No criticism against them, but two U.S. states that are vital to the U.S. economy and lifestyle are Kansas and Iowa—both flat and uninspiring scenically.
Driving through those states one might wonder, “What could a writer find here for the setting in a book?” And yet, 23 books have been set in Kansas, the iconic “Wizard of Oz” by Frank Baum, and “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote being two of them. The movie “Wizard of Oz” was released in 1939, and two quotes from the movie are still common: “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” and “There’s no place like home.”
The Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers musical “State Fair” was set in Iowa, and 21 books have been set there including “The Bridges of Madison County,” by James Walter.
Just on Goodreads, there are 564 books set in Texas. So my most recent cozy mysteries are up against steep competition when it comes to being noticed among all the other contenders. Hmm…perhaps I should have set them in Iowa!
The point I’m attempting to make, however, is that excuses are easy to make. I’ve heard so many writers say, “I live in a boring state,” or “I need inspiration. Nothing ever happens here.” Things happen everywhere—even in Kansas, even in Iowa, even wherever you live. The important element in any book doesn’t come from where the author lives or where the book is set—it’s what happens in the author’s mind, and inspiration from God.
Mason, Texas, population around 4,000 is the setting for my last two books. It’s a small town. Not a lot happens there. I’ve been through Mason, I’ve stopped in Mason for gas and snacks—even reported on a water board meeting there when I was working on a newspaper—but I’ve never lived there. But because my characters live there—so much has happened in Mason that I’m working on my third book set there. It’s a happening place—even if much of what happens is in my head.
People are pretty much alike everywhere, although I like to think of Texas, where we bless everyone’s heart, of having folks as unique as the changing landscape.
God is also the same everywhere. And wherever you live, He loves you. And wherever you live, He can give you inspiration if you’re a writer. Boring is not an option with God.