According to AAA, they estimate four out of ten Americans will travel for a family vacation this summer. Although we don’t have a specific vacation this year as opposed to our Branson destination last year, we’ve certainly added miles on our vehicles visiting family and enjoying summer outings.
I started thinking as the Arduini family descended on Rochester, NY for a golf tournament in memory of my father-in-law, not only have we traveled through different parts of the country, we also have loved ones living in various areas of the country. Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and across Upstate New York, both sides of our marriage tend to reside on the eastern or mid-west regions.
Thinking about those areas, I realized my favorite romance settings come from those very places. Perhaps I can picture myself on a Wisconsin farm or in DC traffic or by the Atlantic waters because I relate to those areas. Because I joke I’m a “Yankee’s Yankee,” meaning I am so obviously from the north with my fast talking splashed with “you guys” versus the beautiful drawl of a southern person’s “y’all,” I’m drawn to books I know come from regions I know and have history with. Pennyslvania. Vermont. Maine. Again, Upstate New York.
Sadly, the furthest west I’ve been is Missouri, and I’ve only traveled the east coast. Although I did visit Texas, I went straight from the airport to the hotel, a city in itself that I never left until it was time to return to the airport. When I read about places like San Antonio or Phoenix, I can’t quite relate or fact-check because I’ve never been. The Pacific and romances in California, or Washington? That is foreign material to me, and reading those romances almost feel like I’m learning a different culture.
Reading CCR book gives an opportunity to travel to places we might not otherwise have the chance. I loved Susan May Warren’s Montana Rescue series because the vast land was new for me. In fact, the entire Love Finds You line was fun because the setting became a character as much as the people. One of my favorite series came from Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer because it was in New England. As I’ve read from other reviewers, the Cape Light books made readers feel like they were inside Kinkade’s paintings. I could smell the shore waters and feel a chill from the coastal breeze.
As an author, I’ve been very intentional about setting. For my CCR work, I decided to use Upstate NY settings to highlight the beautiful areas I feel are neglected in fiction and romance. My Surrendering Time series is centered around the Adirondack Mountains, 1 million acres of lakes, forest, and the kindest people you could meet. My new series, Surrendering Opinions, focuses on the Finger Lakes region, where I grew up and lived for over thirty years. Anchored, the first and my current WIP, is in the Corning/Elmira area, my hometown. My latest release, a standalone novella, Match Made in Heaven, showcases Keuka Lake and the beautiful village of Hammondsport. My hope is someone from across the country, or like many of you, across the pond, would read my work and decide they want to travel there because the location sounds so appealing.
How about you? What are favorite CCR titles that feature places you know well, or wish you could visit? For our international readers, are you intrigued by American settings? For any one, is there one American region you enjoy as a setting more than another? if you want some guidance when choosing your next inspy romance, Fiction Finder is a free service where you can search for topics or even locations and receive titles. Most, if not all of us at IR, should have our books in the Fiction Finder database.
I’d love to read your comments and choose a random winner to receive your choice of Entrusted (Adirondack Mountains,) or Match Made in Heaven (Finger Lakes.) US winner can choose print or eBook. International winner automatically receives eBook.