Above all, I like a good story. That’s what I like to read and it’s what I try to write. Setting or place is also important. I like to know where I am. It helps me visualize. If you’re an author whose hardback books have a map on the inside front and back covers, I’ll probably love you forever. Randy Wayne White and his Doc Ford series is a great example of this. Stephen King’s Maine, John Sandford’s and David Housewright’s Minnesota, Carl Hiassen’s and Tim Dorsey’s Florida, and Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series are other authors who can transport straight to the scene of the action. I like to know where I am and these writers show me.
I don’t know, maybe this is just a personal quirk. I’m pretty sure it’s possible to write an excellent novel set in Anytown, USA; just don’t expect me to read it.