By special arrangement with "the boss," SPARKS takes place in Cornersville Trace, Iowa - the same made-up suburb of Des Moines where most of Adam's books take place. It's located in between the real-life suburbs of Urbandale and Johnston. On "real" maps, all you can see between those towns is an Interstate, but in this version of reality, I-80 is like the Tardis: it's bigger on the inside.
Cornersville Trace was invented one day when Adam was writing a song and needed a rhyme for "place." It took on a life of its own, and soon inspired a not-remotely-to-scale map to which Adam and S.J. refer constantly (though much of SPARKS takes place in "real" suburbs nearby). After appearing in several of Adam's songs, it appeared in his first novel, How To Get Suspended and Influence People, along with two other made-up suburbs, Preston (which is based largely on Grimes, Iowa) and Shaker Heights (which Adam didn't realize was the name of a Cleveland suburb - he just wanted there to be a Shaker Heights Institute of Technology because he liked the acronym). For these first books, it was a suburb of an "unnamed midwestern city," but when Random House asked Adam to write I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It in two weeks, he made it a Des Moines suburb to save time (and because zombies in Des Moines seemed inherently funny). Like ZOMBIE, SPARKS blends real and imaginary elements of the Des Moines metro area.
Here's a rough, not-remotely-to-scale map:
Click to view the map up close!
Books (by Adam Selzer):
How to Get Suspended and Influence People (2007)
Pirates of the Retail Wasteland(2008)
Andrew North Blows Up The World (2009)
I Put a Spell On You( refers to Cornersville Trace, but takes place in Preston, about 7 miles north).
I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It
Extraordinary: The True Story of My Fairy Godparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess (coming 2011)
I Don't Believe in Summer
Punk Rock Tango Girl
New York Rain
The Naked Trike Angel of Monk Hill Mall.