Years ago I read Madeleine's Ghost by Robert Girardi, bought solely because I loved the front cover. I've read it several times since, because I equally loved his evocative descriptions of New Orleans and Brooklyn. He has a wonderful knack of bringing these places alive and making even the most mundane of daily occurances feel exotic, just because it's happening in a different country. (While searching for the link on Amazon, I discovered he's written lots of other books, so I've now added them all to my list of books I need to read.)
I got to thinking, "Well, actually, Brooklyn isn't that exotic." Probably the people who live and work in Brooklyn don't think it's exotic at all, it's just home.
I set myself a task of writing about my hometown. At the time, I had a story that I was already working on which was set around some generic inner city canal. Luckily, my hometown has a river, so I switched location, changed some of the descriptions to match the real area and hey presto! - I had an exotic town.
Except I didn't. Because in the meantime, I'd started writing another story that linked with the first one. And my descriptions got a bit out of hand. My narrator added in a manor house that doesn't exist in my hometown. And then this same wayward narrator added a war memorial in a town square, which also doesn't exist.
Writers, I believe, do this all the time: it's called creative license, and means I can play around with geography as I wish. But by playing around so much - and actually missing out the most famous feature of my hometown - I'm left with a place that, while being very important to the stories, cannot be named; and I'm left with stories that haven't become as exotic as I'd hoped.
Although, maybe if I find a reader who lives in Brooklyn, they'd see the romance that I found in their town within the pen of Robert Girardi.