Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guest Blog by Piper Maitland - The Setting in Acquainted With the Night or It’s Greek to Me

Please welcome Piper Maitland to The Qwillery. The first novel in Piper's Night series, Acquainted With the Night, was published in November by Berkley.

The Setting in Acquainted With the Night
It’s Greek to Me

I often write about places I've visited, so I was delighted when the characters in Acquainted With the Night went to Greece. While vampire assassins lurk in the background, Jude and Caro end up in Kalambaka, a small town that sits in the shadows of Meteora, the home of the famed cliff-top monasteries.

The notion of vampires was the last thing on my mind when we left Athens on Christmas morning and drove north to Kalambaka. Snow blew across the highway, forcing us to take refuge in a roadside café. While we drank tea and ate baklava, our guide told us stories about Turkish invasions and treasures that were hidden within the monasteries.

When the snow stopped, we headed out again. In my mind’s eye, I’d envisioned a stucco monastery on a hilltop. In the distance I saw giant pillars, and each one was topped with a red-roofed building. They looked like something from a dream. I had, of course, glimpsed one of these monasteries—Agia Triada had been featured in a James Bond movie, and Roger Moore had scaled the mountain to thwart the bad guys.

Kalambaka, Greece

But nothing had prepared me for the majesty and magic of Meteora.There, in the center of Greece, backlit by the Pindus Mountains. I saw the monasteries: Great Meteoron, Varlaam, St. Stephen, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholas, and Roussanou.

Our guide, Pepe, explained that the monks had built the monasteries with a clever winch and pulley system—the buildings had been literally erected one stone at a time.

Great Meteoron

We arrived at Great Meteoron and trudged through snow up a series of rough hewn steps. At the landing, an orthodox monk reached up into a tree and his gnarled hand closed on a ripe orange.


As the day progressed, we witnessed more oddities—a room filled with skulls and bones; religious icons; art that depicted the battle between light and darkness. Before we left, a monk painted us an icon and drew lavish symbols on the back: a prayer for our family.

We spent several days in Kalambaka, enjoying the cuisine. Since food is a major issue in our family, we visited many sidewalk cafes and tavernas.

I developed a deep affection for the dark, mysterious, flavorful kalamata olive. I also discovered that moussaka is pure comfort food. I’m a self-taught chef, but I will also happily eat chick peas straight from the can, so I was in Foodie heaven when I found hummus. And for dessert, we feasted on baklava.

At night, we retreated to our hotel room, which faced the giant rocks. Spotlights washed up the sandstone, bathing the obelisks in an ethereal glow, and I began to think, “What if….?” Naturally (because I'm a natural Foodie), I have a desperate need to feed people. I love feeding my characters while I'm writing, so Caro and Jude enjoyed several authentic Greek meals. I ended up cutting some of the descriptions because Acquainted With the Night is a romance and a thriller, not a food-fest, but my characters didn't lack for calories. I sent them on wild goose chases, but I ate baklava and dreamed about oranges, monks, and pillars in the sky.

About Acquainted With the Night

Acquainted With the Night
Berkley (November 29, 2011)
Enhanced Mass Market Paperback, 544 pages
Paranormal Suspense

You can read my 4 1/2 Qwill review here.

A woman's quest for the truth...A medieval icon that holds the clues...And an ancient book with the power to shake Christianity-and humanity itself.

London tour guide Caroline Clifford has never believe in vampires- until her uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archaeological site, and a vampire hunter who corresponded with him seeks her out.

Strange anagrams on her uncle's passport lead them to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattering revelation connects a relic Caro inherited to an age-old text on immortality-and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy all they know...

About Piper

Piper Maitland lives on a Tennessee farm with her family. She is the author of the vampire thriller, Acquainted With the Night (Berkley/November 2011). She is currently working on the sequel, A Requiem for Daylight. Piper has also written novels under the name Michael Lee West.

Piper's Links:


The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Acquainted With the Night (Night 1) generously provided by Berkley.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What has been your favorite place setting for a novel? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, December 17, 2011. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Photos provided by author via Shutterstock.


  1. Is it awful of me that I can't think of a favorite? There are places I've been that make some stories more exciting because of the familiarity (I.e. NYC or LA). And there are places (magical, historical, or futuristic) that I'd like to visit. But no one place jumps out as a 'favorite'. Oh well.

