Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Canadian Noir

From: Sandra Ruttan (
Date: 13 Apr 2007

Jason Paul Miller wrote: Do y'all prefer noir stories set in places you're familiar with or places you've never been? In other words how does the location of the crime story reflect upon your enjoyment of the writing style. I would say that writing style trumps location. If I like an author I'll go to Wyoming with them.....or Hamilton, but I'd like it more if they stayed in New York.


All I can say is I¹m tired of overused locations. It seems half the shows on TV are in NYC and the other half are in LA. Yawn. This is why I was a fan of Homicide: Life on the Streets. Fresh approach and fresh location. It was a double bonus.
The bottom line is, setting is constantly harped on as an essential component of the story. People talk about how Edinburgh is a character in the Rebus books, Baltimore for Lippman, etc. The reason those settings come alive in those books is that the authors have an attachment and knowledge of them. It is my opinion that taking an author who knows and has passion for Hamilton and then forcing them to move their story to Pittsburgh runs the risk of undermining the quality of the entire work. The fact that my first book was force relocated to the US has been the source of part of the only nasty review I got, and the reason for the one technical error I made that I know of, and it¹s a big part of the reason I never want to do that again. I don¹t mind setting work in the US if I choose to, but I don¹t see why I should have to, but I¹m just as happy to sell to a UK publisher if that¹s what will make the difference.
There are some authors I¹ll follow anywhere, such as Bruen, but if I¹m in a bookstore choosing between an assortment of Œnew to me¹ authors and the choice is between Phoenix or NYC or LA or Seattle that will be a factor in my decision. I¹m more likely to go home with Seattle or Phoenix. I think there are any number of authors setting stuff in LA and NYC in part because it will sell and they can be lazy on the setting because people already have strong mental images of those cities.
It also plays a role in choosing ARCs. I took African Psycho because it intrigued me, and I knew it would be something fresh. Meanwhile, I¹m passing up on offers for ARCs by some NY Times bestsellers.

Just my 2 tarnished cents, which aren¹t worth as much, as they are Canadian.

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