Recently, I was sitting at my favourite cafe with my netbook, working on revisions to my WIP. I no longer remember exactly how the conversation started, but a stranger who claimed to be an English teacher became rather curious about my activities.
I told him I’m writing a novel. When asked, I said it’s a modern fantasy called Gypsy Fiddle. Then he asked, “Where is it set?”
“Harrisburg,” I answered, my tone completely casual.
“Really? And can people tell it’s Harrisburg?”
I frowned slightly. “Yes.” I wasn’t sure I followed his train of thought at all.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, head rolling back.
I might as well have said that the action takes place in a castle built out of lint inside my belly button.
Yes, I meant Harrisburg. I live here, and I like the fact that it’s not NYC or LA or Boston or D.C. or some imaginary metropolis. Harrisburg may not be popular, but it’s where my stories happen. I’m not comparing myself to anybody, but I wonder if anybody looked at a young Stephen King and said “Maine? Really?”
I wanted to throw in another example because I don’t particularly care for Mr. King’s writing but I can’t think of another author off the top of my head that is so closely associated with a particular location that isn’t often used by other authors in the genre. Suggestions?
As a reader, does a story’s geographic location influence you at all?