DrakenHowdy from the snow-dusted mountain of Joanna.
The Ask A Wench question for November is:

"If you were writing a Historical Romance set in an unusual place and time — and you didn't have to worry about sales — where would you choose and when and why?"

 

Mary Jo has not only thought of writing about some of these exotic places. She's done it.

 As a kid in the classroom, I used to gaze at the map racks hanging from the blackboard, and I was particularly interested in the vast, empty tracts of Central Asia.  What was there?  How interesting it would be to visit!  So when I started to write, I thought it would be really cool to write a book set in Central Asia.

Oh, wait!  I did.  The book is called Silk and Secrets, and it was loosely based on a real rescue mission to Bokhara in the 1840s by Dr. Joseph Wolff, an eccentric Anglican missionary.  Wonderful material in his memoirs.  The last in that trilogy, Veils of Silk, was set in India, with adventure and mystery and romance.  But India isn't quite so far off the beaten path, historical romance wise.

Well, China could be interesting.  So very different from Western Europe, with an ancient civilization and an aura of mystery. Err…, I wrote that in The China Bride,  with a Chinese/Scottish heroine and an English hero with an explorer's heart. 

What about Indonesia?  That vast, complex archipelago of islands with such a mix of cultures and languages and religions.St._Petersburg_church  The far distant source of exotic and marvelous spices, and more.

Ooop, I wrote that one, too, in The Bartered Bride.  I guess I've been really lucky to have editors who were willing to indulge my storytelling wanderlust!

 

640px-Siberian_autumn_in_taiga.Nicola says,

As a teenager I loved Dinah Dean’s historical romances set in Imperial Russia during the Napoleonic Wars and I’ve always thought I’d quite like give that period a go. There was also a book called Valentina set in Poland and Russia in the same period that fascinated me. The closest I’ve got is writing a books set in the Norwegian Arctic in the early 19th century – Whisper of Scandal – which isn’t that close but had some Russian history in it. I am drawn to "the north" in various shapes, forms and eras so perhaps I'll tackle a Viking story one day!

Mostly the historical periods that appeal to me aren’t outrageously unusual or different though. The Dark Ages and the early medieval period in England, the English Civil Wars… My next book is partially set in 17th century Holland and I’m very grateful that my publishers were happy to go along with that as it is out of the ordinary and it was exciting to be able to explore that.

 

ImageAnne is another who’s wandered off the beaten track a little.  She says,

I've always had a fondness for the more exotic settings for historicals—I grew up reading books set in all kinds of places and time periods, and I loved the variety. I remember when I first read Mary Jo Putney's Veils of Silk I thought, I'd love to write a book like that, set in the far-flung outposts of Empire. I loved Kipling's Kim as a kid, and I was also a huge fan of Madeline Brent, whose heroines are girls of English background often lost in childhood in some foreign corner of the British Empire. Utterly my cup of tea. Alas, editors soon taught me that wasn't what they wanted to publish, and I was told to stick to English-set regency-era stories. I did manage to extend those boundaries a little; my Honorable Thief starts off in Batavia (Indonesia) though most of the story takes place in London, and I've since set stories in France (Perfect Stranger), Egypt (To Catch a Bride) and Spain (Bride By Mistake) — though mostly they start and end in England.

I've always wanted to write an Australian historical, but again, this idea was firmly hit on the head by editors. In fact the opening scene and a thread of the plot of His Captive Lady was from a story I'd originally started and set in Australia but it was rejected unread on the grounds that Australian history was not of interest to international readers. I'm still certain though that it would be a cracker of a story, and maybe one day I'll write that story and publish it just for me.

Like Nicola, I also have a yen for writing a Russian-set story. No doubt that was partly inspired by a story I read as a young girl, called The Troika Belle, but I also have collected original sources of English people who lived at the Russian court in the early 10th century, and it's fascinating. So maybe one day . . .

 

Jo joins us to say,

 I can't think of a time or place I've a real yen to write, other than the ones I already do. I've always felt lucky that my writing pleasure mostly syncs with reader tastes. If I didn't have to worry about how to use my writing time I'd probably write some fantasy on the side, but that's off on a tangent.

Andrea says,

I have always been an armchair traveler and love the idea of exotic settings. I did manage to do a trad Regency set mostly in Russia (The Storybook Hero) but would love to do one set at the Imperial Court of St. Petersburg during the early 1900s. I’ve also always wanted to do a book set during the Third Crusade, which would be fascinating to research. The Italian Renaissance was such rich possibilities too . . . ideas and setting are never a problem! Like a magpie, I see all these shiny ideas and gather them all up to put in my desk drawer. Now, if only there were 48 hours in a day!

Mohicansposter

Susan has several places and times. 

If the market and readership were non-issues and we could create stories that might otherwise never see the light of day, what would I write for fun? What fascinates me most are medieval and ancient settings, so for starters I'd play more deeply in those areas. I've colored outside the lines a little already by writing mainstream historical fiction set in 11th century Scotland, and I'd love to expand to Viking, Irish and Saxon settings. 

