I'm just finishing my Carl Hiaasen book and one thing that is top-shelf about his novels is the sense of place he brings to the story. I've only been to Florida twice, both times to Disneyworld, yet after reading one of his novels feel like I really know
Florida. An illusion, of course, but it's one I happily enjoy.
While I have stated before that I need a good plot and characters to keep me interested in a book, a sense of place might just come in third. I love to explore an unusual setting. It's something that draws me to historical fiction, or to stories set in exotic worlds. I try to do this with the desert, polygamist community of Blister Creek in The Righteous, and its why The Atlantic bought my story about Morocco.
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