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…