I’m getting ready to start a new series for Harlequin Heartwarming. As always, the prospect is exciting and daunting. So much goes into preparing to write a book; characterization, plot and conflict, the romance arc and setting, to name a few. Each step much be carefully planned so that the writing process goes smoothly (I’m chuckling as I type this) to create a cohesive finished product.
Since I started writing for Heartwarming, one of the biggest draws to my books has been the small town setting. What is it about small towns that appeals to readers? Is it the sense of community? Safety? Familiarity? Knowing all your neighbors and your neighbors knowing you?
Small towns can run the gamut. Think about some of the books you’ve read and picture a quaint town with historical buildings, coastal beaches, or a village nestled in the mountains. Even a busy city block can be a small town. We certainly don’t have a shortage of interesting locations to set our books.
All the books in my Business of Weddings series were set in the same coastal Florida town. The name of the town was fictional, which allowed me to create a place that was an amalgamation of all the best of the towns around my home. From the beach, to the downtown areas, to all the local wonders I live with every day in my state, I had plenty of stunning vistas to work with. By the time the series ended, the town had become almost like a character itself, a very unique place that the reader would want to visit.
In my Meet Me At the Altar book series, I moved my small town experience north, to the mountains of north Georgia. We’ve been vacationing there for many years and it has to be my most favorite place on earth. Two of the books began the journey in the sleepy mountain town, and once I established the town and the people who reside there, I had to return. Thankfully, all the books I write in the next series will take place in this fictional town surrounded by picturesque views, rugged terrain, and the beauty of the region during the changing seasons. It’ll also mean I have to travel back to my favorite spot for research!
Heartwarming books not only have special characters who touch our hearts, but the setting plays an important part of the story. I’m thankful to set my stories in such magical places.
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Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author. Family values, a bit of mystery and of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. For more information about her books, visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TaraRandelBooks. Sign up for Tara’s Newsletter and receive a link to download a free digital book.