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How I Choose a Story Setting

As a child who lived a fairly nomadic existence while growing up, I’ve had the opportunity to experience life in a variety of locations within the United States. As an adult, I’ve stayed put for the most part in the place where I was born, the desert southwest.

Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed to be married to a full-blooded Englishman and he has shown me life outside of America during our fifteen years together. I’ve lived in England and traveled throughout much of Western Europe. Given my humble beginnings in life, it was an adventure I never thought possible.

So when I began to pen my first novel, Redwood Violet, I knew right away where the story would take place. It was, of course, my favorite place, San Diego. There are other places I’ve visited that are probably more scenic, more secluded and have better food, but San Diego, for me, is like my second home.

The people of San Diego and Phoenix, where I call home, have a love-hate relationship. We Phoenicians love them and they hate us! We go there to get out of the heat, swim in their warm ocean waters and spend our hard-earned cash on their seaside wares. They, in return, get to deal with our slow driving, meandering about and general annoyance that we consider it our home too.

But I digress. I prefer to write about locations that I could see myself living in one day. My husband and I often kick around the idea of moving to California, but money and jobs and that sort of thing tend to hold us back. So for now, I choose to live there through my characters.

And that brings me to another of my novels, Landslide. For those who have already read my other stories, you know that I don’t always write about San Diego. Beyond the Clearing was set in Sedona and Landslide takes place in Seattle. And most recently, Law of Five takes place in a variety of locations, my most adventurous attempt to date. But I think you’ll notice a prevalent theme and that is that my stories occur in and around the western part of the United States. I’m most familiar with these locals and I find it easier not only to write about places with which I am familiar, but also places that I could see myself calling home.

So when readers take a look at my latest release, Law of Five, book three in the Redwood Violet series, they might be surprised to find that I have ventured into places where I have never been. It was exciting and nerve-wracking ensuring that what I was writing was true to form, but I think I’ll always return home to the cities that I know best.

If there are any people reading this from San Diego, I apologize for the food remark. I really do love your food!

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