So I’m in San Francisco, and pretty excited to see the theatrical version of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, which I’ve sung the praises of here. Being in San Francisco, where I lived from 2001-2004, also makes me think of LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins, which I read a few weeks ago. Both these books are unashamedly set in San Francisco, and make frequent reference to well-known landmarks and features of San Francisco life.
Being a Canadian writer, this makes me feel a bit strange. Of course all my stories have a location, and my upcoming book WICKET SEASON is set in Toronto and makes no secret of it. But I wonder if setting a book definitively in a Canadian city limits its market. I wonder how US agents and publishers feel about this? I’d love to set a paranormal, sci-fi or fantasy in Vancouver for example (the rain would add a certain bleak ambiance) but I wonder how readers would feel about that.
My middle grade HILDEGARDE is set in small town Australia, and only ever published there. My upcoming verse novel AUDACIOUS is set in a never specified “prairie city”, but based on my childhood in Saskatchewan. When I shopped this to US agents (I decided on a Canadian agent) I was prepared to sell the city as Fargo, ND.
My work in progress is set in Alberta, and a fair bit of it takes place in an evacuated Calgary, although again, I’m never specific about it. It could just as well be Denver.
I see many internationally successful books set in Rome, Paris and London. Many others set in little towns in Europe or Asia. When will we see a blockbuster see in Edmonton, or Winnipeg, or, I don’t know, Flin Flon?
What are some of your favorite “city stories”?