What’s Wrong With Huntly?

Indeed, you may ask. What is wrong with Huntly? Or more importantly, just who/what is Huntly?
Huntly is a small, rural town in New Zealand, just outside of Hamilton. Its claim to fame is a large power station and a spoof song that was famous on student radio back in the 90’s. The song was: What’s Wrong With Huntly? So why am I talking about this? Well, good point. I’m talking about it because of hearing Scotland being nixed as a location for Modern Heat (see Lucy King’s blog), I thought, what’s wrong with Scotland?

Obviously Huntly, although I’m sure people like living there, is not going to be an appropriate place to set a Modern Heat story. It’s small and rural for a start. But Scotland? Too cold and wet apparently. But then so is London and yet you can clearly set a story in London. So, given that the guidelines are so vague, how do you know what’s a good location for your story and what isn’t? I think the key for this is fantasy. These books are fantasies, grim-reality free zones. Still not sure why this excludes poor old Scotland but maybe Scotland is too grim-reality.
Also ‘urban’ is another one of the buzz-words that they give you in the guidelines. Which means a city. So really, what they want is a big city that you can fantasise about. Like LA, New York, Paris, Sydney, Auckland (hahaha!). No small towns, no villages, no remote settlements. Not Modern Heat enough – though it works for traditional Modern/Presents stories.

But what if you have never been to any of those cities? Well fear not. If you read a Modern Heat carefully, you can see that there isn’t that much in the way of location detail. So all you need to do is a bit of internet research (Google Earth folks!) and you can get away with much. Because as we all know, the location is just a bit of tinsel on the tree. The main attraction is the tree itself – or the conflict.

Anyone got a favourite city they would like to see in a Modern Heat story? Personally, I’d like to see one set in Rome. I loved Rome…

14 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Huntly?”

  1. Hurray for Scotland (well done, Lucy). We had three hot days last summer – perhaps that swung the balance. (Expecting more blizzards today, but that’s another story).

    Personally, I like small towns – but perhaps Modern Heat need more scope for glamour?

  2. Venice. I was lucky enough to go when I was about 7 or 8. Old enough to remember but not to appreciate anything about it.

    Fight your case for Huntly Jackie! The people of Huntly need you.

  3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with small towns – lots of categories are focused on small towns. But not for Modern Heat. At least, the whole city feel is supposed to be part of the story – acccording to the guidelines! 🙂

    Jo, you’re right. Huntly is just crying out for a story. In the shadow of the power station, with the mighty Waikato river on one side and State Highway 1 on the other, one man wants to divert the river to bring power to the people. One hitch, the one woman who owns the paddock the river will soon run through…
    Hmmmm, potential? Sorry but give me Venice any day!

  4. Well done Lucy 🙂

    I love Venice too. I’m getting a bit tired of London as my set (which probably means I’m tired of life or something!) so have been branching out a bit. I think the fantasy element is key.

  5. Yay – am sooooooo glad Scotland made it through! I actually wish MH would widen the scope with settings, but I’m probably dreaming 🙂

    I’d like a story set in Queenstown, NZ – not really urban but definitely appealing 🙂

  6. Apparently it’s all about ‘balance’. Dunno if Scotland could carry a whole story – my characters are only going to be there for a chapter or two I think. Otherwise it’s hip, urban London all the way.

    I’d love to set a story my town – in a sherry winery maybe!

  7. Poor Scotland. A chapter but not a whole story… In that case there’s no hope for Huntly. A one sentence town. 🙂 Lorraine, I wonder if Huntly in Scotland is the equivalent of Huntly here?

    Rach, I reckon Queenstown could be a good place actually. You could make it sound a lot bigger than it is, and a lot of non-NZer’s have actually heard of it!

  8. Re Huntly – Lucy mentioned that your Huntly is actually named after our Huntly.
    I think the Scottish one is even smaller than yours though – I stayed nearby when we were house-hunting and it’s basically a large distillery with a small town attached.
    Nice countryside but not remotely MH!
    Do you think Cannes is glamorous enough for MH? I mean it is glamourous but it’s not a city…

  9. You know, I have a novella out in November in the Uk set in… Scotland! Ok, so its Edinburgh and both H and h are Johnny Foreigners but really, I think you can get away with just about anywhere – its all in the vibe.
    The one out in June is in Verona for the first bit – gotta live Italy!!!!

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