I have four Special Editions coming out in 2012. All of them are set in Texas: three are in a
fictional town outside of Dallas (I’m calling it Celebration, Texas). The other one is part of the popular Fortunes of Texas series and it’s set in the fictional town of Red Rock,Texas, which is supposedly 20 miles east of San Antonio.
It’s the first time I’m writing about Texas. I’m excited to be spending so much virtual time there because a have quite a bit of family in the Dallas area. I’m vaguely familiar with the state – enough to know it’s flavor, and, of course, I can call on my family with any questions.
In the past, I’ve set books in Orlando and Paris because I’m familiar with those cities. The only real place I’ve written about that I’m not familiar with is Boston. It was part of a Special Edition continuity (I was one of six authors writing books for this series). I actually visited before I finished the book so I could make sure I captured the essence of the city.
I’ve heard of authors writing on a wing and prayer, setting books in regions they’ve never visited. But I shy away from doing that because I strive to get everything exactly right. So, if I make up the city – it might even be a fictitious city based on an actual city – I feel better about taking artistic license and not being bound by maps and facts.
I have two questions for you: do you like reading books set in fictional places or imaginary worlds? If you prefer actual cities, how much leeway to you give an author to fictionalize neighborhoods and the texture of the area?