Locations in fiction are usually real, not fictional. In my writing I use places known to me. Nice on the Cote d Azure, Rome, The Sierra Nevada in Spain, Ireland, Southern England, have all featured. Even when using familiar places like these, I find Street View on Google Earth an invaluable tool.

Let me illustrate with an example.  In the last of my Daniel series: Trial. I had to find a location for a villain to be  ‘got at’ by my heroine Lauren. He was an important person in Italian Security. I choose a likely location in Rome near the administrative center. I studied Google Maps and choose: Via Villa Albani.

By looking at the address in Street View I was able to pick out a likely building and describe it and the area with great accuracy in the plot.

I’ve done this with other locations when needed. It gives my imagination a great jolt when writing, even if I don’t describe an area in any detail. I studied the prison Daniel is held in the same story: Regina Coeli Prison on Via della Lungara, Rome. I didn’t use that street detail in the plot but it gave me the right feeling and mood when writing scenes set there.

I would highly recommend Street View as a tool in the creative writer’s arsenal.