Last Sunday was St. Patrick's Day, the day when national monuments, rivers, and even beer are coloured green and most the world becomes more proud of the Irish than we are ourselves.
Characteristically, it was a cold and wet day. St. Patrick's Day is notorious for its bad weather. Still, it got me thinking about nationality, in particular relating to how authors let their nationality influence their work.
I have not yet written a book set in Ireland. While Nathan Shepherd is of Irish descent, he's about 2 generations removed from his ancestral homeland. His Catholic upbringing influences his dreams for having a family, but he is lapsed in his faith, like many Irish people.
I do have an idea for a book about an Irish character, but I haven't decided yet whether it'll be set entirely in Ireland.
Essentially I like the freedom of being able to set my books anywhere I choose. American cities, especially in urban fantasy, allow me to play with contrasting themes of progress and history; the old world and the new, myth and science clashing, coming together, becoming something new, just like the story of so many people from so many different countries coming together and creating a nation.
What do you guys think? With the resources available today, it's hard to excuse a lack of research on foreign locations. Do you like seeing an author's interpretation of other countries? Would you rather they stuck to their own countries, whether because they know them best or because you want to read more about them?