I used to think that the ultimate goal for a writer (aside from winning the Pulitzer prize for writing or something similiar!) would be to set each book in a different place in the world. The exotic setting would surely justify a tax-deductible stay of a undetermined length of time to research the town or city and the surrounding environs. It would be perfectly acceptable, I reasoned, to linger for a while to absorb the local culture, the charming dialect, and those little details of shops and cafes, bookstores and educational establishments that would give the final work that ring of authenticity.
I still drift into fantasy on occasion and project myself (and laptop) to a tropical beach or quaint European village. I have visited both and have the photos to prove it but, alas, did not think to make notes that would be suitable for novel use. It could also be said that some locations have been used, if not to excess, then rather a lot. I'm thinking of Paris or London. Of course, those two locations have so many unknown streets or hidden shops that could provide a unique perspective. The last time I was in Paris, it was the summer of the great heatwave in which many people died. The train tracks were even melting, or so we were told at the Metro station when we tried to book a ticket to Versailles. Probably not the Paris people like to read about.
And so, Jaswinder Pandher (of the Jaswinder Mystery Series) lives in Surrey, British Columbia and my two dystopian novels take place in the Pacific Northwest. These are the areas I am most familiar with. But, sometimes, it is interesting to write about something that is completely unfamiliar to me and perhaps to many of you. That is where the research comes in. Tell me, how much do you know about camelids?
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