I live in a small town in a remote part of West Wales UK, where sheep greatly out number the human inhabitants. There are remote farms in the hills, and a near by village is describes as 'Deliverance' without the banjos. I'd rather write about Louisiana but as I've never been there, probably not a good idea. I just love James Lee Burke and Tammy Hoag. Could a novel set here interest readers. I love novels with a strong sense of place.

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I've been told by more than one agent that a rural setting is--all else held equal--a tougher sell than a sexy metropolitan locale, such as NY or Paris or DC or London. But the prejudice against nowheresvilles varies by genre, and I think it's true you can set a novel anywhere so long as you nail the setting. If you go with home, then be damn sure we smell the sheep dip!
I'm setting my contemporary mystery series in rural Illinois where I live. Small towns are full of family secrets, and there are so many ways to die on a farm....
Besides, there's a lot happening in rural areas now, with huge Latino immigrant populations arriving to work farm operations, presenting many plot possibilities.
I've written historicals, too - set in Ireland, Scotland, France and Crusader Palestine. Lots of library work and travel guides!
That's true a friend of mine who is a farmer's wife was telling me about just how dangerous farming is, and unfortunately there is a lot of depression and suicides in the farming community. We have quite a few eastern Europeans moving into the area, a lot of them work at the slaughter house in a near by town/village and there are definite problems with the locals. I love historical, and I have thought of writing something set in Roman Wales, but Lindsey Davis is so good. This site is encouraging me to get to it.
I've had poetry and articles published, but had no luck with longer fiction. This site is encouraging me to try again.
What??!! You live near to a slaughterhouse and wonder if you can set an interesting mystery in your locale??

Are ye daft, woman? I'd kill for a handy slaughterhouse.

Thank God it is about fifteen miles away. The village where it is located has a reputation for violence 2nd to none in Wales and when the Polish workers and locals kick off on a Friday night...it gets quite lively.
Thanks to this site I'm looking at my area with new eyes. I thought it was boring but nice. Maybe I'm wrong.
I set seven books an a bunch of short stories in the area around Hickory, NC, just because I knew it well. But here's the kicker. I couldn't recognize what was interesting and unusual about the place until I moved to Massachusetts. That's when I figured out the parts that would be interesting to include in my writing.

It was a convoluted way for me to follow the old saw: Write what you know.
This thread is having much the same effect as your move to Massachusetts. I've been looking more closely at my locality. The local history is very rich. This area was the Welsh Wild West in the 18th and 19th century. The drovers drove cattle the 180 miles to London. They were hard violent men and there was a lot of double dealing, theft and murder along the way. Not mention our very own mad squire. I've also been looking into some local rumours of people smuggling on some of the remoter parts of our coast line, among other things. If nothing else this site has made me appreciate my own area.
There's nothing more compelling for a reader than discovering (or escaping to) a small town they've never been to before. Add a crime scenario to that and you'll have a page turner. For instance...What if the sheep start disappearing? Evidence suggests it's theft. Lost tourists are passing through town a few days before the animals go missing, and get stranded due to car trouble. One of them has a questionable alibi during the sheep theft. Since you mentioned the sheep greatly out number the human inhabitants, sounds like there's a lot of money there. Maybe the town's survival relies on the revenue from the sheep? Next, a tourist shows up murdered in a remote foggy pasture, surrounded by a flock of sheep...Anyway, if your tourists were the main characters, you could describe the town fresh through their perspective, just the way you remembered it when you first moved there, then juxtapose those observations with the town folk, as both sides try to solve the crime...?
Some time ago I heard the phrase "write what you know", and I have it posted all over my writing space. Every time I try to go out of the realm without doing a lot of research, I find myself at a loss for words. It sounds to me like you live in a place where stories abound. Listen to the walls.
Hi, Eve,
I was once told nobody would be interested in a novel set in Banbury, Oxfordshire, near where I live. They might have been right, so I set my novels in and around London (used to live there) and had my characters travel a bit. A way round your dilemma might be to have your main character start off in a city and go to wherever you live, and set the action there - sort of 'Deliverance Takes an Away-Day'.
Good luck!
Well Cardiff is an all day trip...Swansea is nearer...but I don't like Swansea. We've certainly got two near by villages which are very deliverance.
Don't forget, you can also base a fictional town on someplace real, or combine a couple to suit your purposes. Add or remove locations as you wish. Fictionalizing a real place can give you a lot of freedom to create scenes as you wish, while still allowing you the security of a place you know to fall back on.


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