I wrote Alaskan Hearts after my first trip to Alaska a little over two years ago. Alaska is like no place I've ever been before and I was very inspired by the time I spent there. The snow, the mountains...it was magical. Once, when I thought I heard someone's cell phone vibrating in church, it turned out to be a moose call! Someone pointed to the window and I turned to see a moose peeking in the church window during the worship service. I also learned how to mush a team of sled dogs while I was there, something I'd obviously never done in my hometown in south Texas.
Full moon over Alaska, March 2012
I took this photo while standing on a frozen lake,
awaiting a ski plane full of dogs
To me, settings are crucial for writing romance. There's a fantastical quality to a story set in a place that's unique. Readers feel as though they've been on an exciting vacation, perhaps just like the characters in your book. I also think it lends a sense of legitimacy to the romance of the hero and heroine. How can your heroine not fall in love when she's holding hands with a handsome stranger and watching the Northern Lights dancing over their heads?
As I write this blog post, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Napa Valley, California. I'm here with friends for a 3-day weekend. Yesterday we went on a 20-mile bicycling tour through the wine country. (Take a moment to think about that. 20 miles. On a bike. Yes, I'm sitting on a pillow right now.) Not only had I never seen the wine country before, but I'd also never, ever ridden a "real" bicycle with gears and hand brakes. What can I say? I'm a very girly girl. My bike at home is baby blue and pink, and it has foot brakes.
Me (on the left), with my friend April, standing in a vineyard,
getting ready to hop on our bicycles.
Don't let the smile fool you. I was terrified.
Despite the fact that I kept forgetting how to stop and I was worried I would crash into the person in front of me, I had a great time. The vineyards we visited were breathtakingly beautiful. We ate warm grapes, fresh off the vine and saw a jack rabbit darting through a field of sunflowers. I'm pretty sure I've found a perfect setting for a new romance. What do you think?