By: Alexia Adams
Congratulations to "Cris", the winner of Alexia's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
First, I’d like to thank Just Contemporary Romance for inviting me to take over their blog for the next two days. It is a somewhat daunting prospect to be one of the first bloggers on this site. If what I say is mind-numbingly boring, please give this blog another chance with another author.
So, setting in a contemporary romance novel—is it important? After all, it’s not like fantasy or historical fiction where you have to bring a world or era to life. I bought a book recently just because it had a setting that intrigued me. Unfortunately, the story didn’t hold up to the inviting destination, but that’s the subject of another blog (or not). Setting is something I consider vital in my books. I often get an idea for a story based solely on a picture or some research that I have done.
For example, when I was enduring cancer treatment a couple of years ago, a friend gave me a magazine called “Islands”. It was one of those journals that featured places I’ve never heard of, where über-rich people go to escape us regular folk. It was the perfect thing to read at that point in my life, as it provided endless hours of escapist enjoyment, far away from the unpleasantness of my reality. One place that was showcased in that magazine was a resort called Nihiwatu on the island of Sumba, in Indonesia (if you want to see for yourself what inspired me, visit their website: http://www.nihiwatu.com/). After reading the article I just knew that I had to send one of my couples there.
So, when Lalita, the heroine in Singapore Fling, discovers the truth behind her birth, she escapes to Sumba to think over the recent revelations. Of course, the hero Jeremy accompanies her and that is where the turning point in their relationship takes place.
Here’s an excerpt:
Lalita took his hand and led him along a path away from the beach, up the hill to a bamboo hut set right into the jungle. They climbed the stairs and as they gained the top, Lalita kicked off her sandals. The floor was strewn with red and white flower petals, candles in glass vases provided the illumination. In the center of the room a table was set up, low to the floor, two massive pillows on either side.
Lalita glided over to the table, melting onto one of the cushions. As she wriggled to get comfortable, the slit in the skirt of the dress opened, revealing her entire leg. Jeremy kicked off his shoes and joined Lalita at the table.
A waiter appeared a minute later with a bottle of wine and two silver dome-covered plates. Placing one before each of them, he then whisked away the domes. Jeremy stared down at his plate. Three large oysters sat on the half shell, embedded in ice. He glanced over to Lalita’s plate to find three ripe figs, cut in half, drizzled with honey. His discomfort increased.
Lalita laughed. “I guess this is what comes of owning a resort that specializes in honeymoons.”
“How did you find this place? Been here on honeymoon?” Jeremy tossed back an oyster while he waited for her reply.
“No, I’ve always come alone before. I read about it in a magazine. Aside from honeymoons, Steve has a program where you can spend a day or two helping the local community. Work at the school or help dig a well, that kind of thing. It’s completely different from what I normally do and you know what they say about a change being as good as a rest,” she finished with a shrug.
She picked up a half fig with her fingers, pulling the juicy flesh away from the skin with her teeth. Eyes closed, a trickle of juice and honey perched on the edge of her lips, threatening to run down her chin. Her tongue darted out, catching the drip before it could escape. Jeremy grabbed for his glass of ice water.
Another story I am currently working on was inspired by a photo my son took. It was a place I lived for eight years and hated almost every minute. I still have family there and thus the reason for my son’s visit. As I looked at his pictures, I wondered what it would feel like to return, to face all the reasons why I had left in the first place. A story was born.
For me, settings inspire the story. I know other authors start with a character or a phrase. Looking through my photo albums (yes, most of my travelling was done before the advent of digital cameras) I am struck with countless story ideas.
Has a setting or destination every inspired one of your stories? Or have you read a book where the setting made you want to visit that place, or where it lingered in your mind long after the characters had faded? I’d love to hear what you think about settings in contemporary romance. I’ll be giving away one digital copy of Singapore Fling to one lucky person leaving a comment.
Alexia used to travel the world, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and tastes. She’s lived in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, and France, as well as spending three months in Panama and two months in Russia. When life demanded that she stay rooted in one place, she took to vicarious voyages through the characters she created in her romance novels. Her stories reflect her love of travel and feature locations as diverse as the wind-swept prairies of Canada to the hot and humid jungles of Guyana. To discover other books written by Alexia or read her blog on inspirational destinations, Journey to Love at http://Alexia-Adams.com.
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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST June 11th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustContemporaryRomance.com with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.