WHY CHOOSING A SETTING IS IMPORTANT
Right now, think about a favourite book or movie or TV show you’ve loved, and think about the setting. How much of a part does it play in that story line? Sometimes it’s role is – well, not so much of a role, really. The setting could be any old place but others – WOW! Settings really can be like a character in that book or show.
Who didn’t fall in love with the Little House on the Prairie books. I badly wanted to live back in them prairie days, in that dug out by Plum Creek with Laura and her family. Sex and the City? That series was as much a love affair with New York as it was with the characters themselves and who could watch episode after episode and not want to put New York on their To Do list. Notting Hill. Julia who? Hugh who? I wanted to go to London and live in one of those gorgeous terraced Victorian house and go shopping at Portobello Market and visit that park.
That’s not to say these stories couldn’t have taken place anywhere else. Maybe they could have. But that choice of setting becomes very much like casting a role in a movie, and taking advantage of what that “place” has to offer to really make that story memorable.
I write sweet romances so that gives me plenty of scope on where to set a novel. The world is my oyster!! In Daniel’s Bride, I intentionally chose Sydney, Australia. Why Sydney as against, say Auckland, where I live? It was all tied up with the hero, really. Daniel is from old money. Real old money with a family name that everyone knows, a business empire he has been destined to work in from birth - I needed a setting that would encompass all that. Somehow newer, smaller Auckland just didn’t fit that bill, but Sydney did, from Daniel’s office overlooking Sydney harbour to his grandfather’s mansion in the affluent eastern suburb, Vaucluse.
In Falling for Jack, the book in this blog tour, I chose Auckland. I know the place pretty well! If you’re ever on a cruise and it comes to NZ, there’s a good chance the ship will stop off for a night in Auckland. We hosted the America’s Cup twice, we’ve got gorgeous islands one can take a day trip to on the ferry, and not too far out of town we’ve got wild west beaches, the kind where you stand on dark sand and wonder if that blip in the horizon is Australia. (Forgetting it actually takes three hours to fly from NZ to Australia so it’s unlikely, but one can dream… ) If you followed our rugby team, the All Blacks, in the final of the Rugby World Cup back in 2011 – that was Eden Park. And it was when I worked at Eden Park many years ago, I came up with the idea of a “colliding worlds” story. A successful man meets a down on her luck waitress while he’s a guest at a swanky charity event. They recognize each other from their small hometown but oh, how the tables have turned. Jack was the bad boy destined for a prison sentence. Now he’s wealthy, successful, and he lives in a clifftop home in an affluent part of Auckland. Our heroine, Robyn, was brainy, studious, with expectations of heading to med school and a great career as a doctor. Only that life never quite happened. Now she’s divorced, a single mum of twins, struggling financially but working hard, really hard, to get her kids clothing business up and running. So in “Falling for Jack” there are two different worlds in the same city– and boy, do they collide. Yet Auckland just seemed the perfect city for this story.
As a reader, I love a setting that comes alive whether it be a heartwarming small town romance or a big city thriller to really rock that story. The more alive and real, the better.
Jack Fletcher has survived his rough upbringing to become a mega success, but with his personal life down the toilet, discovering he has a son sends his life even further into turmoil.
Robyn Taylor was the brainy girl destined for great things who now waits tables for a living to support her twins. Life is a struggle, but when Jack convinces her he needs her to look after his son, the conditions are too good to turn down.
Robyn has always had a bit of a crush on Jack, but being this close means the crush is rapidly turning into something else altogether, and when Jack gets shocking news, it draws the two of them even closer together.
But how can Jack ever believe he can be a father to his son, and a husband to a woman who must learn not only how to trust him - but to have faith in herself as well.