Write what you know. It’s good advice, but sometimes the muse takes you elsewhere. We ride the journey with research replacing experience. Hopefully it’s enough.
I completed a historical novel set in ancient Mesoamerica. There was no way for me to literally go back in time to grab the details. Research was imperative, but I could also get creative. For example, I invented a fruit that was eaten.
Directly contrasting this is my current work in progress, set in modern
. Again, research is imperative. If I don’t get a localism right, someone will call me on it. That’s partly why I picked this setting. I get to visit there this very week! I’m off to sunny San Diego County and excited to absorb the sites and sounds, culture and language. A camera and notebook are must haves. Plus, when I’m through writing, I have YA nieces and nephews who can comb through those details. Tip: Have you checked out Google Earth in the street view? Awesomesauce. California
Sometimes we pick a setting for the exotic/rugged/secluded/whatever qualities it has. I picked this area for familiarity. When it doesn’t really matter which city you pick, make life easier. Write what you know.