Do you read romantic fiction set on the beach? Do you remember something when you read these beach romances? A memory, perhaps? Or a favorite family vacation?
I write in multiple genres, but where contemporary Christian romance is concerned, my story world stretches from big cities to small towns, and from mountains to the beaches. I do enjoy writing about coastal living. As such, one of the settings for my romantic books is the beach. The beach towns I have in mind and write about are usually on barrier islands, with nearby coastal cities.
So why do I write beach romance?
I grew up on a tropical island, with its laidback lifestyle and cottages by the sea. My high school yard backs up to a sea wall. We took Girl Scout hikes along the island beaches. We had retreats by the ocean. Island life is my cup of tea.
However, since I left my childhood island, went to college, and worked in a metropolitan city, I’ve been landlocked for thirty five years. At the back of my mind is the nostalgia of my hometown, living ten to twenty minutes from the beach, and the tropical island life. So what is an island girl to do?
Well, I put them in my novels. My beach romance story world largely stems from my memories of all the beaches I’ve been to, the island life I grew up in, and all the things I want to see in a beach town.
My Savannah Sweethearts series is set in the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, and on the beaches of Tybee Island, about fifteen minutes away from downtown Savannah. A number of my book characters live on Tybee and commute to work in Savannah. I have completed this 11-book series, but they are all still fresh in my mind.
Comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Tell You Soon (Savannah Sweethearts Book 2), set in these two places.
My Seaside Chapel series is set on St. Simon’s Island, about an hour south of Savannah. Even though the media has dropped the apostrophe in the island name, I still keep it in my story world. This is a long series combining contemporary Christian romance and romantic Women’s Fiction, and the novels will take me several more years to complete. I started writing this series in 2005, so what’s a few more years!
(B) Vacation Feel.
I don’t know about you, but while I love the mountains in the fall season, I consider the beach my vacation place. There’s something about traveling to a beach and taking it easy. In my Vacation Sweethearts series, I take my readers to the Bahamas in the Caribbean and to the beach town of Key Largo in south Florida.
Is the beach a happy place for you? If you go on a beach vacation, what do you usually do? Do you hang out on the beach all day and work up a tan? Do you cycle on the beach or swim in the pool?
Do you read a lot of books when you’re on a beach vacation? I used to lug around hardcover novels from the local library. Boy, they were heavy. I would set aside luggage just for books to read on vacation. These days, I stuff my Kindle app with ebooks. I call them my vacation TBR. Unfortunately, I have a ton of books yet to be read. I guess I need more vacation!
(C) There, Not Here.
In general, I do not set my stories in the same small town I live in. Since I do not use a pen name, I prefer to separate my personal life from my professional life. However, I do set a number of books in the big city of Atlanta, whose metropolis is miles in diameter, and includes my small town. That way, I have a certain freedom to create a new city block or add a fictitious street or restaurant. Or even another small town!
Beyond Atlanta, I set my beach romance stories in Savannah, Tybee Island, or St. Simon’s Island. Or some other fictitious towns I have created, such as Seaside Island, which I placed to the north of St. Simon’s Island and Jekyll Island. For faraway places, I might add a whole new island, such as Moss Cay in Smile for Me (Vacation Sweethearts Book 1).
If I do live on the beach some day, watch me start a new series set in some mountain town somewhere LOL. Or in a place with a snowy winter. Actually… Well, I’ll save that book news for another day. Here’s a visual sneak peek:
What about you? What makes you choose to read a certain beach romance over another?
Do you only read beach romances set in certain places? For example, west coast or east coast (USA) or international (name a country)? Or do you read any beach romance set on any beach, regardless of whether it is in New Zealand or Australia or Hawaii or France or…?
Giveaway: Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Tell You Soon, a Christian beach romance with a side of suspense. This giveaway ends on Monday (August 23, 2021). I hope you’ll enjoy reading the story of private investigator Ming Wei and real estate agent Sabine Hu in this Asian-American romance.
Free Beach Romance: Ask You Later (A Savannah Sweethearts Prequel) is also set in Savannah and Tybee Island. You can get this ebook novel for FREE via BookFunnel. On Tybee Island, artist Leon rents a beach house that his mother would have liked to live in had she been alive. Across the bridge in Savannah, he meets the daughter of the gallery owner who doesn’t like his folk art sculpture. Should he try to persuade her to appreciate his artwork? Hmm.