There are so many time periods and places I'd love to write about if I had the chance and especially the luxury of time — medieval France and The Netherlands, and Upstate New York during the French & Indian Wars (I grew up just a moccasin's throw from the setting of the Last of the Mohicans, and cut my historian's baby teeth on the rich local history). And if I had scads of time for research immersion and plenty of time and energy to write prolifically, I'd set novels in ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, even feudal Japan. There's a contemporary or two in me as well, if the stories link back to ancient cultures, and there's more than one ghost story on the back burner too. Oh if I only had the time (and the ideal market existed) to write stories in all the areas that fascinate me. . . .          

For me, Joanna,

Sometimes I think I’d like to write fantasy. Something set in an alternate world. A place with magic of many kinds. Travel in time. Travel through realities …

Historical Romance requires the discipline of getting stuff right. As a historical writer, I’m constrained by what was.

But Fantasy … there we can shape the world to our desires.

 

What about you? If you were telling stories set in a particular world, what world would you choose?

I'd like to give away an audio recording of one of my books. Your choice. The recordings are by the most excellent Kirsten Potter and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

 

 

155 thoughts on “”

  1. I can’t imagine having the patience to research a time/world, but what comes to mind, I don’t even know why, is India before colonization. (Oh wait, I do know why… because I was just reading about Nina Paley’s latest project, which of course made me think of “Sita Sings the Blues.”)

    Reply
  2. I can’t imagine having the patience to research a time/world, but what comes to mind, I don’t even know why, is India before colonization. (Oh wait, I do know why… because I was just reading about Nina Paley’s latest project, which of course made me think of “Sita Sings the Blues.”)

    Reply
  3. I can’t imagine having the patience to research a time/world, but what comes to mind, I don’t even know why, is India before colonization. (Oh wait, I do know why… because I was just reading about Nina Paley’s latest project, which of course made me think of “Sita Sings the Blues.”)

    Reply
  4. I can’t imagine having the patience to research a time/world, but what comes to mind, I don’t even know why, is India before colonization. (Oh wait, I do know why… because I was just reading about Nina Paley’s latest project, which of course made me think of “Sita Sings the Blues.”)

    Reply
  5. I can’t imagine having the patience to research a time/world, but what comes to mind, I don’t even know why, is India before colonization. (Oh wait, I do know why… because I was just reading about Nina Paley’s latest project, which of course made me think of “Sita Sings the Blues.”)

    Reply
  6. I think it could be timely to write a space romance, where astronauts land on a comet to hitch a ride to the far reaches of the cosmos. Lots of time for experimenting, philosophising and adventures …. eg have you ever kissed in 0-Gravity!

    Reply
  7. I think it could be timely to write a space romance, where astronauts land on a comet to hitch a ride to the far reaches of the cosmos. Lots of time for experimenting, philosophising and adventures …. eg have you ever kissed in 0-Gravity!

    Reply
  8. I think it could be timely to write a space romance, where astronauts land on a comet to hitch a ride to the far reaches of the cosmos. Lots of time for experimenting, philosophising and adventures …. eg have you ever kissed in 0-Gravity!

    Reply
  9. I think it could be timely to write a space romance, where astronauts land on a comet to hitch a ride to the far reaches of the cosmos. Lots of time for experimenting, philosophising and adventures …. eg have you ever kissed in 0-Gravity!

    Reply
  10. I think it could be timely to write a space romance, where astronauts land on a comet to hitch a ride to the far reaches of the cosmos. Lots of time for experimenting, philosophising and adventures …. eg have you ever kissed in 0-Gravity!

    Reply
  11. The exotic places I would like to set a novel are those that just stayed in my mind.
    Sanaa and Aden Yemen. Old Sanaa has these marvelous old stone houses that are several stories high, with animals on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, bedrooms on the 3rd and 4th, and the mafraz (sp?) on the fifth or top floor. The mafraz is where the men eat and drink and chew qat. The circular stair way is crafted so that the residents can easily attack intruders. Aden’s location on the site of an old meteor strike gives it the strangest geography of any city I’ve been in. The politics in Yemen defy description with tribal alliances, changing trade patterns, and religion all playing key roles.
    I also fell in love with Alexandria, Egypt, especially the area along the coast. Back in the old days, I spent considerable time on the top of Fort Qait Bey watching the fishermen on the rocks, the boats on the Med, and a government installation for police and intelligence. On my visit in 2009, the top floor was off limits, and bribes did not work. The story is that the fort was built on the site of the ancient Pharos. The most famous books about Alexandria are Durell’s Alexandria Quartet, mainly set in Word War II. I stayed in the Josephine Baker room in the pension, so I later became interested in her story.

