Why do I insist on writing romance stories with a New Zealand flavour?
As a newbie writer I remember being told to find something unique about my writing. Something which would single it out from the hordes of other romance books being published every year. Something which would bring readers back to my stories, and have them looking out for my next romance.
When I was growing up I loved the romance stories written by Essie Summers. She was a prolific New Zealand romance writer with many Mills & Boon books to her credit. Sadly she is no longer with us, but her work continues to provide enjoyment for many. When she described a setting, I could easily close my eyes and visualise it, because I’d visited that town, I’d tramped those hills, I’d been there. She was writing about my homeland.This was a very powerful incentive for me to buy her books. As well as this, her clean romances often used a genealogy twist in her plots – something my interest in genealogy has also inspired. In my eyes, she set a great benchmark for me to strive toward.
While New Zealand has numerous successful romance writers, I note many of them choose to set their stories in what are to us, far off lands. So although I am not alone in using New Zealand settings and characters, I believe I have managed to bring something a little different to my stories for romance readers worldwide. And by sticking to this format of providing romance stories with a New Zealand flavour, I hope my readers will know they can always enjoy a little kiwiana alongside the road to romance. Positive comments in reviews and emails suggest this has been a successful format.
Of course there is another more practical reason for me to set my stories at home. There is hardly a need to do mountains of research when I’m talking about my own back yard.