I think this explains why I personally enjoy reading and writing about people, places, and events outside the US and where I live. For me, it’s easier to go to those places in mind and get into the mode of world building.
Originally posted on Writing Historical Novels:
People used to tell young writers to write what they know but I am certain they should write what they long for, because the most important element in any novel is longing. I have written about places and times where I long to be. And that is why my second address will always be Wood Street, Cripplegate Ward, London, 1593. Turn up from St. Paul’s toward the city gates.
I live in a fabulous place. I was born in New York City and have lived here all my life and I adore its history, especially the years around 1880-1920. At least once a year I read another novel about my city. Writer friends travel from all over America to come here and research their New York historical novels. I have never written one. It would cost me far less than a cup of gourmet coffee to travel anywhere in the city to research and what do I do? Spend a fortune on travelling to England or Europe and endure jet lag for my novels. Why? I don’t know.
I love New York City. I can walk the side streets with their town houses and imagine people going up and down the steps. I can run up the steps and press my nose against the glass door to look inside. Yet… not one novel so far.