I’m a New Yorker and proud of it. An Upstate New Yorker. More specifically a native Western New Yorker. These delineations are important as being from Upstate is much different than being from downstate, i.e., New York City. For the many people who don’t realize that New York is much more than the city, I set my books in Upstate New York with its small villages of 2,000 or so, dairy farms, orchards, and mountains. Let’s take a tour.
LOVE UNDERCOVER is set in the fictional village of Genesee in Wyoming County, where I grew up. The county is largely rural, dotted with small villages, ranging in size from Gainesville (pop. 304) to Perry (pop. 3,945). Much of the area is wooded, used for lumber. Maple stands are tapped each spring to make maple syrup. Let me insert here that I was once runner up Wyoming County Maple Princess. Agriculture is mostly small family dairy farms — I’ll insert here that there are more cows than people in the county — or hobby farms for people who work in Buffalo or Batavia. Old no-longer-harvested apple orchards — some planted by Johnny Appleseed, according to stories my father-in-law told — are all that are left of a once-thriving industry. The area is well known for outdoor sports, being an excellent area for fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling.
MANDY AND THE MAYOR is set in Whitmore Mills, another fictional small village in the scenic Adirondack Mountains. Check them out here: http://www.orda.org/newsite/index.php. The Adirondacks are home to Lake Placid, the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics (http://www.orda.org/newsite/index.php).
My first book, BACHELOR FATHER, and my most recent book, CANDY KISSES, are both set in Albany. If you’ve read my books’ cover flap copy, you know I now live south of Albany in 170-year-old farmhouse that we are continually renovating. We also currently have 12 of the cutest little piglets.
But I digress. Although, it’s the capital of one of the largest states, Albany has a population of less than 100,000. I have several writer friends from large metropolitan areas who laugh when I refer to going in to Albany as going to the city. Here’s an introduction from the Albany County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, http://www.albany.org/
How important is a book’s setting to you? Do you notice where the story is taking place or it is just background?