When I was in my twenties and living in other parts of Canada, there was nothing I enjoyed more than bringing my friends home to Newfoundland. I couldn't wait to show the place off with visits to George Street (hot Nfld guys), Cape Spear (the most easterly point in North America) and Signal Hill (great for parking with the boys you meet on George St.) What I loved more than anything was that those friends fell in love with Newfoundland too.
When I started writing romance, I couldn't imagine a better setting for my stories. There's such a mix of urban and rural cultures, and I love the juxtaposition between the two. Over the years I've submitted to traditional publishers and received the subsequent rejection letters. I often wondered if it was the location. I even thought about changing it, but in the end, I know who I am as a writer. I'm a Newfoundlander, and for me, the greatest compliment I think a reader could ever give me is to feel compelled to learn more about this awesome rock in the sea. That's why I decided to self-publish Against Her Rules. This novel wouldn't be the story it is if it were set anywhere else.
I believe without great characters, especially the supporting cast, and a setting ripe for romance, a novel just can't flow. One of the most interesting things that's happened since publishing Against Her Rules is the feedback from my fellow Newfoundlanders. They're surprised they are enjoying a romance set here. I guess if you live in a place you can't always see the beauty. I sometimes wonder if I hadn't lived away for so much of my adult years if I would see it myself? But I'm so glad I do.
One of my favourite passages in the novel has nothing to do with the romance—it's the reaction my hero, Cam, has when he first spots the Heart's Ease Inn. Here's an excerpt:
At first glance you’d think this was a desolate place. Its isolation and the sparse landscape made you think of loneliness. But then subtle things stood out. The blue jays fighting over seeds in a feeder shaped like the sun. Crisp white sheets flapping in the air, despite the mist, the clothesline dancing in the wind. Even the way all the tips of the small juniper trees pointed in the same direction.
Looking toward the water, the view was breathtaking. White caps formed on the waves, and still he could see gulls riding them out with ease, as if this was their own personal surfer's nirvana.
Shutting off the engine, he stepped out and took a deep breath. The wet, cool air filled his lungs. He smiled. This might be a good project after all.