Someone asked me how I choose the settings for my books. They weren’t impressed with my answer. Although setting is key element in many of my stories, I don’t really have a process for choosing where a story is set. The setting comes to me as part of the story idea, and I run with it. I don’t start with a story idea and think about different settings where it could take place.
Cryptid Ops was the first series I wrote and each of those books is set in a very specific and unique environment that contributes to the story in the same way a supporting character would. The first book in that series, Thunderbird, is set in the desert outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. Frank and I lived there for a few years and spent a lot of time exploring the Chihuahuan desert. Book 2, Black Fly, is set in the Connecticut Lakes area of extreme northern New Hampshire. It’s another environment I had a personal relationship with.
I have two series that are set on the frozen moon of a planet in our League of Planetary systems. The unique setting could be seen as a limiting factor or constraint, but I find it interesting to come up with ways for people to lead pretty normal lives in such an alien environment. Of course, maybe it helps that the “people” are aliens.
Some of my settings are completely fictional with no basis in reality like ICE or the setting for Progression which is inside an asteroid. Some are fictional but are composites of places we’ve lived or visited. Hairy’s Cryptid Café is set in a very small town in Montana. I’ve lived in a very small town at two different points in my life. That experience helps me shape my version of life in the fictional Wilkins’ Gap, Idaho.
In my adult life, I’ve lived in a lot of different places. My mom used to say that I didn’t vacation I just moved. I think my gypsy spirit has given me a good foundation to create settings for my books that readers will enjoy visiting.
Whether you like stores set in the mountains or cities or on other planets, in the end…
It’s all about the tale.