There’s a stretch of the New South Wales (Australia) coastline, about 250 km south of Sydney, that is special to me. Not just because it’s a beautiful place with glorious beaches, expanses of natural bushland and quaint small towns, but also because it’s the inspiration for my fictional town of Dolphin Bay and its surrounds.
|Ulladulla Harbour on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia|
Dolphin Bay was the setting for my first three books for Harlequin Romance and they have recently been published as a Dolphin Bay collection entitled Heart of the Bay. It was exciting to see my three linked but self-contained stories put together in one big “beach read”. And quite the coincidence that the cover model looks rather like my daughter!
I just returned from a short visit to the area, and realised I hadn’t actually been there since my first Dolphin Bay book The Summer They Never Forgot was published. It felt kind of surreal to see again areas which had been my inspiration, that I had then twisted and turned and embellished to become fictional places for my stories. The settings in my head had become more real that the places that inspired them!
|The beach at Mollymook, again on the New South Wales South Coast|
The imaginary settings were top of mind because my May release for Harlequin Romance, Conveniently Wed to the Greek, starts off in Dolphin Bay. It tells the story of food blogger Dell Hudson, one of the supporting characters in the third Dolphin Bay book, A Diamond in Her Stocking. I’d really liked Dell and it was great fun to get reacquainted and to give her own story and—gorgeous man of course!
While my new story opens in Dolphin Bay, by Chapter Five it has moved to Greece, when Dell accepts a job with her former adversary, the hotelier Alex Mikhalis. Again I was heavily inspired by real-life locations for this story, in particular the beautiful islands of the Ionian Sea in northern Greece.
|The beautiful islands of the Ionian sea in Greece: wonderful inspiration!|
I visited there for the first time in 2015, loved it, and immediately knew I wanted to set a book there. I actually wrote the final chapters of the book while on vacation (writers never really rest!) in Greece last year.
|Inspiration for settings for Conveniently Wed to the Greek|
Here’s the blurb for Conveniently Wed to the Greek:
A marriage for the sake of her baby...
When luxury hotelier Alex Mikhalis encounters the blogger who once nearly destroyed his reputation, he wants to get even. Only Adele Hudson isn’t exactly as he remembers. She’s pregnant and alone, and he can’t stop his protective instincts kicking in!
After a difficult breakup, Adele is very wary of all relationships. She has no choice but to accept the Greek tycoon’s offer of a job, despite their complicated past. But his next suggestion is much more intimate: becoming his convenient wife!
Conveniently Wed to the Greek will be published by Harlequin Romance in May 2017.
Like Dolphin Bay, my Greek island setting takes me again to the sea, a place I like to visit in real life as well as in fiction. Do you have a favorite place, country, town for a novel? Or one you don’t care for so much? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment for a chance to win a paperback copy of Conveniently Wed to the Greek.
Kandy Shepherd is a multi-published, award-winning author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She lives on a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her family and a menagerie of four-legged friends.
Visit Kandy at her website