There’s a few passing references to the Wilderlands in the trilogy, though I don’t go into too much detail. Sometimes Sheila will call Nick a Wilderlander…in other words, calling him a hick. Other times someone will mention that their family used to go on vacations out that way. But what is the Wilderlands?
When I was writing True Faith, I knew that this story would take place in a big sprawling city. I briefly expanded on that in the worldbuilding phase, thinking of how the east coast of North America would have evolved over a good five or six hundred years. In my world, many of the cities expanded, encompassing nearby communities or creating new ones to become megacity sprawls. Sort of like Los Angeles or New York City and their surrounding boroughs. This happens with smaller cities as well, including Boston, Phoenix, San Francisco, and so on; their surrounding cities and towns just became part of the bigger province.
Which left all the small towns in between. I called these “outpost” towns, basically stopovers between the larger provinces. Rural living never went away, it just became a little more compact. Many of the supertiny villages are still out there, of course…they’re just part of the nearby outpost towns now. In essence, not much has changed too much in terms of livability. Some choose to live in the outpost towns, such as those doing agricultural work, or have specialized jobs that require a bit of distance from civilization for safety’s sake. And as mentioned above, most of these towns have a brisk tourism business as well.
Originally in TF, the Wilderlands were thought of as the back of the beyond that no one ever traveled to if they could help it; it was pretty much considered where the outcasts and the criminals hid out. This changed during TPE, having decided to show it as Earth’s homage of sorts to the wilderness of Trisanda instead. It’s been that way ever since.
There is of course a bit of New England tied to the idea as well. Having lived in a small town in central Massachusetts for most of my life, I wanted to include a rural setting in this universe that honestly portrayed what small town life looked like. It doesn’t show up in the Bridgetown Trilogy, but it will show up in future stories, including the new one I’m working on.