Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday Talk-Time - Fictional Settings

This Thursday PHS editor Donna Alward talks to us about creating fictional settings!

For the first time since I started writing for Harlequin Romance, I've got a book coming out that has a completely fictional setting.

It all came about when I had lunch with my first editor last year and she brought up the possibility. I thought it sounded like a fabulous idea. But at the time, my second book had just come out, I had two more on the schedule and I'd finished the first in a new duet. I figured it would take a while to visit the idea.

But I was wrong, because the book I had completed was put to the side briefly (it's my June 09 release) while they mentioned wanting another cowboy book.

I was left with the decision of where I wanted it set, and I knew it was as good a time as any to make up my setting. And so I made up not one, but two locations for what would be come my next release - The Rancher's Runaway Princess.

The story itself takes place mostly on Prairie Rose Ranch, but I created a nearby town that also gets some "screen time". I called it Larch Valley, after the species of trees found in the nearby rockies, and the hiking area in Banff National Park. Larch Valley is a bit of my favourite things in the Canadian West - particularly southern Alberta. It's got proximity to the mountains - stunning. It's got the rolling foothills, perfect for ranching. It's got wide open skies and fresh air, honest, hardworking people and a Main Avenue reminiscent of the one found in Cochrane, Alberta - one of my favourite places. Geographically, I put my imaginary town on the map south of Longview on the 22, and north of the junction of 22 and highway 3 that travels west into the Crowsnest Pass area.

But that wasn't all. This book has a Princess in it after all, and so I also devised a Mediterranean principality. I called it Marazur, and gave it a King and two princes and one very reluctant, American princess. When I was writing the book, my critique partner had just been to Malta, and so I looked at pictures and did some research and got a feel for my own Marazur, which I did, however, make Spanish speaking.

I'm not sure if it was the complete creative freedom I had with my fictional settings, but I do know there was something magical about this book for me when I was writing it.
What are some of your favourite fictional settings, either that you've written or you've read?

Donna is hard at work on her next Larch Valley book, but you can visit her Larch Valley website HERE! The banner features a photo of the Larch Valley hiking area in Banff - taken by Superromance author CJ Carmichael.

The Rancher's Runaway Princess will be available next month on Eharlquin and in stores in January.

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