Of course, we all know that a novel's setting can contribute to the overall 'feeling' of the book, and of course a book's success will depend on dozens of key factors: story, characters, pace and the general skill of the author, to name but a few.
However, I've been wondering – is the setting in itself a key factor in sales?
|St Ann's Place, Haddington (the basis for Hailesbank). |
Photo MJ Richardson, Wikimedia Commons
Further to that, does the fact that my East Lothian town is imaginary attract readers or discourage them?
Cornwall seems to have been – and remains – hugely popular. Is this because of writers such as Daphne du Maurier, Winston Graham and Rosamund Pilcher, or because the area has great beauty and a shadowy and romantic history?
Photo Waterborough, Wikimedia Commons
Is New York popular with British readers because we think it's 'cool'? Do American readers love the Highlands of Scotland because they see our misty glens as deeply romantic (and populated by 'men in kilts')?
Many of my readers tell me they love being able to visualise my locations (even though Hailesbank and Forgie are made up places, they sit in a recognisable context). My forthcoming book, Between Friends, is set in Edinburgh. Will this make it more successful than my Heartlands series, or less? If it's more successful, will it be because of the location, or because it's a better book? Or simply that my time has come? (I don't even want to think about the possibility of it being less successful...).
|Edinburgh on a cold winter's evening|
Photo Stablenode, Wikimedia Commons
Naturally, a great storyteller will spin a yarn set in a graveyard, or a cottage or a castle. But do some places have more appeal than others?
What do you think?
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