Whether it's the top of the Empire State Building, a cafe in Paris, or a donut shop in Trention, New Jersey, I grow deliriously, unreasonably excited when I'm reading a book and I come across a place I've been to.
It's not that I object to made-up settings. In fact, every book I've written has been set in a fictional location loosely based on a town I'm familiar with. Always in New Jersey, because then I can be sure I won't say something that sounds just plain wrong to the people who live there.
Since my husband semi-retired we've been making up for lost time, traveling as much as we can. Combine that with writer's conferences in various parts of the country, and you could say I get around. But why do I get almost more excited about seeing a place I've visited mentioned in a book than I do when I'm actually there?
"Look! Look! They're eating at the Dune Dog Cafe in Jupiter, Florida!"
"How about this...they found a body right next to that roadside stand on the shore in Rhode Island where we stopped for a lobster bake!"
Sure, I get a thrill when a character is looking at the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, or when they're driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. But I get ever so much more enthusiastic when I recognize a more obscure landmark.
"Look! She's doing the ghost walk in Roswell, Georgia!"
"Hey! They're kayaking in John Pennekamp State Park in the Florida Keys!"
I realized the extent of my obsession a few weeks ago while reading a book set in Minnesota, where I've never been except to change planes. By the time I finished reading I was happy enough that the hero and heroine worked out their differences to live happily ever after. But I was really frustrated because I hadn't visited all the neat places where they went on their dates.
Now I'm not just wallowing in the joys of having been somewhere. Now I'm adding to the list of places I need to visit!
Please, please, tell me I'm not the only one with this quirky way of thinking!