It’s Read Around the Rainbow Time! I missed last month, but we do the RAtR posts on the last Friday of every month. The last Friday of June just happens to be Midsummer Eve, which is a big thing in Sweden. Only Christmas beats it 😄
But we’re not here to talk about pickled herring, dancing around the maypole, or drinking nubbe (shot of vodka). This month’s question is:
Do you set your books in the place you live or have lived in?
One of the first stories I ever wrote (long since pulled), I wrote set in Sweden, and it was about a person who just had come out of prison after having served time. In retrospect, I realise it was a newbie mistake, but I used the Swedish legal system, and he’d served the time he would’ve been sentenced to in Sweden.
This was such a long time ago. I’d just dipped my toe in writing, and an, at the time, Goodreads M/M Romance Group moderator read it. That alone made me nervous, but he went about and tore it to shreds. Completely. Had it happened now, I’d shrugged and moved on, but back then, it hurt, especially since, in my world, I wasn’t wrong. Just because he lives in a big country with a fucked up legal system doesn’t mean he’s right – see, still upset LOL.
Since that day, I’ve been avoiding setting stories in Sweden and/or using Swedish rules and laws and so on.
That doesn’t mean I don’t set the stories in Sweden in my mind, I do. It’s my climate, my nature, and when I picture my main character walking down a street, it’s a street where the cars drive on the right side, the painted lines on the street are white, and the lampposts are grey and so on.
Black Bird takes place in the city I grew up in. They walk the streets I used to walk, the river goes through town, the wind blows in from the sea, Nash lives in an apartment where my friend used to live, Arlo lives in a house where my sister used to live, and so on. I translate the names of the places, like Nash’s apartment, which is on Tradesman Street. That street is called Köpmansgatan in reality, which translates into Trademan Street.
So short answer: No, reading them, you won’t be able to tell they’re set in a city I’ve lived or in the woods where I live now.
Real answer: Yup, almost all of them have something picked from somewhere I used to live, but I won’t tell you that, and the names are translated so they will be easier for you to consume.
In the Up North stories, I borrow things from when I lived in the north of Sweden. In most other stories, there is something from Falkenberg, where I grew up, and in Keep it Down! which will be released on July 9th, Eason lives in my old apartment. He has a broken leg, I had a broken foot, living on the third floor without a lift. Good times 😆
I used to live close to that white church. I walked past it every day when I walked the dogs.