Today I am excited to host contemporary fiction author Ginger Solomon about one of my greatest conundrums–fictional or real setting.
So Ginger, tell us why we need to research the setting if it’s not a real place?
What? Why would an author need to research a fictional setting? I mean it’s made up, right?
Well, yes. And no.
While the setting in my recent release, Second Choice, is fictional, it is also as real to life as I could make it. There is no country with the name Belikara. I combined several foreign words to make the name of the country – Bel is white in Croatian, Kara is land in Turkish. Add a few letters here and there, and voila… Belikara.
When I started mentally plotting (I’m a pantser; it all takes place in my head.) One Choice, book one in the Belikarian Weddings Series, I had planned to place my fictional country on the border of Turkey. When I started writing, I realized the logistics of placing a country there could be problematic, so I chose a little known island in the Aegean Sea.
Lemnos is actually a Greek island, and when I refer to the mainland throughout Second Choice, I am referring to portions of the mainland of Greece. But I couldn’t say that because I changed things on my island. I mean there’s a palace, which is the main home of the king. And Greece doesn’t have a monarchy. But the island worked for my purposes, and so I used it. J
So I researched. What kind of plants grow there? What’s the weather like? How much rain do they receive? I wanted my story to be accurate to the location, if not to Lemnos itself.
I also researched foods that would be eaten in that part of the world. You’ll note when you read this series that many of the foods mentioned are Greek in nature, though a few are Turkish. The island IS in between Greece and Turkey.
One thing I did want to stay true to is the tradition of women keeping their hair covered. While in One Choice, my heroine, Cahri wears hats—she’s American by birth—Princess Anaya wears a head covering, similar to what you would see Muslim women wear. Despite this concession to the region, Belikaria is a Christian nation and has been for many years.
And so, a country was born.
Question for readers: If you use fictional countries (or states or cities), how do you research your location?
Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.
About “Second Choice”:
Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.
Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.
But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.