    Reply
  12. The exotic places I would like to set a novel are those that just stayed in my mind.
    Sanaa and Aden Yemen. Old Sanaa has these marvelous old stone houses that are several stories high, with animals on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, bedrooms on the 3rd and 4th, and the mafraz (sp?) on the fifth or top floor. The mafraz is where the men eat and drink and chew qat. The circular stair way is crafted so that the residents can easily attack intruders. Aden’s location on the site of an old meteor strike gives it the strangest geography of any city I’ve been in. The politics in Yemen defy description with tribal alliances, changing trade patterns, and religion all playing key roles.
    I also fell in love with Alexandria, Egypt, especially the area along the coast. Back in the old days, I spent considerable time on the top of Fort Qait Bey watching the fishermen on the rocks, the boats on the Med, and a government installation for police and intelligence. On my visit in 2009, the top floor was off limits, and bribes did not work. The story is that the fort was built on the site of the ancient Pharos. The most famous books about Alexandria are Durell’s Alexandria Quartet, mainly set in Word War II. I stayed in the Josephine Baker room in the pension, so I later became interested in her story.

    Reply
  13. The exotic places I would like to set a novel are those that just stayed in my mind.
    Sanaa and Aden Yemen. Old Sanaa has these marvelous old stone houses that are several stories high, with animals on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, bedrooms on the 3rd and 4th, and the mafraz (sp?) on the fifth or top floor. The mafraz is where the men eat and drink and chew qat. The circular stair way is crafted so that the residents can easily attack intruders. Aden’s location on the site of an old meteor strike gives it the strangest geography of any city I’ve been in. The politics in Yemen defy description with tribal alliances, changing trade patterns, and religion all playing key roles.
    I also fell in love with Alexandria, Egypt, especially the area along the coast. Back in the old days, I spent considerable time on the top of Fort Qait Bey watching the fishermen on the rocks, the boats on the Med, and a government installation for police and intelligence. On my visit in 2009, the top floor was off limits, and bribes did not work. The story is that the fort was built on the site of the ancient Pharos. The most famous books about Alexandria are Durell’s Alexandria Quartet, mainly set in Word War II. I stayed in the Josephine Baker room in the pension, so I later became interested in her story.

    Reply
  14. The exotic places I would like to set a novel are those that just stayed in my mind.
    Sanaa and Aden Yemen. Old Sanaa has these marvelous old stone houses that are several stories high, with animals on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, bedrooms on the 3rd and 4th, and the mafraz (sp?) on the fifth or top floor. The mafraz is where the men eat and drink and chew qat. The circular stair way is crafted so that the residents can easily attack intruders. Aden’s location on the site of an old meteor strike gives it the strangest geography of any city I’ve been in. The politics in Yemen defy description with tribal alliances, changing trade patterns, and religion all playing key roles.
    I also fell in love with Alexandria, Egypt, especially the area along the coast. Back in the old days, I spent considerable time on the top of Fort Qait Bey watching the fishermen on the rocks, the boats on the Med, and a government installation for police and intelligence. On my visit in 2009, the top floor was off limits, and bribes did not work. The story is that the fort was built on the site of the ancient Pharos. The most famous books about Alexandria are Durell’s Alexandria Quartet, mainly set in Word War II. I stayed in the Josephine Baker room in the pension, so I later became interested in her story.

    Reply
  15. The exotic places I would like to set a novel are those that just stayed in my mind.
    Sanaa and Aden Yemen. Old Sanaa has these marvelous old stone houses that are several stories high, with animals on the ground floor, kitchen on the second, bedrooms on the 3rd and 4th, and the mafraz (sp?) on the fifth or top floor. The mafraz is where the men eat and drink and chew qat. The circular stair way is crafted so that the residents can easily attack intruders. Aden’s location on the site of an old meteor strike gives it the strangest geography of any city I’ve been in. The politics in Yemen defy description with tribal alliances, changing trade patterns, and religion all playing key roles.
    I also fell in love with Alexandria, Egypt, especially the area along the coast. Back in the old days, I spent considerable time on the top of Fort Qait Bey watching the fishermen on the rocks, the boats on the Med, and a government installation for police and intelligence. On my visit in 2009, the top floor was off limits, and bribes did not work. The story is that the fort was built on the site of the ancient Pharos. The most famous books about Alexandria are Durell’s Alexandria Quartet, mainly set in Word War II. I stayed in the Josephine Baker room in the pension, so I later became interested in her story.

    Reply
  16. Oh yes, I too love Madeline Brent’s books. I also really enjoy M.M. Kaye books (Death in Kashmir, Death in the Andaman’s, etc) – another of my favorites where time and location were/are one of the characters.
    I know Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books aren’t romance but location and the culture of the place and times were fascinating. Even more so now 40 years later. I’ve read all her books on paper and then listened to them multiple times on audio. For days afterwards I would mentally hear the names of the cities.
    Since I don’t write there isn’t any one period I would most want to write about. But I do enjoy a well written book set in almost any time and place!

    Reply
  17. Oh yes, I too love Madeline Brent’s books. I also really enjoy M.M. Kaye books (Death in Kashmir, Death in the Andaman’s, etc) – another of my favorites where time and location were/are one of the characters.
    I know Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books aren’t romance but location and the culture of the place and times were fascinating. Even more so now 40 years later. I’ve read all her books on paper and then listened to them multiple times on audio. For days afterwards I would mentally hear the names of the cities.
    Since I don’t write there isn’t any one period I would most want to write about. But I do enjoy a well written book set in almost any time and place!

