Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Places in Novels

I read an article this morning about books written about or in Calgary, my hometown growing up. They were talking about how excited they get when they read a book and suddenly stumble across a scene set in Calgary or when a character is from Calgary and went on to list a number of books that they've found that have this wonderful city in them.

I completely agree with their sentiment. I love to read about exotic places, and books by Sophie Kinsella, for example, always make me want to travel to England one day and whatnot. But there is something really special when I find a book that is about Calgary or Kissimmee, Florida, or any of the other places I've lived in throughout my life. Well, if they paint it in a flattering light, that is.

I've read a few books where Calgary is the setting and they make Albertans out to be a bunch of backward rednecks. Which, for the record, is not the case. A city of more than a million people, with oil and gas complanies making the citizens wealthy, Calgary is far from podunk.
My third novel, tentatively titled The One Who Got Away, which is due out probably later this year (it's in editing mode with my publisher right now) is set entirely in Calgary with a brief stop in Victoria on Vancouver Island. I love this book. It really does feel extra special to me. However, my other two books, Iced Romance and Tanned, Toned and Totally Faking It, still have Calgary connections. One has the main character who was born and raised in Calgary and the other has a character who visited Calgary. I feel the same way with Kissimmee, Florida, another place I lived in for a little while and grew to love immensely. That's why Iced Romance is my Florida novel, set in the city I have such fond memories of.

Do you prefer reading books set in places you have only seen on google or in your imagination, or are you like me and the authors of that article, and feel partial to a book set in your home? Also, what are your favourite books set in your local area, if you have one? I'd love to have you weigh in on this!



  1. It's hard to swing a cat in the Irish literary world without hitting a book set in Dublin, our capital. While I live in a town to the south, called Bray, I think I became a bit over-saturated with seeing my own home area in fiction. Having family and friends who've worked in the film industry also means I'm a little less excited whenever I see a place I know on screen.

    That said, I have kept some Irish connections in my work. The hero of my Locked Within series, Nathan Shepherd, is second generation Irish - his grandmother on his father's side came to New York from Ireland.

  2. That's so funny that I've just stumbled upon this post! I'm interning for a nonprofit right now and reading as many books as I can that have scenes in Calgary. There are a few but not nearly as many as I'd like, or that I can find. It's so great to see your hometown (or somewhere you've visited) show up in a novel. I grew up in a small town in Ontario and am just reading a novel that takes place there in the '70s (It's called The Queen of Unforgetting.) So cool. I don't always need to have real places show up in books but since starting this internship I'm starting to appreciate it even more.