I was listening to We Are the Ants yesterday while driving home from work, and I had a realization. The character in the book said something about the living room couch looking so lonely without his grandmother sitting on it, and I realized that the living room I was seeing in my mind was the living room of my childhood best friend. I thought back to an earlier part of the book and recalled envisioning the brother’s bedroom as the bedroom of my best friend’s older sister in that same house.
Thinking back on other audiobooks I listened to recently, I discovered that Hermione’s bedroom from Exit, Pursued by a Bear matched my memory of that same best friend’s bedroom. And I know some other adult book I read or listened to had me thinking about that friend’s parents’ bedroom. Kind of creepy, huh?
I think what is happening is that when an author hasn’t given me enough description, my mind is filling in the blanks with a location that is familiar to me, but not too familiar. I don’t envision characters in my own home or my own childhood homes. Although I am using one of my parents’ houses that I never really lived in for more than a summer as the setting for one of my own characters when I think about the YA book I’d like to write.