As a writer I have the choice of using a real place in my stories or making up a fictional one. But what is a writer to do when the real place they are using undergoes BIG renovations?
When I started Love in the Time of Zombies in 2011 in my real hometown of Brentwood, California we were in the middle of the Recession and our town was like a frozen slice of time with roads to nowhere and bridges and overcrossings half-done. There were several subdivisions with lights and plumbing but no houses or half-completed houses with no utilities. It seemed the perfect place to put my zombie apocalypse.
Unfortunately, the book took 4 years to complete and publish. So I was left with a choice; leave it as is and have local people know our town didn’t look like that anymore with the recent booms in building and tax funds to finish the roads or change it as the town changed. Both were decisions that would mean making changes or not making changes and having people know that I hadn’t made the choices. What to do?
I loved the idea of a town in the middle of changing and forever stuck. So I went with writing it as if it was always 2011 in our town and putting an Author’s Note in the book. I think it was the right choice, but the reader has the final say, as usual!!
Do you like to find real places and locations in the books you read? What if they don’t match up exactly?
Jill James, writer of romance
Book 2, The Zombie Hunter’s Wife is now available to preorder!