    Reply
  18. Oh yes, I too love Madeline Brent’s books. I also really enjoy M.M. Kaye books (Death in Kashmir, Death in the Andaman’s, etc) – another of my favorites where time and location were/are one of the characters.
    I know Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books aren’t romance but location and the culture of the place and times were fascinating. Even more so now 40 years later. I’ve read all her books on paper and then listened to them multiple times on audio. For days afterwards I would mentally hear the names of the cities.
    Since I don’t write there isn’t any one period I would most want to write about. But I do enjoy a well written book set in almost any time and place!

    Reply
  19. Oh yes, I too love Madeline Brent’s books. I also really enjoy M.M. Kaye books (Death in Kashmir, Death in the Andaman’s, etc) – another of my favorites where time and location were/are one of the characters.
    I know Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books aren’t romance but location and the culture of the place and times were fascinating. Even more so now 40 years later. I’ve read all her books on paper and then listened to them multiple times on audio. For days afterwards I would mentally hear the names of the cities.
    Since I don’t write there isn’t any one period I would most want to write about. But I do enjoy a well written book set in almost any time and place!

    Reply
  20. Oh yes, I too love Madeline Brent’s books. I also really enjoy M.M. Kaye books (Death in Kashmir, Death in the Andaman’s, etc) – another of my favorites where time and location were/are one of the characters.
    I know Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax books aren’t romance but location and the culture of the place and times were fascinating. Even more so now 40 years later. I’ve read all her books on paper and then listened to them multiple times on audio. For days afterwards I would mentally hear the names of the cities.
    Since I don’t write there isn’t any one period I would most want to write about. But I do enjoy a well written book set in almost any time and place!

    Reply
  21. Somehow mystery and thriller seem particularly suited to exotic spaces and distant parts of the world.
    I’ve always wondered why we seem to have this wide and ever expanding range of settings. Maybe the Futuristic, Paranormal, and Steampunk Romances fill our need for new horizons and unexplored lands.
    I’ve enjoyed Gilman’s work. Well … spies.

    Reply
  22. Somehow mystery and thriller seem particularly suited to exotic spaces and distant parts of the world.
    I’ve always wondered why we seem to have this wide and ever expanding range of settings. Maybe the Futuristic, Paranormal, and Steampunk Romances fill our need for new horizons and unexplored lands.
    I’ve enjoyed Gilman’s work. Well … spies.

    Reply
  23. Somehow mystery and thriller seem particularly suited to exotic spaces and distant parts of the world.
    I’ve always wondered why we seem to have this wide and ever expanding range of settings. Maybe the Futuristic, Paranormal, and Steampunk Romances fill our need for new horizons and unexplored lands.
    I’ve enjoyed Gilman’s work. Well … spies.

    Reply
  24. Somehow mystery and thriller seem particularly suited to exotic spaces and distant parts of the world.
    I’ve always wondered why we seem to have this wide and ever expanding range of settings. Maybe the Futuristic, Paranormal, and Steampunk Romances fill our need for new horizons and unexplored lands.
    I’ve enjoyed Gilman’s work. Well … spies.

    Reply
  25. Somehow mystery and thriller seem particularly suited to exotic spaces and distant parts of the world.
    I’ve always wondered why we seem to have this wide and ever expanding range of settings. Maybe the Futuristic, Paranormal, and Steampunk Romances fill our need for new horizons and unexplored lands.
    I’ve enjoyed Gilman’s work. Well … spies.

    Reply
  26. Arabia Felix. I’m told parts of that coast line are so beautiful they count as one of the wonders of the world.
    Alexandria is one of the many places I’d love to visit. If I can’t make it in person, I’d want to read about it.

    Reply
  27. Arabia Felix. I’m told parts of that coast line are so beautiful they count as one of the wonders of the world.
    Alexandria is one of the many places I’d love to visit. If I can’t make it in person, I’d want to read about it.

    Reply
  28. Arabia Felix. I’m told parts of that coast line are so beautiful they count as one of the wonders of the world.
    Alexandria is one of the many places I’d love to visit. If I can’t make it in person, I’d want to read about it.

    Reply
  29. Arabia Felix. I’m told parts of that coast line are so beautiful they count as one of the wonders of the world.
    Alexandria is one of the many places I’d love to visit. If I can’t make it in person, I’d want to read about it.

    Reply
  30. Arabia Felix. I’m told parts of that coast line are so beautiful they count as one of the wonders of the world.
    Alexandria is one of the many places I’d love to visit. If I can’t make it in person, I’d want to read about it.

    Reply
  31. Ancient, complex cultures in India. One could wander into studying them and never stop. But someone who understood and knew these places and times would have an absolutely wonderful ‘base of operations’ for a series.

    Reply
  32. Ancient, complex cultures in India. One could wander into studying them and never stop. But someone who understood and knew these places and times would have an absolutely wonderful ‘base of operations’ for a series.

    Reply
  33. Ancient, complex cultures in India. One could wander into studying them and never stop. But someone who understood and knew these places and times would have an absolutely wonderful ‘base of operations’ for a series.

    Reply
  34. Ancient, complex cultures in India. One could wander into studying them and never stop. But someone who understood and knew these places and times would have an absolutely wonderful ‘base of operations’ for a series.

