lol after I saw this I spent… I’m not sure. On and off over an hour or something, trying to find these old maps I had done where I had sketched out a vaguepossible area where Lexington might be situated based on the roads we used in the story. But I can’t find it, and it was never official anyway; just a general thing for my own curiosity. So maybe it’s better I didn’t find it anyway.
Maybe it was somewhere around Harrisburg or between Harrisburg and Johnstown? I honestly don’t remember. We don’t have a specific place we imagined it so even that general guess could be off.
Neither of us specifically remember why PA was originally chosen, but it was most likely because that’s the area where Neulan was set (from our RPG called District 9 in the early 2000′s; we’d made up a fictitious city named Neulan City for that. That’s the RPG Boyd, Viv, Ced and Lou come from). Since in the beginning we were just writing things for ourselves to pass the time, and we didn’t want to spend a bajillion years figuring out things that weren’t going to matter, we probably went with PA by default.
We might have also chosen that because Sonny would know the general area well enough for us to be able to describe things, because I’ve very rarely been to the Northeast and never for more than several hours so I would’ve been useless. But Northeast seemed like a better place than the Midwest that I would’ve known.
I do think its location and it being a more low-profile state make it a good place. It’s semi-close to DC and other areas like that, so it still is accessible to government organizations, but it would also be far enough away that its secrecy could be more easily kept than if, say, it had been in NYC or some higher profile city/state.
As for why all the names are fictitious— it’s because we wanted people to think that this kind of thing could happen in any city in the country and not be tied to imagining just one specific area with certain landmarks. And because it gave us more latitude in creating the city in a manner that made sense for the Agency and Johnson’s Pharmaceuticals and all that.
Plus, naming things is fun! It was fun naming the neighborhoods, ngl.
As a bonus side note of information: for years and years, the city the Agency was set in actually did not have a name. There was no Lexington as a name. We did that to really reinforce that idea that it could happen anywhere. But as we wrote more of the series, it started to get super awkward not having a name for the city when they were in other cities like Carson or wherever.
So, we decided we had to come up with a name for it.
Want to know how? I pulled out my giant ass atlas of the US, flipped to the back where it listed every single city on the maps, and skimmed the names of real US cities to get inspiration. I wrote down the names I liked the most, and then double-checked that none of those names were already a city in Pennsylvania.
…HA. I just found the email thread where we figured this out. Apparently I looked through my North American Road Atlas on July 13 to July 14, 2010, when I couldn’t sleep one night. One of our concerns was we wanted to make sure the name wouldn’t sound too small town, so it would fit the image of a sizeable city, and we wanted to try to stick with one name if possible to make it easier.
A list of names I had toward the end was “Grays Harbor, Normandy, Northfield, Northampton, Sussex, Winchester, Lexington, Bridgeport, Olympia, Waitsburg (sp?), Brooklyn, Richmond, Winthrop, Queenstown, Hillsborough, Aurora, Edgewater”
Sonny said we shouldn’t use any that were too well-known already. He said his favorite from the list was Lexington.
To which my reply was:
“Grays Harbor and Lexington were my favorites from the list, and Grays Harbor sounded a bit too much like it could be from a soap opera. so yeah Lexington by itself is my favorite too from the list “
And that was the last email in that thread so apparently that’s how we decided on Lexington lol