In the recent RWR, Hilary Sares said people don’t buy books based on settings. As much as I hate to disagree with a publishing professional, I have to disagree. The very first romance I bought as an adult, Dark of the Moon, I bought because it was set in Ireland. Come to think of it, the ones I bought as a teen, I bought because they were set all over the country, in different states. After Dark of the Moon, I bought any book I could find set in Ireland.

For awhile, it was New Orleans. Then Egypt.

More recently, exotic settings, especially if they have jungles.

I would read other books, too, of course, but I would pick up the one with the interesting setting first.

The reason I bring this up is that I’m waffling a bit on my setting for my new book, my ghost hunter. My brother thinks it should be in New Orleans. My cps (with whom I’m writing the series) think the Northeast U.S., like Salem area. I definitely want a U.S. setting. How important is setting to you when reading a book?

And I know I’m done with Spy Girl (for the time being – will revise after Christmas) but I just have to post one last JD picture.

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Julie said...

I usually won't pick a book due to setting, but I will enjoy it more or less due to where it is set. I just finished an Elizabeth Lowell set very near where I live ("Ruby Bayou") and enjoyed it a lot, but then Ms. Lowell is great at research.

The flip side is, every book I've ever read that was set in Hawaii drove me bonkers because it was obvious the person hadn't lived there.

For YOUR setting, I think, start with the obvious question: Do you want it set in somewhere obviously supernatural?

And one last comment... we always take for granted where we live, but it's considered quite exotic to whoever doesn't live there. No matter where we are.

Trish Milburn said...

I do notice the setting for books. I think setting, when done right, can be seen as another character.

Anonymous said...

Setting matters at times. With a ghost hunter book, it definitely matters. The ghosts people hunt in NO are quite different from the ones in the Salem area and those are different from the ghosts in the southwest. I always go back to pick a setting that helps increase the conflict in some way or shows characterization.
CONGRATS on finishing spy girl!!!!

April said...

I don't necessarily choose a book for it's setting. Although, there are times where I think setting becomes an actual character and I think the settings you referred to are sort of like that. So I think that's how you decide how important setting is. Can this story fit "anywhere" or does it require a special setting.

Good luck!

MJFredrick said...

Okay, I'm thinking an island....that would be northeast or northwest, huh?

Julie, I remember you saying that about Hawaii! I've read very few set in San Antonio, but they mostly get it right. (I did have one quibble with Supernatural - the night the gun was made was supposed to be the same night as the Battle of the Alamo, only John said it was 1835 instead of 1836.)

Trish and April, my goal is to have the setting as another character, as an antagonist to my hero and heroine.

Mary Beth, thanks for the congratulations! You're right about ghost hunters being different in NO than in another part of the US. I'm leaning away from NO right now.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Because everyone who commented is right, you need to set it where you want to set it. The place you know best, or can research best, or at least feel most comfortable writing about. The place that works best for the story you want to tell.

Good luck!


M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
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Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
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Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
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Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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