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Setting romance in inspiring settings

Setting romance in inspiring settings

Setting romance in inspiring settings

What ties together all of my novels? Romance, of course; but more than that, each is set in an inspiring place.

My debut novel, Burning Embers, is set in rural Kenya – think the unspoilt beauty of the national parkland where wild animals roam free.

My next novel, The Echoes of Love, is set in Venice, Italy, the city of love, and the stunning landscapes of Tuscany, birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

Then came my Andalucían Nights trilogy, set beneath the scorching sun in the rugged countryside of Andalucía, Spain, and the city of light, Cádiz.

And finally, my latest novel, Aphrodite’s Tears, set on an island in the Ionian Sea that is steeped in the traditions and mythology of the Ancient Greeks.

Why do I choose such exotic, interesting and beautiful settings? There are two reasons:

First, I believe romance novels should take you away from the humdrum of daily life, offering a sublime escape. When I write, I endeavour to transport my reader to another place, so that it is like they are travelling from their armchair. I don’t want to take my reader to someplace mundane and dreary; someplace the reader does not dream of visiting in real life. I want to give my reader a metaphorical plane ticket to a fabulous destination.

The second reason I choose such inspirational settings is that I not only need to inspire the reader, I need to inspire the characters – because, quite simply, when a man and a woman are inspired by their surroundings, they are more open to falling in love.

This idea was explored in a recent article in the Telegraph, entitled, ‘The science behind why falling in love is easier on holiday’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travel-truths/36-questions-to-fall-in-love-arthur-aron-holiday-romance/). The article draws upon research by research professor Dr Arthur Aron:

‘There is so much excitement around travelling, in seeing new things and experiencing new cultures, and Dr Aron’s earlier research has shown that physiological stimulation – which is different from sexual stimulation – can create strong initial romantic attraction.’

For me, the setting doesn’t have to be hot and sunny (though that can heighten the passion); my novel The Echoes of Love, for example, opens in a cold and wintry Venice. What matters is that I give my characters – my heroine, in particular, who is on a journey of discovery – that stimulation; that setting in which the synapses are firing because it’s so new/different/fascinating/beautiful.

Then my reader can feel the emotion in the story, the sense of inspiration; they can really be swept away and moved; they can really believe in the love story between the hero and heroine, as well as the place in which the story is set.

The good news for a writer like me who cares so much about inspiring settings is that they abound! My map already has pins in Kenya, Spain, Italy and Greece – where next?

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TREKnRay
TREKnRay
4 years ago

I agree that getting away inspires romantic feelings. My first girlfriend when I was sixteen and I met at a motel pool in Spokane, Washington. Our parents were staying there. She lived in Portland, Oregon where I was to attend school that year. I only lived 100 miles away, but it was a place I had never been before and there was opportunity to get together when I got to her home town. Now that I’ve traveled so many more places I wouldn’t think of Spokane as different. I have been to the Greek Island, Spain and Italy as well… Read more »

hannahfielding
hannahfielding
4 years ago
Reply to  TREKnRay

I am reminded of Augustine of Hippo: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” And yet also, those who read books travel so many journeys.