As an author, we do not have to situate our stories in Paris, France or Zimbabwa, South Africa or Australia or England or any place geographically across the globe from us. Unless we want to. So, if your heart is leading you to write about your birthplace, go for it!
We can sit our series in New Jersey. Like Janet Evanovich, with her Stephanie Plum collection. The first, One for the Money, was recently made into a movie. I loved it. And New Jersey had an "exotic" style to me as I am a Deep South gal.
Even my fanatical obsession with GCB, although set in my backyard, still had an otherworldly feel to it. It showed me how the richer Dallas folks lived. And I ate it up!
Or, a la Nora Roberts, we can place our readers smack-dab in a forest fire like her mainstream Chasing Fire or into the arena of dog trainers via The Search. I embrace her selection of unique jobs. Who knows? When we pen our next novel, we may encourage an undecided college graduate to go after the career of his dreams. Or we could influence a high school senior in her choice of two colleges, going more with her heart.
I like the rare and interesting. I'm a lifelong student at my core, so I love researching, finding info about an obscure fact, investigating the unknown or unusual.
Therefore, I, for one, will probably never write about a doctor or lawyer hero as that has been overdone in the romance industry, IMO. Just like I won't put a half-naked man on my covers, either. I prefer the Monet-like landscapes or Manga sketches, the starker comic-book drawings with the harsh black outlining.
That's my preference. For my books. It is a very individual choice.
But remember, just because a city/state or job seems "commonplace" to you, it may be exotic and unique to millions of others.
Go with your instincts.
Denise Barker, author + freelance copy editor
Good Ole Boys, a love story
A Copyediting Checklist for Novelists