The Big Reveal

Welcome to the Big Reveal

I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them.


Do you prefer writing with real or imaginary settings?
What about reading?

Theresa Paulo, Un-Agented Author
Hmm…Good question. I like working with both actually. I wrote a book where the main character travels back to 1925. I loved the research and recreating a world I’ve read so much about. I also love imaginary settings because there are no restrictions. You create the setting and you can do with it whatever you’d like. I don’t really have a preference when it comes to reading, as long as it’s done right. A book with a setting I absolutely loved would definitely be The Beautiful Creatures series. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl bring the South to life and I always find myself wanting to jump into the pages.

Mindi Scott, Published Author
Definitely real for writing and for reading. My brain just doesn’t really do as well with the imaginary. The setting in Jenny Han’s This Summer I Turned Pretty reminded me so much of the town where I spent my summers growing up. I loved getting to revisit while reading the book!

Steph Campbell, Published Author
I am a hardcore contemporary/realistic fiction junkie. I very seldom read paranormal or any other fantasy genre books and have only written one book that incorporated any type of imaginary elements. (I have shelved the book.)

Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
I was a theater major and fell in love with Tennessee Williams. I don’t write about the south, but I love reading about it. I set almost all my books in Chicago as a bit of a John Hughes type homage to my cool town.

Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
Real, definitely real, to all questions. There’s something I really appreciate about having to work in the realm of what already exists. Sure, you can make your fantasy world sound beautiful; the thing can be made entirely out of diamonds and fairy dust. But it’s when authors can transport me to real, existing cities or towns with gorgeous sensory images that my mind is blown. If they invoke nostalgia for a place I’ve been, all the better.

It’s not YA, but I absolutely loved reading about Charleston in Pat Conroy’s SOUTH OF BROAD. I love when books are set in the south and heavy on description. It’s so unlike any other place and when you can bring out its majesty, or the vibe of New Orleans, for example… those are books I definitely seek out. And, of course, as a New Yorker, I love books set here, provided it’s not glaringly obvious the author’s never stepped foot in the city.

Jenny Morris, Agented Author
I love writing both. I found that with Already There I adored creating a real place that everyone would feel at home and want to go there. But I also have a book that I’m creating a complete new world and that is fantastic as well. The book that I LOVE the setting is The Chronicles of Narnia!

Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Agented Author
I love imaginary settings because I can set my imagination free. But I like to read books with real settings, too. I think the world building in Hunger Games was very strong. We didn’t only learn about what the places looked like but how everything worked there, like the politics, and relationships between social groups, etc. I also loved the Harry Potter series. I believe that everyone who reads one of those books gets a really good sense of how their world is like.

Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
I like to write whatever my muse tells me to write. I enjoy imaginary settings because you can wreak more havoc and get away with a lot more. Real is fun, because you truly get to look at the dynamics of what is happening/why it’s happening. Sometimes setting can play a huge role in the books. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I loved Sharon Creech’s Chasing Redbird. I loved the trail the MC was uncovering, the fact she was camping out on her own. Love, love, love it.

Do you have a preference over real or imaginary settings?

6 Responses

  1. Hey,

    I *love* the idea of asking interview questions that are out of the box…. when I was an official journalist 🙂 I always threw in some “weird” questions and *those* answers were *always* the best/most honest.

    Ps… this post sponsored, in part by the * 🙂

  2. This is such a great idea and I look forward to reading the responses. I love reading what others have to say about their writing experiences.

  3. Good question! I love both! I liked Monica’s answer about Hunger Games. That’s a perfect example of really strong world building. I loved the world building in the Divergent series too (maybe because I live in Chicago). Great question as always!

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