My cousin lives in a beautiful French village much like this one. I think it would be wonderful to create characters and write a series of books about the people who live, love and work there. I would create farmers and shopkeepers and crazy artists and marvelous cooks and wayward children and good children and strange pets for them.
I would write about my characters in Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Every week my characters would visit a festival in a nearby village. Occasionally a visitor or two would work their way into the plot. Some may decide to settle in my village. Every time a new person moves into my village they would struggle to find their place in the social structure, which would upset the current hierarchy and create even more plot lines.
I would name the streets and the people and the mountains and even the colors of the buildings. I would even be in charge of the weather. My readers would know what to expect. Like both Maeve Binchy and Jan Karon I would write about my world again and again.
But that is not what I do. My writing partner Margaret and I write about two cousins of the same age whose lives span nearly the entire twentieth century. One is a competent professional woman with children before the term even existed. But what about the other one? Well, much of the time both the readers and I are trying to figure out what she is doing. Her name is Moira and she experiences WWII in England and the Cold War in America. I am NOT in charge of Moira. She is in charge of me and, unfortunately, she likes to tell me what to write at two o’clock in the morning.