In real estate the three most important things are: location, location, location. So what's real estate got to do with books?
Well, even for books location is important. Anne Rice set her vampires in New Orleans, True Blood takes place in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Gothic locations are in: Victorian London is a favorite for Gothic literature. They provide a perfect backdrop for vampires and other nocturnal creatures. The right setting creates the right mood for your book.
Paris lends itself for romance. The deep South can inspire lust and passion. New York is a favorite backdrop for gritty urban fantasy. How do other cities affect you? Would you rather read a vampire romance that takes place in a small town in the Midwest, or would a locale like Venice excite you more as a reader? Those are all questions, an author will ask herself when choosing where to set her next book.
Do you think Anne Rice's vampires would have had the same effect on the reader if the location had been a little beach town in Florida or a cold place like Alaska? Scouting out a location is paramount for movies, and it should be so for books as well. The right location can inspire a story and add nuances that would otherwise not have been possible.
My Scanguards Vampires series takes place in San Francisco: there's plenty of fog to set the right mood. But for my Out of Olympus (Greek God) series which is much more humorous, I decided on a town that for me has a much lighter feel, even though there's still something paranormal going on: Charleston, SC. We all have our favorites. Next time you read a book, look at the setting and ask yourself whether it could have been better or worse had the author chosen a different location.