It’s hard working out where to set a novel. Especially if you’re hoping to have more than just one, it needs to be sustainable. I explained last time about how I’d been originally planning somewhere entirely fictional but was persuaded to choose a real location. I chose Sheffield because…
I felt very strongly that I wanted my novel to be set in a northern town – I consider myself to be a Yorkshire lass still, despite leaving when I was ten and I wanted my characters to be able to explore these four glorious counties. There’s just something about a northern town – friendlier and hardier than the south, but a little bit softer than the full-on-north.
It has canals and factories
Bodies of water and of people… limitless possibilities. If you’re going to murder more than one person you need it to have many body-disposal opportunities!
It’s close enough to me to be able to explore on daytrips
I really want to make sure my version of the city is as close to reality as possible. I didn’t want to base the novel in my home city because to be quite frank, it just doesn’t offer the same possibilities as it’s still developing in terms of culture. But it needed to be close enough so that I could explore and really make sure that Vida’s Sheffield is as close to reality as possible. Plus it’s a great opportunity for some localised shopping trips!
It’s got a choice of good universities
My central character, Dr Vida Henrikson is a lecturer and so it was important that she had a good university to base herself at. Sheffield has two!
It offers a covers a wide range of social strata, educational backgrounds, ethnicities and income brackets
A bit like murder locations… to have believeable crime, you need people. And the more people the better. The more different the people the better still. Different strokes for different folks and all that but it’s differences and similarities that really make the crime-world go round and Sheffield has it all.
Where would you set your novel if you had the choice of the world?