Setting has always been a crucial element with my fantasy of a romantic interlude. As a child, the stories about the heroes and heroines always had a wonderful backdrop--the castle sitting high on a mountain top, the family house as a firm immovable part of large acreage, or the expensive home perched at the shoreline of a fantastic beach.
When I started reading the early romances, the settings more than the back blurb pulled my attention. I was always partial to the Australian outback, the Italian countryside, the ranch set in Montana, Wyoming or Texas. Remember those gothic romances? Loved those creepy manor homes sitting close to that always-needed cliff. Love it.
When I started plotting Trail of Kisses, I gave great thought to my location. After all, the characters were pretty much city dwellers. So I needed to think outside of the box and pulled out a U.S. map. I paid attention to geographic details because the setting does play a role in the story. Maybe the wild landscape underscores the hero's wild ways. Maybe the craggy rock facing is part of the ugly, dangerous backstory of the heroine.
Then I looked at the types of weather extremes for that place. Will I need a snow storm, hurricane winds, a drought? Will this weather bring them together, challenge them individually, almost tear them apart, or bring one to sacrifice a part of them to save the other?
So I took Asia Crawford and Trace Gunthrey to the Colorado Rockies in the spring. Earth's renewal with blossoms and vivid green landscape has a daily battling pushing the cold and snow conditions away. Some days, it's successful and, as we've seen with a late season snow storm, the push can be unsuccessful.
Then I gave the couple a beautiful cabin that looks rustic and natural on the outside, but is beautiful and modern on the inside. And won't you know? The place has been double booked. The heroine decides to be a Good Samaritan and allow the hero to stay, but only out of the goodness of her heart. Because she doesn't want to admit that it could be for the other reason like he can spark a swirl of emotions that makes her want to turn her charitable act into something more . . . sinfully delicious.
Of course, a setting can only do so much. A story still needs a hero willing to step up and display good hero material, along with a heroine who isn't afraid to be strong, romantic, and self-sufficient.
I introduce you to Trail of Kisses, now available for pre-order from Amazon.com, Borders.com or BarnesandNoble.com.