It's one of the reasons I chose to set Whisper Falls in North Carolina. I'd lived there twenty-five years. I know this place. The little nuances and Raleigh-isms just flow. Writing my first published novel was hard enough without being tripped up over getting the location correct.
My summer vacation has really brought this home. I'm spending a week in Rotterdam, Netherlands while my daughter attends a conference. I'm not planning to do anything except revise two sequels and enjoy "living" here.
I don't have any plans to set a book in Rotterdam, but I am noticing little details that are completely different from the life I have in the US. Things like:
- supermarkets are not open on Sundays (which I wish I had known on Saturday)
- most stores of any kind do not open until around noon on Monday
- nothing is air-conditioned--including some big, expensive hotels
- bicycles are almost as numerous as cars; cyclists are more aggressive toward pedestrians
- there are more ethnically-diverse couples
- parents hold hands with their children into their tweens
- people like to eat outside at sidewalk cafes
- everybody speaks decent (or better) English
In fact, it's just easier to stick with North Carolina. For now.