Or to put this question another way – would you ever set a story somewhere you’ve never been?
I’ve met authors who do and they don’t seem to have a problem. They feel they can get enough of a feeling for a place through reading about it, or through film and television.
But for me that isn’t enough.
You see there’s more about a country than can be gleaned from the web – every place ‘feels’ different, smells different, and it’s these small things that bring a place to life, the telling details, the rats in the market place, the smell of spice on the old man’s fingers, squabbling gulls on the harbourside.
So you’ll find that most of my stories are set in places I’ve visited.
But not always.
Sometimes it’s simply not possible to visit the place you want to write about. And in these cases decent research is vital. I once read a story a friend of mine had set on the Moon. He made me believe he had flown through space and walked on that lunar surface, even though I know he hasn’t! But it was those telling details that convinced me.
So have you ever set a story somewhere you’ve never been?