I was interested the other day as I was reading Lisa’s post where she interviewed Tamera Alexander and they talked about the settings of their books. Settings have always intrigued me. Why did they choose that? How long did it take them to research? Did they know someone from there? Do they wish they knew some one from there? Is that the era they have always wished they were born in? Are they afraid to write about a real place because their mama and her friends will sue them?
Yes, I know. Proof we writers talk to ourselves.
I came about fiction by divine appointment and multiple rejections of my non-fiction book. Asked myself, “I wonder if I can write fiction.” Decided I had been to Savannah, Georgia once and it was a really nice place. Would make a really great setting. Could name the main character Savannah. And that is how my first novel “Savannah from Savannah” came to be and celebrates it 10th anniversary this year! Wow….
I didn’t know anything about writing novels. But what I did know is I had to get to Savannah if I was going to write a novel about it well. I arrived not having any idea what I was going to do. But once there, it was as if the very atmosphere took over. I walked the streets. I ease dropped. I took trolley tours and walking tours. I made conversation with store clerks and inn keepers. I ate food and ate food and ate food. I walked and I walked and I walked. I read articles and books and listened again. And by the time I left Savannah was oozing out of my pores and sweet tea was flowing through my veins.
I have never written a book set in a fictitious location. I have taken the places that I love most on this earth, Charleston, S.C., Franklin, TN, Savannah, GA, Seaside, FL, the Cove resort at The Atlantis hotel, the back roads of SC and brought my readers into the history, humor, and heart of these captivating places.
They have been used as guidebooks for girlfriend get-aways and couples long weekends. And nothing is a greater compliment. Other than when I’m asked, “Did you actually live in Savannah, because you make me feel like I do.”
So, I’m wondering. What do you desire most about the setting of the novels you read? What captures you the most? Have you ever eaten at a restaurant or gone to a city you read about in a novel? Come on, I’d really like to know.