The real world.
What does any of that mean mean to a writer, especially a writer working in the paranormal and romance fields? Let's face it. How often does an average, everyday woman run into a good looking hero with perfect teeth and smooth abs who just happens to be a vamp, were, or some other type of paranormal?
Is that real? Who knows, but that's kinda sorta what I write about. But for me, I anchor that in "reality", or in a real world setting. My upcoming vamp book releasing in January takes place almost exclusively in the Indiana Dunes State Park. All of my other paranormal books are set in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas.
Why do I do this? Because I think it's great fun to use real settings and stick unreal characters in them. It's the big "what if" factor. It makes a reader believe it could happen if they just believe hard enough. It sucks a reader in and keeps them there because the world around them isn't make up.
For me, it works. But then, my own reality is a little off...