    Reply
  35. Ancient, complex cultures in India. One could wander into studying them and never stop. But someone who understood and knew these places and times would have an absolutely wonderful ‘base of operations’ for a series.

    Reply
  36. Russia during the time of Peter the Great. Fascinating how much Russia changed during his reign to become more “Western” even moving the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  37. Russia during the time of Peter the Great. Fascinating how much Russia changed during his reign to become more “Western” even moving the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  38. Russia during the time of Peter the Great. Fascinating how much Russia changed during his reign to become more “Western” even moving the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  39. Russia during the time of Peter the Great. Fascinating how much Russia changed during his reign to become more “Western” even moving the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  40. Russia during the time of Peter the Great. Fascinating how much Russia changed during his reign to become more “Western” even moving the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

    Reply
  41. I don’t think I’m likely to ever write anything much outside 19th century Europe (or at least Europeans). The research would be too daunting. But I love to read Jeannie Lin’s books about Tang China or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries or mysteries set in ancient Rome—Lindsay Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts.

    Reply
  42. I don’t think I’m likely to ever write anything much outside 19th century Europe (or at least Europeans). The research would be too daunting. But I love to read Jeannie Lin’s books about Tang China or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries or mysteries set in ancient Rome—Lindsay Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts.

    Reply
  43. I don’t think I’m likely to ever write anything much outside 19th century Europe (or at least Europeans). The research would be too daunting. But I love to read Jeannie Lin’s books about Tang China or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries or mysteries set in ancient Rome—Lindsay Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts.

    Reply
  44. I don’t think I’m likely to ever write anything much outside 19th century Europe (or at least Europeans). The research would be too daunting. But I love to read Jeannie Lin’s books about Tang China or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries or mysteries set in ancient Rome—Lindsay Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts.

    Reply
  45. I don’t think I’m likely to ever write anything much outside 19th century Europe (or at least Europeans). The research would be too daunting. But I love to read Jeannie Lin’s books about Tang China or Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries or mysteries set in ancient Rome—Lindsay Davis, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts.

    Reply
  46. I read a Victorian by a brand new author recently, and it took place almost entirely in Italy. I thought that was really interesting, and there was so much research that had gone into it. It might not sound all that exotic, but mainland Europe (bar the odd venture into France during the Napoleonic Wars) still seems taboo for a lot of historical romance readers.
    As someone whose family members have lost both homes and livelihoods since Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and whose Ukrainian church here in *Australia* was trashed by hired Russian thugs only a few months ago, I’ve got to say I’m not getting this endless romanticisation of Russia… And, yes, I have been to Russia multiple times, and even have family there.

    Reply
  47. I read a Victorian by a brand new author recently, and it took place almost entirely in Italy. I thought that was really interesting, and there was so much research that had gone into it. It might not sound all that exotic, but mainland Europe (bar the odd venture into France during the Napoleonic Wars) still seems taboo for a lot of historical romance readers.
    As someone whose family members have lost both homes and livelihoods since Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and whose Ukrainian church here in *Australia* was trashed by hired Russian thugs only a few months ago, I’ve got to say I’m not getting this endless romanticisation of Russia… And, yes, I have been to Russia multiple times, and even have family there.

    Reply
  48. I read a Victorian by a brand new author recently, and it took place almost entirely in Italy. I thought that was really interesting, and there was so much research that had gone into it. It might not sound all that exotic, but mainland Europe (bar the odd venture into France during the Napoleonic Wars) still seems taboo for a lot of historical romance readers.
    As someone whose family members have lost both homes and livelihoods since Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and whose Ukrainian church here in *Australia* was trashed by hired Russian thugs only a few months ago, I’ve got to say I’m not getting this endless romanticisation of Russia… And, yes, I have been to Russia multiple times, and even have family there.

    Reply
  49. I read a Victorian by a brand new author recently, and it took place almost entirely in Italy. I thought that was really interesting, and there was so much research that had gone into it. It might not sound all that exotic, but mainland Europe (bar the odd venture into France during the Napoleonic Wars) still seems taboo for a lot of historical romance readers.
    As someone whose family members have lost both homes and livelihoods since Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and whose Ukrainian church here in *Australia* was trashed by hired Russian thugs only a few months ago, I’ve got to say I’m not getting this endless romanticisation of Russia… And, yes, I have been to Russia multiple times, and even have family there.

    Reply
  50. I read a Victorian by a brand new author recently, and it took place almost entirely in Italy. I thought that was really interesting, and there was so much research that had gone into it. It might not sound all that exotic, but mainland Europe (bar the odd venture into France during the Napoleonic Wars) still seems taboo for a lot of historical romance readers.
    As someone whose family members have lost both homes and livelihoods since Russia invaded Ukraine this year, and whose Ukrainian church here in *Australia* was trashed by hired Russian thugs only a few months ago, I’ve got to say I’m not getting this endless romanticisation of Russia… And, yes, I have been to Russia multiple times, and even have family there.

