It Happened in New Orleans…
Making New Orleans the setting for ROUGE came to me almost as fast as the idea of what I wanted to happen in the story.
Using Oliver Twist as a jumping-off point, main character Hale is a 17 year-old orphan protecting a younger orphan girl (a’la Oliver and the Artful Dodger).
The two are struggling to survive, to hide from prostitution, and to escape what ultimately becomes an abusive situation. Hale finds love, but she has to decide quick if he’s worth the price she’ll have to pay…
New Orleans was the perfect backdrop. It added the darkness, the damp, the possibility of hidden vices.
Maybe it was the history of Storyville or just the history period.
Or even the present—think about the little kids constantly tap-dancing for tips on the sidewalks of the French Quarter.
Music is everywhere in New Orleans, which led me to make them performers in a cabaret. But all their earnings go to the cabaret owner, like those underage tap dancers.
From there, it was a matter of incorporating the heat, the humidity, the river, the sounds and the smells of that big, musty city.
I grew up in Baton Rouge, 60 miles north of NOLA, and the Big Easy was always a favorite setting of local authors and storytellers. It was always the place where dark and mysterious things occurred; where politicians were super-corrupt and everybody had some form of vice going.
At the same time, I love the Crescent City. Its residents are warm-hearted, the food can’t be beat, and nothing’s better than strolling through the Vieux Carre on a cool day.
For a young woman facing a horrible threat, determined to escape her wretched circumstances, yet surrounded by music and a “family” of street-smart grifters, it was the perfect place.
My early readers said they felt like they were there—just enough, not too much—like spice in the gumbo.
Thanks again for having me, Bethzaida! I hope you and your readers enjoy my book! I hope you feel immersed a city that’s steeped in history… and secrecy.
Leigh Talbert Moore is a wife and mom by day, a writer by day, a reader by day, an editor when time permits, a chocoholic, a lover of YA and contemporary romance (really any great love story), and occasionally she sleeps.
-ROUGE is the first book in her mature-YA/new adult romance series (available in all major outlets).
-THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING is her debut young adult romance (available in all major outlets).
Leigh loves hearing from readers; stop by and say hello:
*Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/leightmoore