    +3: Comment (though w/o really answering the question); Follower; Tweeter.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. WOW! I loved this post. Thank you so much for sharing about Greece, of all my travels that is one stop I still yearn to make :) I also loved the trailers - they are both so different and each had something intriguing and unusual that made me want to read Acquainted with the Night. I have found that I can relate more to UF stories that take place in a large "well known" city a.k.a. San Francisco, Atlanta . . . For some reason it is easier for me to assimilate the world building faster, but I have recently been reading stories where the world building has taken me out of my familiar comfort zones and the world building talent of the author is making this okay. Thank you for sharing this great post with us today and for the lovely giveaway opportunity.
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC
    +1 Tweeted =!/ZDz59001/status/145575003147083776

  4. I'm really partial to the Kate Daniels series because it's set in Atlanta, my hometown. Of course, I'd probably love the series anyway, but some of the "inside" jokes about places are pretty darn funny.

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted (!/RebeLovesBooks/status/145584391203196928)

  5. I enjoyed the post, Piper. The pictures were wonderful, too.

    I can't pick just one favorite place setting but I really enjoyed novels set in New Orleans. Perhaps I vacationed there many years ago and want to return. I found the place mystical.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  6. Stories have inspired me to visit so many places. Scotland is a favorite setting in a novel.

    +1 GFC follower

  7. I love unusual settings, so Zoe Archer's Mongolia setting for her book Warrior was really great. She had a Greek setting in Scoundrel that was fantastic as well. I'd say both of those would be favorites.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  8. Beautiful pictures, wow! I hope to be able to go there and expierence it myself some day. The scenery and the food, ahhh the food...

    As for favorites:
    The Shire and surrounding area, beautifully described and very real. But if your talking real places, then it would have to be New Orleans. Many great novels take place in this city, love it!

    I have been excited to read Acquainted With the Night. It sounds like a great read. Hope it does well for you! Thanks for the giveaway!

    GFC follower Lexi
    eyesofblueice (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. I think my favorite location is London. This is a great post, please enter me in the giveaway.

    +1GFC follower
    +1 Tweeted:!/DebNovack/status/145626732412682241

  10. I read a book not long ago set beneath the streets of London. It was brilliant.

    GFC: Mary Preston


  11. OMG, it's hard to pick a favorite. I'm reading a book now set in Scotland... and it's my current favorite setting. However, I've read books set in magical places and in the stars and in multiple other locales that I could also call my favorite. Hope this answers the question! Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. I forgot to mention that I'm a follower! Sorry!

  13. I love medieval times and civil war. Please enter me in contest. I really want to read this book.

  14. I don't think I could pick just one place, but Greece & around the Mediterranean are certainly high on the list. Especially after this post with the wonderful pictures.
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweet -!/DianeSallans/status/145673005106868224

    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  15. I would love to visit all those places. How beautiful it must be. If I had to pick a favorite place, it would be England.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  16. I dont really have a favorite. But I love Chicago settings since I lived there for a number of years. I can really see the areas traveled in the books.

    -tweet -!/DonnaS1/status/145740902365806592
    -blog -

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  17. I can't pick just one favorite place setting but I really enjoyed novels set in Scotland. That place in my favorite setting novel.
    Thanks for giveaway.

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 facebook

    filia fantasy at gmail dot com

  18. I really love books set in Ireland and/or Scotland!! Awesome places, and I would love to visit them sometime! Until then I just have to be happy reading about them:)

    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 tweet:!/jwitt33/status/145975874003546112

    jwitt33 at live dot com

  19. What incredible pictures. I still can't wrap my brain around how Varlaam was built and you get up there?!I had no idea that parts of Greece could look like that!

    I'm embarassed to say, but because I've read so, so, so many books, I don't have a very good memory for names, places and some names of book series. At the time I'm reading, I am sure that I won't forget any of the details, then..poof! I'm asked a question like this and I draw a blank on specifics. So, I'll hedge a little...Italy and Scotland are 2 countries that I love in terms of the history that can be used by the author to bring an old castle back to what it would have been like back in time. How's that?

    This book sounds great and i'd love to win it!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  20. Great Post. I always love posts with photos attached. I enjoy novels set in New Orleans and in New on the coast of Maine.


  21. One of my favorite settings for a novel was that of The Historian where they race across Eastern Europe through places like Istanbul, Bulgaria, Wallachia, and Romania.

    +1 Twitter @timlewis:!/QQwill/status/145551463677050880

    Thanks again for the review and the setting information.