Coast City. Gotham. Metropolis. New York. San Francisco. Los Angeles. Whether real or fictional, your story needs a setting. Being that The Paladin is Urban Fantasy, that is, fantasy set in a modern setting, it needs an urban setting. So where does it take place?
Let me keep that under wraps for the moment and explore the necessity of the setting. Now, we know that for the most part, in DC comics all the cities are fictional. The aforementioned Gotham, Metropolis, Bloodhaven... they are all iconic cities that elicit a certain feel. There's something to be gained by creating a city, even a country, all your own. You get to dictate the culture and customs, what the topography looks like, even the food! But Stan Lee, the great Messiah of Marvel comics and cameo-haver extraordinaire said that when he made Spider-Man, he wanted him in New York City. Why? Because Stan knew New York. He wanted to be able to connect with his heroes. To know that Spider-Man was swinging past buildings he knew in real life, expressing opinions about daily life in a culture he was immersed in.
Now, let's come back to The Paladin for just a moment (I mean, it is supposed to the focus, right?) When you're writing a novel, you three choices, basically. First, create a brand new city. Second, use an existing city. Or third, don't actually name the city. I've elected the third option. Now, this might seem like a cop out, but I promise you, I've done some heft research. From Wikipedia to YouTube to TVTropes (they have amazing articles on individual states and cities!) I've researched the crap out of this place. I assure you, The Paladin takes place in a real city, in a real state in the US. Where might that be? Well, frankly, the actual location hasn't been important to the plot. I've yet to find a reason for any character to mention the name of their city or state (Come on. How often do you give audible exposition about what city you're in? You know where you are!) But, if there are any crafty readers out there that pay attention, there should be more than enough clues to give it away throughout the novel.
I'm kind of taking a hybrid route here. For all intents and purposes, The Paladin may as well take place in a fictional city for all the importance it holds. Yet, I crafted everything in the area to feel just like a real place. The distances. The names. The food. The geographical features. It's all real. But I have one lovely little bonus: if my research failed and I got something wrong, I haven't officially named the place so no one can say I got it wrong.
-insert knowing wink, ala Superman cartoons circa 1966-
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.