I make up my own towns. This way I can be as creative as I'd like without having to worry about whether I'm right or wrong. I do use the Internet to check the weather during a certain time period for that state, and make sure anything to do with the law is accurate.
For example, LASSOING LOVE will be my first published novel. I knew I wanted the setting to be in Tennessee. I looked at a map and found an empty section in the Knoxville area in the Smokey Mountains. And because a lot of the story deals with foster care, I contacted a woman in that area to help with the process of foster care. The laws are different than RI.
The only sign of the setting being near the Knoxville area is the airport, I think. It's been a while since I wrote the book. Even to that, I don't think I described the airport because I didn't want to get it wrong. I just had my heroine notice her friends in the crowd (every airport has crowds).
Give us your opinion: Would you rather have a writer describe a real place so the reader can "visit" through the novel, or do you like the idea of a make believe town?