    Reply
  51. Anne,
    I don’t understand your publishers. As an American reader, I would love to read historical-romances set in Australia. I love the “Miss Fisher” mystery series”, which is shown on PBS here, and though it is set in the 1920s, I love that it is in Australia.

    Reply
  52. Anne,
    I don’t understand your publishers. As an American reader, I would love to read historical-romances set in Australia. I love the “Miss Fisher” mystery series”, which is shown on PBS here, and though it is set in the 1920s, I love that it is in Australia.

    Reply
  53. Anne,
    I don’t understand your publishers. As an American reader, I would love to read historical-romances set in Australia. I love the “Miss Fisher” mystery series”, which is shown on PBS here, and though it is set in the 1920s, I love that it is in Australia.

    Reply
  54. Anne,
    I don’t understand your publishers. As an American reader, I would love to read historical-romances set in Australia. I love the “Miss Fisher” mystery series”, which is shown on PBS here, and though it is set in the 1920s, I love that it is in Australia.

    Reply
  55. Anne,
    I don’t understand your publishers. As an American reader, I would love to read historical-romances set in Australia. I love the “Miss Fisher” mystery series”, which is shown on PBS here, and though it is set in the 1920s, I love that it is in Australia.

    Reply
  56. Joanna, I see we share the yen for fantasy. I have written some SF and fantasy (but no real fantasy published.) I love the expanded possibilities in storylines, especially relationships. Mating rules, for example. They can be set up to create relationship dynamics very different to ones most people have operated by.
    There’s an interesting SF book called Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury about a society with complex group marriages. Then there’s the lovely A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer, where there are so few men their mating has to be carefully managed by the women…

    Reply
  57. Joanna, I see we share the yen for fantasy. I have written some SF and fantasy (but no real fantasy published.) I love the expanded possibilities in storylines, especially relationships. Mating rules, for example. They can be set up to create relationship dynamics very different to ones most people have operated by.
    There’s an interesting SF book called Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury about a society with complex group marriages. Then there’s the lovely A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer, where there are so few men their mating has to be carefully managed by the women…

    Reply
  58. Joanna, I see we share the yen for fantasy. I have written some SF and fantasy (but no real fantasy published.) I love the expanded possibilities in storylines, especially relationships. Mating rules, for example. They can be set up to create relationship dynamics very different to ones most people have operated by.
    There’s an interesting SF book called Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury about a society with complex group marriages. Then there’s the lovely A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer, where there are so few men their mating has to be carefully managed by the women…

    Reply
  59. Joanna, I see we share the yen for fantasy. I have written some SF and fantasy (but no real fantasy published.) I love the expanded possibilities in storylines, especially relationships. Mating rules, for example. They can be set up to create relationship dynamics very different to ones most people have operated by.
    There’s an interesting SF book called Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury about a society with complex group marriages. Then there’s the lovely A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer, where there are so few men their mating has to be carefully managed by the women…

    Reply
  60. Joanna, I see we share the yen for fantasy. I have written some SF and fantasy (but no real fantasy published.) I love the expanded possibilities in storylines, especially relationships. Mating rules, for example. They can be set up to create relationship dynamics very different to ones most people have operated by.
    There’s an interesting SF book called Courtship Rite by Donald Kingsbury about a society with complex group marriages. Then there’s the lovely A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer, where there are so few men their mating has to be carefully managed by the women…

    Reply
  61. Shannon, I’ve been to Aden, and parts of the middle East, but unfortunately I was a child at the time. I absorbed a lot of sensory impressions and found it quite fascinating—and I have a number of friends who come from various parts of the Middle East as well, but most of my research for the book I set in Egypt came from journals of English people visiting it in my time period.
    I think that’s the prime difficulty with the more exotic locations for historicals — we not only have to know and understand the physical/cultural setting, we then have to place it in time.
    I haven’t read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria quartet since I first read the books as a teen — his brother’s books were more to my taste at the time. 🙂

    Reply
  62. Shannon, I’ve been to Aden, and parts of the middle East, but unfortunately I was a child at the time. I absorbed a lot of sensory impressions and found it quite fascinating—and I have a number of friends who come from various parts of the Middle East as well, but most of my research for the book I set in Egypt came from journals of English people visiting it in my time period.
    I think that’s the prime difficulty with the more exotic locations for historicals — we not only have to know and understand the physical/cultural setting, we then have to place it in time.
    I haven’t read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria quartet since I first read the books as a teen — his brother’s books were more to my taste at the time. 🙂

    Reply
  63. Shannon, I’ve been to Aden, and parts of the middle East, but unfortunately I was a child at the time. I absorbed a lot of sensory impressions and found it quite fascinating—and I have a number of friends who come from various parts of the Middle East as well, but most of my research for the book I set in Egypt came from journals of English people visiting it in my time period.
    I think that’s the prime difficulty with the more exotic locations for historicals — we not only have to know and understand the physical/cultural setting, we then have to place it in time.
    I haven’t read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria quartet since I first read the books as a teen — his brother’s books were more to my taste at the time. 🙂

