Ok, enough of my gushing. Let's hear from Jana.
When I started Kept Tears I knew from the earliest moments where it would be set, even before I knew Rhys would be fae (I always knew Aaron would be a disabled veteran). For me, setting is pretty important. I travel a lot and I’ve lived all over. I like to put my travels into my stories. My short story Haunted in the Two Tickets to Paradise anthology was based on my travels in Victoria on Vancouver Island and Crisis in Faith, my Vampires in Vegas story is set in a city I find fascinating and over the top. For Kept Tears, I decided on Pittsburgh, PA, and it’s a natural for me. Not only is it an iconic city in its own right, but, like Aaron, I grew up within twenty-five miles from down town.
Pittsburgh is a fun city and I go there often both in person and in fiction. Kept Tears isn’t the only work I set there. My 1930’s demon hunters in the novella The Darkest Midnight in December is also set in Pittsburgh. In Aaron and Rhys’s story, I wanted to help support some ‘hometown’ businesses, like the Church Brew Works, that Aaron and Rhys go to on their first date. In fact almost all of the restaurants mentioned are real as are most of the places they go to on their dates. Primanti Brothers is one of favorite sandwich places and it’s one of those places a lot of non-Pittsburghers have heard of.
Much of Kept Tears is set on Pitt’s sprawling urban campus, and there is a lot of character there, especially if you consider the art deco beauty of the Cathedral of Learning and its nationality rooms. The medieval-looking Commons appeals to Aaron’s geeky sense of history and Renn fair cosplay. Aaron’s life is dominated by being a grad student at Pitt, so its campus plays a real role in Aaron’s life.
In polar opposites, there is Rhys’s homeland, the fae realms. This allowed my imagination to run free. It’s a magical place, so I could do nearly anything with it. I borrowed from existing lore and went from there. It was also interesting to contrast Rhys’s perception of his home and Aaron’s when he first gets to lay eyes on a world he could never have imagined existed.
“Because you are an intelligent man.”
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Author Bio - Jana Denardo's career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.
Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. It is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds, or a roguish starship captain to run off to the stars with her.