Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A sense of place

I've been thinking a lot about "sense of place" lately. When I first started writing urban fiction, I was living in Los Angeles, and it was natural to set my stories and my first novel there. I have a love/hate relationship with the city where I spent decades of my life, and little by little, I incorporated both my favorite elements (the Griffith Park Observatory) and those I disliked (crazy celebrity culture, huge income disparity, ridiculous traffic) into the stories.
Photo: Matthew Field/Wikipedia
The Griffith Observatory is one of my favorite buildings in the world, and I turned it into a headquarters for the vampire family that runs L.A. and used it as the location of several pivotal scenes in Misbegotten, the first L.A. Nocturne novel. (It's currently available free in the collection After Midnight.)
Whatcom Falls photo by Ken Haufle/Wikipedia
When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest, it took me a very long time to get a feel for the place and write about it. I tried a couple of times to write UF set in Bellingham (halfway between Vancouver, BC and Seattle), even sketched an outline for something called Blood in the Rain. It just never quite happened for me. Then one day, when the wind had caused yet another hours-long power outage (a common hazard in Bellingham), I started sketching out a cozy Christmas romance and suddenly I realized I was setting it in an idealized version of the city where I'd been living for two years. And that made me happy.

I moved from Bellingham to another, smaller town nearly two years ago and from the first, I knew I wanted to use it as a setting for my Rezso and Witch War novels. My new hometown is not scenic most months of the year, but in the fall it is spectacular. (That's one reason Witch War is set in the fall.)
I am currently prepping for a move overseas. And I'm already wondering how I will write my very American books if I'm living in Europe. Under my cozy romance pen name (Katherine Moore), I already have ideas for a series of Expat romances, but I don't want to be a tourist...
Only time will tell.

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