Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Belize Navidad


There are a few unspoken rules about traditional historical romance. One of them has to do with setting. Readers have comfort zones when it comes to history. Medieval stories almost always take place somewhere in Britain. Preferred American time periods are the Revolution, the Civil War, and the Old West. Regencies must, of course, take place in England, with very few exceptions, and only those of which the ton approves. It's very hard to generate interest in a romance set in ancient Egypt, 1900s Germany, or medieval Australia, which is kind of a shame.

It's not that I get bored with writing Scottish medievals. I have a thousand stories in my head about that time and place, begging to be told, and I'll write them as long as readers keep wanting to hear them. But once in a while I'd like to expand my borders. And sometimes I think readers would like to expand theirs as well.

I just got back (which is why my blog is late) from a wonderful "Christmas" trip to Belize with my family!

We clambered over crumbling Mayan ruins...


hiked through jungle foliage dripping with warm rain, delved into a cathedral of a cave carved out by a river...


and snorkeled along a reef swarming with stingrays and bejeweled with hundreds of tropical fish...



We absorbed the unique flavors of rice and beans, plantains, chocolate, and Marie Sharp's hot sauce, and listened to the odd patois of island, Mexican, and British cultures over the top of chirruping frogs and birdsong. My daughter and I were even treated to a romance novel cover when our young boat captain bravely steered our craft through a sudden storm!


Alas, none of those impressions will make it into a historical romance. For now, Belize is beyond the comfort zone. But I hope one day that readers will start to broaden their horizons and come along on adventures that take them further from home!




Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!

LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

4 comments:

andrea pickens said...

Great point, Sarah. I've often thought about the fact that there are so many interesting places out there, with a wealth of fascinating histories and cultures to serve as a backdrop to stories . . . it's a shame that we can't experiment once in a while, and see if we can take readers with us. I love the tried and true locations, but hey, an occassional new flavor always livens things up.

Barbara said...

I agree, it would be nice to have a new locale occasionally. I think it's a great idea to try something new and see if readers will respond.

Sarah McKerrigan said...

Yeah, and besides, I'd LOVE to write off trips like this! ;D

Kathleen Givens said...

Great report, Sarah! And you're right, there are lots of fabulous settings for our books. It's a shame we're not encouraged to be more exotic. Your trip looks wonderful! Glad you had such a good time.