So yesterday I talked a little bit about why I write “twenty-four hour” romance. Today I’ll let you in on the secret of how I choose the settings for my books. My first One Night book was set in Boston. It’s one of my favorite cities, I’ve spent a lot of time there, and I felt familiar enough with its layout and culture that I thought I could write a book about it. The second One Night book was set in Memphis – what a terrific city! I chose Memphis because I loved the vibe, the music, and the whole experience of being on Beale Street in early summer after the sun goes down. In fact, the premise for that book developed from an actual night I spent there with my best friend, the summer after college. (I did spice up the adventure a little bit…not everything that happens in the book actually happened in real life – though it’s fun for readers to figure out which is which!)
I thought a lot about where I wanted to locate my third One Night book. I had an idea for the plot, but I took into consideration two things: the setting had to be a place I’d visited and enjoyed, so I could make the details as authentic as possible; and it had to be in a different part of the country. I didn’t want to focus just on the eastern half of the country, or on major cities with large populations. (Yes, this is a little bit of marketing influencing my decision!)
After that, it didn’t take too much of a leap to come up with Napa Valley, California. My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon there, which meant it already had romantic memories for me. It’s also an absolutely gorgeous area, with its many vineyards, rolling hills and remote, rural feeling. My hero, Grant Walker, is an amateur photographer, and early in the book, he stops to take a series of shots of the Napa Valley landscape. I loved recreating those details for readers! Since part of One Night in Napa also revolves around the fact that the heroine and her mother have ties to Hollywood, it worked out well to have the story located in California – far enough from the crazy lifestyle of L.A., but still within its influence.
So…where will the next One Night book take place? Right now it’s a toss-up between Savannah (such a beautiful city in the Deep South!) and Cleveland (yes, yes, I know – not as sexy-sounding, but a vibrant city I lived in for 4 years, which means I know it like the back of my hand). We’ll see – stay tuned!