When I started writing HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN, I knew that I wanted Alex to be from a small town, but it didn't make sense to have the Alien Operations Center in the midwest, so I first tried Roswell...too bad I've never been to Roswell, so I found somewhere just as good.
Arizona! One of my best friends actually moved to the state when we were 10, so I've visited a few times and have to say that I don't mind not having humidity! The mountains gave a perfect backdrop for the Operation Center and getting to talk to my friend about differant thing Arizona is always helpful.
But Magan isn't Columbia in New York and you've never been there? Exactlly...and neither has my main character. In a small farm town, some of us went to college and some of us stayed home and worked or got married and had children. Out of those of us who went to college, most of us didn't go too far from home and alot of those who did ended up transferring back. I touch a little bit on that and just how amazing it is that a girl from a small Illinois town would be applying to Columbia.