Choosing a Setting for a Novel

Winter Trees

PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Rooney, Bold Coast Photography

As a native New Jerseyan – more importantly, a native Trentonian – my first mystery series (oh, did I  mention it’s a series?) is set in the Trenton area. This comes as a surprise to some people, who (naturally, I suppose) assumed I would set my novel in my adopted state of Maine. After all, everyone knows Maine has pea soup fog, ancient cemeteries, and tons of old falling-down-sideways houses and barns along less-traveled roads (many of them unlit and unpaved). Throw in a landscape that includes a mix of dark, foreboding evergreens and craggy, bare-branched trees with twisted arms just waiting to swoop down and grab you as you traverse said less-traveled roads – well, it’s a setting just custom-made for creepers and murderers and horrors enough to ruin your sleep patterns for years to come. I think a guy named King has pretty well established this fact.

But when choosing a setting for a novel, why go for merely spooky when you can opt for truly bizarre?  (more…)