• CK Sorens

Guest Post: Linda Stewart Henley on The Importance of Setting

Though this blog is mostly about sharing new books with you, on occasion a few authors drop in to give us an inside look at their process. This week, our guest is Linda Stewart Henley, author of Estelle and Waterbury Winter.

Linda is stopping by as part of her book tour with Women on Writing, which started May 2nd at their blog, The Muffin (link here). There you can enter to win a copy of Linda's novel, Waterbury Winter! But first, read on to find out about the importance of setting and get a little insight to the novel itself.


The Importance of Setting

Setting is so important it sometimes becomes a character in a novel. Can you imagine Gone With The Wind without Tara? Or Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea without the sea? These are extreme examples, but readers want to know where a story takes place. Usually, they find it right at the beginning, along with the introduction of the protagonist, and the time frame.

Authors need ways of grounding their story to bring the reader into the world they have created. The setting, which may include the time period, location, weather, and physical surroundings, plays a big part in helping the reader to relate to the story world.

Waterbury Winter is set in Waterbury, Connecticut, in (no surprise) winter. The book’s cover depicts a snowy city scene, with a car stuck in a snowbank. A man plods through the snow, receding into the distance. My publisher created the cover to indicate that the man is on a journey, and I initially rejected the design. I thought the book might not appeal to people who don’t like winter, but the images do indicate the setting and imply the main theme. Of course, despite being warned not to, some might judge the book precisely because of its cover, and if they don’t like winter, I hope they will at least look inside and learn more. The book isn’t really about winter, and the town of Waterbury, that has seen better days, is not without interest.

Not all scenes in Waterbury Winter take part outside. Most of them are set in O’Malley’s bar. Here we have another possible challenge for readers. Some people don’t like bars. But the setting isn’t the main focus of the story: it’s the characters, particularly Barnaby Brown. The neighborhood bar attracts personalities of all kinds: a retired professor, a mysterious woman who only drinks gin gimlets, and a pool player. For Barnaby, it’s the place that both destroys and inspires him.


About Waterbury Winter

Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open.

A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles.

A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.

Find Waterbury Winter at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.


About the Author

Linda Stewart Henley is the author of Estelle: A Novel. Among other honors, it won Silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for The Eric Hoffer Book Awards as well as for the 2021 Nancy Pearl Award. She lives in Anacortes, Washington, with her husband. Waterbury Winter is her second novel.

Find Linda at:




See the rest of the tour here:

May 2nd @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.


May 3rd @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews Blog

Stop by Lisa's blog today and read an interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.


May 3rd @ Fiona Ingram's Blog

Visit Fiona's blog and read Linda Stewart Henley's guest post about writing historical fiction.


May 5th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda's blog and read her interview with author Linda Stewart Henley.


May 7th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Join Linda as she interviews Linda Stewart Henley about her book Waterbury Winter.


May 8th @ What is That Book About?

Michelle spotlights Linda Stewart Henley's book Waterbury Winter.


May 9th @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy as she features Linda Stewart Henley's guest post about mixed genres in writing.


May 12th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy's blog today and read her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 13th @ CK Sorens' Blog

Visit Carrie's blog and read Linda Stewart Henley's guest post about the importance of setting.

You are here!

May 15th @ Choices

Visit Madeline's blog and read Linda Stewart Henley's guest post about what a difference an editor makes.


May 18th @ Beverley A. Baird

Visit Beverley's blog and her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 19th @ Reading Is My Remedy

Join Chelsie over at her Instagram page today where she shares her review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 21st @ Bring on Lemons

Crystal shares her thoughts about the charming Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Make sure to visit Anthony's blog and read his review of Linda Stewart Henley's book Waterbury Winter.


May 25th @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley again as she features Linda Stewart Henley's post about inspiration in art.


May 26th @ The Frugalista Mom

Visit Roselyn's blog as she reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 27th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra's blog features Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 30th @ Liberate and Lather

Stop by Angela's blog today and read her thoughts about Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


May 31st @ The Faerie Review

Lily spotlights Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


June 2nd @ Pages & Paws

Join Pages and Paws for their review of Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


June 4th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews Waterbury Winter by Linda Stewart Henley.


June 5th @ Jill Sheets Blog

Visit Jill as she interviews author Linda Stewart Henley.


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