    Reply
  64. Shannon, I’ve been to Aden, and parts of the middle East, but unfortunately I was a child at the time. I absorbed a lot of sensory impressions and found it quite fascinating—and I have a number of friends who come from various parts of the Middle East as well, but most of my research for the book I set in Egypt came from journals of English people visiting it in my time period.
    I think that’s the prime difficulty with the more exotic locations for historicals — we not only have to know and understand the physical/cultural setting, we then have to place it in time.
    I haven’t read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria quartet since I first read the books as a teen — his brother’s books were more to my taste at the time. 🙂

    Reply
  65. Shannon, I’ve been to Aden, and parts of the middle East, but unfortunately I was a child at the time. I absorbed a lot of sensory impressions and found it quite fascinating—and I have a number of friends who come from various parts of the Middle East as well, but most of my research for the book I set in Egypt came from journals of English people visiting it in my time period.
    I think that’s the prime difficulty with the more exotic locations for historicals — we not only have to know and understand the physical/cultural setting, we then have to place it in time.
    I haven’t read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria quartet since I first read the books as a teen — his brother’s books were more to my taste at the time. 🙂

    Reply
  66. Sonya, I think if we go back long enough in any history, we’ll find the roots of ugliness and intolerance and hate. Unfortunately we are a tribal people and rifts exist in any culture. For instance I find it deeply tragic and ironic that the Scots who were driven off their lands during the Highland Clearances did much the same to the native people of the countries they colonized – with no sense of repeating history in the worst way.

    Reply
  67. Sonya, I think if we go back long enough in any history, we’ll find the roots of ugliness and intolerance and hate. Unfortunately we are a tribal people and rifts exist in any culture. For instance I find it deeply tragic and ironic that the Scots who were driven off their lands during the Highland Clearances did much the same to the native people of the countries they colonized – with no sense of repeating history in the worst way.

    Reply
  68. Sonya, I think if we go back long enough in any history, we’ll find the roots of ugliness and intolerance and hate. Unfortunately we are a tribal people and rifts exist in any culture. For instance I find it deeply tragic and ironic that the Scots who were driven off their lands during the Highland Clearances did much the same to the native people of the countries they colonized – with no sense of repeating history in the worst way.

    Reply
  69. Sonya, I think if we go back long enough in any history, we’ll find the roots of ugliness and intolerance and hate. Unfortunately we are a tribal people and rifts exist in any culture. For instance I find it deeply tragic and ironic that the Scots who were driven off their lands during the Highland Clearances did much the same to the native people of the countries they colonized – with no sense of repeating history in the worst way.

    Reply
  70. Sonya, I think if we go back long enough in any history, we’ll find the roots of ugliness and intolerance and hate. Unfortunately we are a tribal people and rifts exist in any culture. For instance I find it deeply tragic and ironic that the Scots who were driven off their lands during the Highland Clearances did much the same to the native people of the countries they colonized – with no sense of repeating history in the worst way.

    Reply
  71. Thanks, Alison, but publishers generally make their decisions based on numbers of other similar books. I know of several people — wonderful writers— who’d proposed stories set in France during the revolution. “French Revolution doesn’t sell” they were told.
    Then along came Joanna Bourne. . . and proved them wrong. 🙂
    The MIss Fisher series is fun, isn’t it? And the costumes are so fabulous. I love watching it and playing “spot the locality” too, as it;’s set in my home town. But the TV series was made by the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) and they specialize in quality local product. It;s the quality product that makes the difference of course, but *somebody* has to make the leap of faith.

    Reply
  72. Thanks, Alison, but publishers generally make their decisions based on numbers of other similar books. I know of several people — wonderful writers— who’d proposed stories set in France during the revolution. “French Revolution doesn’t sell” they were told.
    Then along came Joanna Bourne. . . and proved them wrong. 🙂
    The MIss Fisher series is fun, isn’t it? And the costumes are so fabulous. I love watching it and playing “spot the locality” too, as it;’s set in my home town. But the TV series was made by the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) and they specialize in quality local product. It;s the quality product that makes the difference of course, but *somebody* has to make the leap of faith.

    Reply
  73. Thanks, Alison, but publishers generally make their decisions based on numbers of other similar books. I know of several people — wonderful writers— who’d proposed stories set in France during the revolution. “French Revolution doesn’t sell” they were told.
    Then along came Joanna Bourne. . . and proved them wrong. 🙂
    The MIss Fisher series is fun, isn’t it? And the costumes are so fabulous. I love watching it and playing “spot the locality” too, as it;’s set in my home town. But the TV series was made by the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) and they specialize in quality local product. It;s the quality product that makes the difference of course, but *somebody* has to make the leap of faith.

    Reply
  74. Thanks, Alison, but publishers generally make their decisions based on numbers of other similar books. I know of several people — wonderful writers— who’d proposed stories set in France during the revolution. “French Revolution doesn’t sell” they were told.
    Then along came Joanna Bourne. . . and proved them wrong. 🙂
    The MIss Fisher series is fun, isn’t it? And the costumes are so fabulous. I love watching it and playing “spot the locality” too, as it;’s set in my home town. But the TV series was made by the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) and they specialize in quality local product. It;s the quality product that makes the difference of course, but *somebody* has to make the leap of faith.

