In novels, the importance of location varies all over the place. Sometimes, it’s just some nondescript neighborhood. Other times, it’s a major “character” (think Middle Earth or Avatar).
Also important, location constrains and/or focuses the storyline. When looking for a setting for Conflict, the first book in the Crossover Series, I was interested in a location that could provide, at least temporarily, safety for my characters. And for their horses.
(Horses? My characters are sent back to 11th century, pre-contact North America. And take horse along with them.)
Other factors in choosing a setting would be setting up the other books in the series and to provide at least some food.
- So my constraints in location are:
2. Control the horses
3. Provide later ease in travel (setting up the subsequent books)
4. Food supply (fish)
So I searched using Google Earth.
I started out up near the Great Lakes, looking for terrain that had valleys, yet was close enough to navigable waterways. Really didn’t find anything.
Somehow, and I can’t remember how, I started looking at coastal waterways. And I found myself “traveling” up the Susquehanna River. When I saw the following image, I knew I found a home for my characters:
It has it all:
1. Defensive hills (actually, they’re geological folds)
2. A valley to hold the horses (actually, two valleys, one for each stallion)
3. A route (with a few rapids) to the ocean
And the Susquehanna is convenient, as my niece lives nearby. So, I visited and took a canoe trip down the river:
Notice the hills. They’re really the ends of those geological folds. I have no idea of how the Susquehanna cut through them…but I wouldn’t have wanted to be around when it did!
Very Shallow. Here’s my wife and niece (you may have to squint to see them) navigating through the broken bones of the geological folds that still remain in the river.
And that’s how the Susquehanna became the setting for my first book.
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The first book in the Crossover Series, Conflict, remains free as an eBook at:
The second book, Contact, will be out on July 16th!
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