Fiction In My Backyard

When I write an urban fantasy book, I have to pick a setting from our world. Several factors go into that decision: climate, geography, a place I find interesting. I have yet to write a book set in my own city (though I’m considering it for the fire book), but even though the locations I’ve written about so far have been exciting new places to me, they’re in some people’s own backyards.

I recently met a woman on Twitter from Grays Harbor, WA, the setting for Elemental Magic. She was intrigued with the book mainly for its setting, and has even been blogging about it on a local community blog. (I find the Twilight/Forks comparison quite flattering.) As for some of the details I got wrong about the city, I blame Google Maps. 😉

Even though I have yet to write a story set in my own backyard, I do get excited when I find a book taking place in it. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many for the South Bay in California. San Francisco seems to be the go-to city. Close, but not close enough for me to feel a connection. I did read one book that took place in Fremont, which I was super excited about since I did grad school there, but the characters never left the office building the entire book. :-/

What is it about stories set in our neighborhoods that get us excited? Is it the chance to see if the author gets the details right? Is it the feeling that hey, someone’s paying attention to our little corner of the world? Or is it the sense that whatever supernatural story is playing out on the pages, we’re a part of it, simply by association?

Have you read books set in your town or city? How did you feel about them? I love hearing from you!

If you missed it yesterday, be sure to stop by Rebecca Enzor’s blog for the Earth Tones My Little Pony!

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13 comments on “Fiction In My Backyard

  1. I’m not really a fan of books set in Charleston, because they usually have to do with the Civil War (although it was a book set in Chas about the Civil War that made me want to move here… :P), or they’re about older, well-off women on one of the barrier islands going through a divorce and finding new love. Neither is really up my alley. The only books that are set near Chas that I’ve really enjoyed recently are the Beautiful Creatures series (and that’s mostly because they’ve inspired YAllFest to come to town! ^_^).

    I love books set in Michigan though, which is really home anyways. I like being able to picture the area in my mind, even if it’s set in a city/area I’ve never actually been in. It’s still home ❤

  2. Fallon says:

    I have never read a book set in my hometown. Of course, very few people, even in my state, seem to have heard of it since it is a really small town. I’ve never written one set in the town either, although I have based some fictional towns on it.

  3. Both my novels are set in real towns and cities. It would be an interesting challenge to create a setting completely from my imagination. I’m always blown away by the creativity of you fantasy writers even when the setting is real.

  4. I can’t think of any fiction books set in my hometown, Dayton, Ohio, so I have to settle for local history, which usually means the Wright Bros. Luckily, I love reading about them, but yeah, fiction would be great. So I set my own books in Dayton. 🙂 I’d love to read someone else’s – I think I’d expect to feel more of a connection with the story. Also because I’d like to see if they succeed in doing something I always try – to make it not sound boring! 😀

    • Haha. I feel like there’s a challenge writing in your own town, because who really knows every square inch? I feel like it’s safer to get something wrong for somewhere I’ve never been. But I agree that reading someone else’s book set in my town creates a stronger connection. Thanks for stopping by, Jennette. 🙂

  5. Susan A. says:

    I never saw any paranormal/UF series set in Oklahoma City until I started reading indie authors. Now I’ve found a couple that at least take place part time in the city, but in those cases the authors are from here so their descriptions are very accurate. I could recognize details only a native would know. It’s fun reading about my hometown through their eyes, but I’m thankful the writing is awesome too.

  6. Adriana Ryan says:

    I love books set in places I’ve visited. So far I’ve set my series in SC, but in fictional cities. I think, for me, it’s seeing the place I’m so familiar with through the author’s eyes. 🙂

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