to include the town on it. It came out perfectly!

    Best of luck to all of you for the giveaway!

  18. What a wonderful cover. Yes, location matters. If it matters in real life, it should matter in our fictional worlds as well.

    Peace, Julie

  19. I would LOVE to be entered! 😀

    The locations definitely do matter! I think they often times can define your characters more than anything else… 🙂

    Love to you, Noelle! 😉


  20. I bought your first book, Unlawfully Wedded Bride, when it first came out. I had recommended it to our local library for purchase but they wouldn’t get it because you were a new author. Their loss, my gain because I have my own copy and don’t have to turn it back in!! Can’t wait to read the next book.

  21. Location definitely makes a difference. Without the the back drop what do you have. Can’t wait to read you new book

  22. I love the cover. I agree that location is definitely important. I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations on the book…Put my name in the hat to win a copy…would love it


  23. Very funny post, Noelle! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book to “see” the location…. 🙂

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