First a bit of good news: The September Sisters has been nominated as a YALSA "Best Book for Young Adults!" I'm so honored to be included on a list with so many other great books!!
And yesterday, The September Sisters was featured in The Phildelphia Daily News. Click here to read the article. It was very exciting to be in a paper from my hometown, and talking with the reporter about my childhood near Philadelphia made me remember how much I enjoyed writing the book and letting Abby grow up in a similar place to where I did.
The reporter actually was very curious to know why I chose to set the book near Philadelphia even though I'd already moved to Arizona when I wrote it. I had a hard time answering that question, but if you want to see what I came up with, there's a bit about that in the article!
Then it occurred to me that I've been switching back and forth for setting -- every other book I write is alternately set in Philadelphia or Arizona. For example, my next book, THE LIFE OF GLASS, is set in Arizona. Then my third book, THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS, is set in a fake suburb of Philadelphia. And the book I'm working on now, is very, very crucially set in the desert of Arizona.
But I love the way setting can mean so many things to a book -- in my Philadelphia set books snow and cold weather help shape the story, and conversely, in my Arizona set books heat and dry air, monsoon storms, scorpions, and mountains become integral to the story. I can't imagine The September Sisters without Abby and Tommy sledding down a snowy hill or holding hands in the snow, and in The Life of Glass, Melissa and her best friend Ryan have a habit of riding their bikes in a desert wash, which becomes integral to the book.
And yet, I don't feel like I chose these settings. I feel like they flowed sort of naturally from the characters and the situations I dreamed up. I'm curious, for you other writers out there: how do you choose your settings? Or like me, do you feel they choose you?