You tell us: do you like stories set in unusual places?


Thanks to the wonders of pre-set posting, today while you read this, I’m actually on my way to Australia, for the beginning of a two-week trip to Australia and New Zealand, where I’ll be attending two romances conferences and giving a presentation to publishers. So in honor of that, today’s questions is all about location.

I often see readers say they wish their were more non-Regency, non-England/Scotland set romances. Yet often publishers seem to avoid more unusual places because it is the England/Scotland set ones that sell more copies.

Or maybe you’re wishing for a contemporary romance, set in say, Egypt or Brazil, but can’t seem to get your hands on one (outside the Harlequin category lines), does this bother you?

Tell me, do you like books set in unusual places, or even when the opportunity to buy one presents itself, do you still find yourself passing it by, in favor of a more traditional setting?

15 thoughts on “You tell us: do you like stories set in unusual places?”

  1. Adele Dubois says:

    I would love to read more books set internationally! Specifically, books about Americans and the hero and heroine’s experience in a foreign land. The story could be contemporary, paranormal, historical, suspense, thriller, mystery. The sky’s the limit.


  2. Rashda Khan says:

    Books with international settings snag me…esp. if accompanied by an intriguing blurb. Love author Jeannie Lin’s stories set in ancient China and Elizabeth Peters’ books set in Egypt.

    I read for adventure :)

  3. Kelly says:

    Actually, I like places where I, as a reader, can relate to. That’s not to say I don’t pick up a book where a foreign prince seduces a local girl and whisks her off to his native country, but sometimes authors take a bit too much time trying to get the reader set up in an unusual or unfamiliar place. I read to enjoy- not work at it!!!

  4. Gloria Galasso says:

    I like unusual settings for books. Sometimes, even just writing what is around the writer at the time can seem exotic. I loved the Tony Hillerman novels because they were set in a surrounding that was both exotic and yet accessible, and prosaic and spiritual as well.

  5. Rita says:

    YES! Love books in unusual settings. But…if you take me there paint the picture and put me in it. Don’t just say here we are in Egypt or Brazil. I want to feel the sand in my shoes, smell the spices in the bazaar. Be swatting bugs, hearing the music and watching couples dance the Tango.

  6. I love books in unusual settings. I think if the book is written with a western protagonist (for me) it’s pretty easy to relate to any setting. I’d love to write a murder mystery in the Red Centre.

  7. Jody W. says:

    A nontraditional setting would attract my attention more than a traditional one! except Southern US. Got a weakness for Southern US, for obvious reasons, y’all. *heh*

  8. Dopey says:

    I love traditional settings Regency England etc, but I do have an incredible weakness for non-traditionals. In my mind, it’s a matter of whether the author can really make me smell the local setting, rather than have England with good weather, for example. Now I think of it, probably most of my favorites are set something intriguing or different. I think I enjoy the feeling of having more of my senses engaged while I read a book.

  9. I love when the setting becomes almost a character, then I feel like I had a vacation in a foreign country, especially Africa, Middle East, the Orient. That can be fun.

  10. Courtney says:

    I love unusal settings. While I do enjoy the popular settings, i.e Scotland and England, I love something out of the box.
    That’s why when I am working on a book I usually end up sending my herione somewhere exotic. India, South Africa, Japan, Bali.
    I’m like Carol Shenold’s comment. I read exotic location books and I feel like I’m a world traveler.
    It’s great!

  11. As a reader who prefers SF/F, I am of course long familiar with books set in unusual places! :) With other genres for me, as with SF/F, “unusual setting” is less important to me than “how well the author portrays that setting”. I wouldn’t want to pick up a mystery novel set in oh, say, Madagascar only to find that the author botched getting it right.

  12. Jacinta says:

    Im an Aussie and will be at the RWA conference this weekend so hope to see you there! I personally love stories set in exotic locations, anything that gets me out of my own backyard is a plus. New zealand and new york are my faves, but i like a good desert or island romp :)

  13. I love a story with a different and intriguing setting that carries me away. I want to *feel* the location as if experiencing it first hand.

  14. Giora says:

    Angela, I’m happy that you ask this question. I wrote a novel of romance and adventure set in China. There is the romantic story of a young Chinese woman and man, with some erotica, but it’s not only about romance. It is set in contemporary China, mainly during 2000 to 2010, so readers will learn a lot about modern China via the romantic story. It’s completed at 81K words and I’m sedning queries to literary agents in the US. But for a few weeks now I was pondering about submitting it to Carina Press. I read a few Harlequin novels to see if my novel fit your format, and I’m not sure that it does. But my novel is definetly a romantic novel set in modern China and travels to a few places in that country. I guess that I need your guidance. Best wishes from Toronto. I’ll come back to check for your response.

  15. Angela James says:

    Hi Giora,

    Carina is a separate imprint from the other Harlequin imprints, so reading a few Harlequin books wouldn’t give you an idea of Carina books. You should definitely read some Carina books! But we will always consider a book that fits our guidelines, and that includes unusual historicals (check out Carrie Lofty, Liz Fichera and Bonnie Dee’s historical books!

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