How does a writer pick where their story is going to take place? It’s a question I get asked often and I don’t always have a solid answer. Why did I pick Charleston when I’m not even from Charleston or ever lived there? Good question.
As I’ve mentioned before, the original short story that inspired the book was set in New Orleans, but was changed for the book for several reasons. The short story was written prior to Hurricane Katrina which dramatically changed the New Orleans area, and I didn’t think I could do justice to New Orleans post-Katrina as I have not witnessed nor could imagine what they endured.
So, I set out to find a new setting for Kythera. Part of why I picked New Orleans is the eerie and mysterious feeling it has with the historical buildings with imaginative stories, Spanish moss, humid heat and ghost stories. Charleston seem to have a lot of the same elements and was a great fit for my story. Later in the series, I will be returning to New Orleans, but for a brief segment because New Orleans is still tied to the mysterious Kythera.
After the series is done, I will move on to new stories and new locations. How will I pick the next one?
I’m thinking a great mystery set in Paris so I can have an excuse to go there (“Husband we have to go to Paris! It’s for research!”). I’m a travel bug and I love seeing new places, but more likely than not, the next one will be set in a favorite travel spot.
My absolute favorite place to go? Apalachicola, Florida. We make a trip at the very least one weekend a year, but we often go more than that. Apalachicola isn’t some grand resort town or destination. It’s a quaint fishing village along the Forgotten Coast of Florida’s Panhandle where everyone is friendly and things are slow going. I tell everyone it’s like Stars Hollow on the ocean (I love Gilmore Girl’s and I would move to their fictional Connecticut town in a heart beat) and for that reason it holds a special place in my heart.
When I’m having a bad day, I imagine I’m there away from it all. I generally prefer big towns with lots to do, but this is the one exception. The closest movie theater is an hour away in Panama City. The closest Wal-Mart is thirty minutes and they have two hotels. But they have an amazing array of locally owned restaurants and several bed and breakfasts (our favorite is the Coombs House Inn).
Will my next book series be set in Apalachicola? Maybe, maybe not, but you can probably count on it being somewhere warm and Southern.