Louisiana: deep in the country but really only miles from a city steeped in despseration and devastation.
New York City: at the height of the Wall Street 90s, hedonism, neon, and flesh on every sidewalk.
Rome: in every church and every underground passage, the stones bleed history.
Nashville: the Athens of the South, eye-catching architecture and history-making locations spread across one of America's fastest growing cities.
There are certain genres that lend themselves to the location-driven plot--mystery and historical fiction being two of them. What would historical fiction be without a setting? The late 19th century is a time, but place your characters in Victorian London and you have a feeling, a vision, a set of social mores that enrich your plot.
Now, see if you can guess the books or writers whose locations I described above. The first person to get all four correct will receive a book by one of the authors! Spread the word...I bet you can figure these out if you think about it.
Questions for discussion: Do you like reading a book where location is a character (let's make it a given that it's done well)? Is location important to you in your writing? Would you rather read about real locations, or imaginary ones? How about writers--do you prefer to stay true to history and geography, or create your own setting?