The presentation was filled with interesting examples about how stories evolve. Many of the examples were applicable to any time and any setting, not just international or historical settings.
Joyce Yarrow, award-winning author of Zahara and the Lost Books of Light, shared pictures to illustrate how she chose Spain as a setting. She even sang a song in Spanish to add to the flavor. She emphasized that theme and settings should be interlocked for greatest impact.
USA Today best-selling author Marty Wingate talked about how she “violated” some of the cozy requirements in her Potting Shed mysteries by not always confining her stories to a local village but traveling to cities and out of country. The reason she chose England as her main location? She likes England!
Both authors talked about the extensive research they do to get culture, language and settings just right, although they also discussed where they diverge from reality and why. They agreed that “flavor” can be more important and less confusing to a reader than excessive details. Still, they both use a variety of resources to ensure they are accurate with as many details as possible.
Finally, Joyce pointed out that who you choose to write about creates a “filter.” Being 100 percent objective isn’t necessarily a realistic goal.