Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go...


When I moved back to Virginia, a lot of people asked me if Lydia McKenzie, the sleuth in my books POSED FOR MURDER and DEAD IN THE WATER, was going to move to Virginia, too. They had forgotten something important, though. Lydia is not me. Lydia loves New York down to her bones. She is single and still hasn’t cracked the art world. She would never in a million years pick up and move. And writing about her in my old neighborhood gives me a reason to keep one foot back in the old hood, and keep visiting friends to keep my knowledge of Brooklyn current.

So where else would I like to set a story besides Williamsburg, Brooklyn? I’m a little uncomfortable with writing about somewhere I’ve never been. As the daughter of a historian, I’m hesitant to dabble in another time period (I think I’m too nervous about getting something wrong). Luckily, I’ve done quite a bit of traveling in the United States and Europe. I’ve also lived in England, Paris, the south of France, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, New York, the Berkshires and Virginia—so I have more than a few compelling places to set a story.

The world of television and film is another interesting setting that I would like to write about. I wrote and directed low-budget indie films in my twenties, and the work was both grueling and exciting. We would work long hours to get a project done, without knowing if anyone would ever see the end product. We often begged and borrowed our locations and equipment, and no one was paid very much (if at all). I loved the teamwork and the energy on the set. But after awhile, I got tired of having to rely on others to get everything finished. That’s when I knew I wanted to write more than direct. Now I have only myself to blame when I’m behind schedule.

Perhaps someday I’ll set a book in Virginia or write about life on the set, or even invent a whole new place. It’s so fun to daydream about, and a great excuse to do some more traveling.

And speaking of terrific settings and exciting books, our own Michael Wiley's book Bad Kitty Lounge launches on March 2. Congrats Michael!

6 comments:

Shane Gericke said...

TV and film would be a fascinating area to write about, Meredith. The inner workings/behind the scenes stuff interests me no end.

Supriya said...

I've set my first novel in Mumbai, India, and am at work on my second, which is set in Cairo. Now if only I can expense the research...

Terry said...

Oh, do Paris. The French are always tres chic.

I've heard Paris in the
springtime isn't really the best time to be there though. I think June was mentioned. N'est ce pas?

Meredith Cole said...

A great suggestion, Terry. I'd love to go back to Paris... And I hope you find a way to expense the research, Supriya! I'd love to go to Egypt, too.

Sophie Littlefield said...

I get so stuck on the thought that my character isn't me. It's hard for me to remember, no matter which character I'm writing. That said, I don't have much trouble moving them around in my head. Me-Stella is going to leave Missouri one of these days....and Me-Hailey (my YA character) gets the much-longed-for opportunity to leave her home town in the first book. I think it reflects my own wish to get out and see the world.

Michael Wiley said...

My vote is for Paris, too, Meredith. And you can count all that restaurant time as research.