Guest Blog Take Over: Jayne Denker on Marsden, Continuity and Swearing. (Or something like that)

Today, Biel Blather is being taken over by fellow writer and all-around funny gal, Jayne Denker. She's here to talk about her book, Down on Love, which is on sale this month.

(Blog) Tour of Marsden, Day 5
In Which Your Tour Guide Swears a Lot; Or, Continuity’s a Bitch

Hey campers. Are you still on the bus? We’re headed for Marsden, NY, the fictional small town in the heart of the Catskills that features in my rom com, Down on Love. If I sound a little subdued today, it’s because I have a raging headache, so if we could all play quietly as we roll along, that’d be great, mkay?

What’s bugging me, you ask? I mean, sure, I was mighty perky on the first four days of the tour (see the full list of stops at my blog,, but today I have one heck of a hangover. No, not that kind. A continuity hangover. I’ll try to explain; I just need a little pick-me-up first. Are you going to finish that coffee?

Okay, see, continuity is like air—you only notice it when it’s missing. When we’re watching a movie, we happily buy into it until we notice that Pretty Woman’s breakfast changes from a croissant to a bagel to a croissant in a single scene. That’s a continuity problem, and when we see one, our brains go “gack!” Well, try creating an entire town—and a population for that entire town—without any foreknowledge that you’re going to have to go back to it and write more...and try to make it all consistent!

When I was writing Down on Love, I wasn’t planning on making the first in a small-town romcom series. But my editor asked if I wanted to keep going with more books set in Marsden, and who was I to say no? I wrote the second book, Picture This, which came out in July, and now I’m working on the third, Lucky for You, which should publish in late spring or early summer next year. Although all the books take place in Marsden, they’re only loosely connected and can be read as standalones if that’s more your thing.

Now, Marsden is a great place to be. I’m having a blast “living” there as I write my books. Heck, I wish my real village was as interesting and fun as this place! But there’s no denying there are challenges when you write a series—the continuity kind.

I’m talking keeping the characters consistent, recalling all their quirks and idiosyncrasies, keeping all their interrelations intact (always fun, especially when you have connections, friendships, and feuds going back generations). Checking ages and making sure they mesh is a big issue.

And then there’s geography: Marsden has a vibrant, busy Main Street, filled with shops, art galleries, restaurants, and other businesses.

Result: major continuity hangover. And lots of swearing. LOTS.

But it’s okay. I have skillz. I’m a little OCD. I could figure this out and make sure that all the details in my second and third books matched what I wrote off the cuff in my first. I took a page from television and created a “bible” with all the facts I had about Marsden. I made character lists, with names, occupations, ages, and relationships.

I even went full-on Tolkien and drew a map of the town and its surrounding areas, mainly because there are so many shops and restaurants and offices on Main Street, I wanted to make sure I knew what was abutting what and who was across the street from whom. I had to make sure I didn’t inadvertently move the shops around, or have a character cross the street to a store or the bank that I’d actually mentioned was several blocks away in a previous book.

Questions I had to address beyond Main Street: How long does it take to walk from George’s sister’s house to, say, the hardware store? And what places would she pass along the way? What sidestreet is the gym on? How about the music store? Also, how far away is Whalen, the dicey neighboring town? What’s between Marsden and Whalen? What’s in the strip malls outside of town? Where’s the park? And where the heck is this elusive Chicken Shack fast food restaurant, anyway?

Phew, right? But I have to say, it’s pretty fun creating a whole town from the ground up, complete with history dating back to the 1800s to the present, a million characters, etc. And somehow I get the feeling that this imaginary town carries on even when I’m not looking. So if you hear me swearing and/or groaning in pain, don’t worry—I’ll recover.

If you want to check out the village of Marsden, stay on the bus—this blog tour continues next week (Monday, October 20), stopping at my buddy and fellow author Glynis Astie’s blog (, where we’ll learn more about the Catskills, Marsden’s general location. Plus an excerpt!

You can also dive into Marsden right now, if you like—pick up Down on Love, on sale for only 99 cents (!) for the entire month of October, all e-formats.

Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you next week!

Sounds good, right? That's because it is! I've read both Marsden books, Down on Love and Picture This. And I know the third one's in the works because (tee hee) I have insider knowledge of it.

Here's where you can find Down on Love. Seriously--don't miss it!


Wanna know a little more about Jayne?

Jayne Denker divides her time between working hard to bring the funny in her romantic comedies and raising a young son who's way too clever for his own good. She lives in a small village in western New York that is in no way, shape, or form related to the small village in her Marsden novels Down on Love and Picture This. When she's not hard at work on another novel, the social media addict can usually be found frittering away startling amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). She’d like to say she updates her Web site,, quite often, but most of the time when it crosses her mind, she shouts “Can’t you see I’m writing?!” and puts it off till another day.


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