I know for me basing a setting on a place I've actually been makes the whole writing process so much easier.
In my first book, This Time for Always, The Corral is based on the bar where my husband and I met. It was a place that held such wonderful memories for me, I guess I wanted to immortalize it forever. And now I'm glad I did, as the actual place has closed. It's nice to know I can open the pages of a book and go back to visit it whenever I want to!
In Wild Wedding Weekend I took Abby and Noah to some of the places my hubby and I visited on our own honeymoon. Not only did I have actual memories to refer to while writing, but I had photographs and literature to boot.
The first time we ever visited a friend's uncle's cabin in Ozark, Missouri, I knew it would be the perfect setting for a book, even though at the time I didn't have a story to set there. When it came time to write the spin-off of Always, this cozy retreat turned into the perfect place for Zach and Jessica to fall in love in This Can't Be Love. I did take the liberty of "moving" it out West, though.
In the third book of this "series" (my current WIP) readers will get to revisit both The Corral and Zach and Jessica's cozy cabin.
My story "Family Secrets" (just waiting for me to get my act together and start the submission process) is set in a Chicago suburb. That was the easy part. Much of the story takes place in a historic row home, and I'd never been in one. I gathered floorplans, blueprints, and pictures from the Internet. But, I have to admit, writing this setting was a bit more difficult because it wasn't a place I'd actually been to.
Currently I'm also working on a shorter length story which is set at a ski resort. Again, as I've never been to a ski resort, this is taking quite a bit of research, and I'm not quite comfortable in my environment yet. Hmn? Maybe the hubby and I will have to go skiing this winter.
The setting is immensely important in a story. Whether it's reality based or researched based, an author needs to do it right.
And if you're looking for a cozy holiday read, check out the setting (and more!) of my free read Mistletoe and Folly.
Until next time,