State of Misery (Brian Katcher)

They say that when Stephen King was ready to write his third novel, he was ready to set it somewhere other than Maine. So his publisher sent him to Colorado, where he wrote The Shining.

My publisher does not send me anywhere. Therefore, most of my books are set in my home state of Missouri. In Playing With Matches, I based the fictional setting of St. Christopher on my hometown of St. Peters (suburb of St. Louis).

So why not just use the real name of the town? Because I like to play God. If I want to move a few streets or set up imaginary businesses, I can do that.

In Almost Perfect, the town of Baylor was based on my current city of Centralia. Though honestly, it's not difficult to create a small Missouri town.

Everyone Dies in the End takes place at my alma mater, the University of Missouri, Columbia. Also, the result of reading entirely too much Lovecraft in college.

When I signed the contract for The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, my editor told me it was going to take place in Seattle. When I asked why, she replied 'Because it's not Missouri.' Fortunately, almost all the book takes place in an imaginary convention center, so it required little research.

My last book, Deacon Locke Went to Prom, took place in south Missouri, or as they like to call it, Arkansas.

I write contemporary fiction, so I'm not forced to create worlds. On the other hand, I don't get to create worlds.

My newest book is really stretching my talents: it takes place in Kansas.


  1. I live in Maine and make up fictional towns, although it's nor really necessary. Consider the following places, all real Maine hamlets. Agmemticus Station, Barnjum, Misery Gore, Chops Crossroad (imagine the possibilities), Deep Cut (ibid), Hasty Corner, Mariaville (good place for a windy tale), Wytopitloc.

  2. I love to mix fictional with real. I'm working on a mystery now set in the town of Southold on Long Island, in which I plucked a fictional village called Pequot Point because I want that small-town, everyone's-all-up-in-each-other's-business feeling.

    I do this for two reasons. My YA novels deal with some really tough issues and I don't want towns, schools, or businesses feeling as if I'm blaming them for the tough scenes in my books. Secondly, I agree with you about playing God. I like being able to dictate certain details like where a street goes or where a lake exists.


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