    Reply
  75. Thanks, Alison, but publishers generally make their decisions based on numbers of other similar books. I know of several people — wonderful writers— who’d proposed stories set in France during the revolution. “French Revolution doesn’t sell” they were told.
    Then along came Joanna Bourne. . . and proved them wrong. 🙂
    The MIss Fisher series is fun, isn’t it? And the costumes are so fabulous. I love watching it and playing “spot the locality” too, as it;’s set in my home town. But the TV series was made by the ABC (Australia’s version of the BBC) and they specialize in quality local product. It;s the quality product that makes the difference of course, but *somebody* has to make the leap of faith.

    Reply
  76. Hi Jo —
    One of the more interesting examinations of man/woman society was LeGuinn’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’. I read that many years ago.
    I always feel speculative writers lose a great opportunity when they don’t read anthropology. Real people will do anything when it comes to love and marriage. Anything.

    Reply
  77. Hi Jo —
    One of the more interesting examinations of man/woman society was LeGuinn’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’. I read that many years ago.
    I always feel speculative writers lose a great opportunity when they don’t read anthropology. Real people will do anything when it comes to love and marriage. Anything.

    Reply
  78. Hi Jo —
    One of the more interesting examinations of man/woman society was LeGuinn’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’. I read that many years ago.
    I always feel speculative writers lose a great opportunity when they don’t read anthropology. Real people will do anything when it comes to love and marriage. Anything.

    Reply
  79. Hi Jo —
    One of the more interesting examinations of man/woman society was LeGuinn’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’. I read that many years ago.
    I always feel speculative writers lose a great opportunity when they don’t read anthropology. Real people will do anything when it comes to love and marriage. Anything.

    Reply
  80. Hi Jo —
    One of the more interesting examinations of man/woman society was LeGuinn’s ‘Left Hand of Darkness’. I read that many years ago.
    I always feel speculative writers lose a great opportunity when they don’t read anthropology. Real people will do anything when it comes to love and marriage. Anything.

    Reply
  81. Even Georgian or Regency London can feel a bit exotic to present-day readers, but medieval settings are more so. Still I do enjoy books set in more out-of-the-way places, too. One that comes to mind is Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Another is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.
    Vicki W. – I recall reading a Dorothy Gilman book years ago that was more of a romantic adventure with an exotic location than a mystery. It was called Caravan.

    Reply
  82. Even Georgian or Regency London can feel a bit exotic to present-day readers, but medieval settings are more so. Still I do enjoy books set in more out-of-the-way places, too. One that comes to mind is Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Another is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.
    Vicki W. – I recall reading a Dorothy Gilman book years ago that was more of a romantic adventure with an exotic location than a mystery. It was called Caravan.

    Reply
  83. Even Georgian or Regency London can feel a bit exotic to present-day readers, but medieval settings are more so. Still I do enjoy books set in more out-of-the-way places, too. One that comes to mind is Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Another is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.
    Vicki W. – I recall reading a Dorothy Gilman book years ago that was more of a romantic adventure with an exotic location than a mystery. It was called Caravan.

    Reply
  84. Even Georgian or Regency London can feel a bit exotic to present-day readers, but medieval settings are more so. Still I do enjoy books set in more out-of-the-way places, too. One that comes to mind is Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Another is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.
    Vicki W. – I recall reading a Dorothy Gilman book years ago that was more of a romantic adventure with an exotic location than a mystery. It was called Caravan.

    Reply
  85. Even Georgian or Regency London can feel a bit exotic to present-day readers, but medieval settings are more so. Still I do enjoy books set in more out-of-the-way places, too. One that comes to mind is Sherry Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband. Another is Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.
    Vicki W. – I recall reading a Dorothy Gilman book years ago that was more of a romantic adventure with an exotic location than a mystery. It was called Caravan.

    Reply
  86. Thanks, Abigail, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I also understand that publishers have to operate as a business. It costs money to produce a book, and they have to weigh up the risk. Or what they perceive to be the risk. 🙂

    Reply
  87. Thanks, Abigail, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I also understand that publishers have to operate as a business. It costs money to produce a book, and they have to weigh up the risk. Or what they perceive to be the risk. 🙂

    Reply
  88. Thanks, Abigail, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I also understand that publishers have to operate as a business. It costs money to produce a book, and they have to weigh up the risk. Or what they perceive to be the risk. 🙂

    Reply
  89. Thanks, Abigail, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I also understand that publishers have to operate as a business. It costs money to produce a book, and they have to weigh up the risk. Or what they perceive to be the risk. 🙂

    Reply
  90. Thanks, Abigail, I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I also understand that publishers have to operate as a business. It costs money to produce a book, and they have to weigh up the risk. Or what they perceive to be the risk. 🙂

    Reply
  91. I love both those books, Not Quite A Husband and Mr. Impossible.
    I think also of Zoe Archer’s Tibet and Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty China. So cool.

    Reply
  92. I love both those books, Not Quite A Husband and Mr. Impossible.
    I think also of Zoe Archer’s Tibet and Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty China. So cool.

    Reply
  93. I love both those books, Not Quite A Husband and Mr. Impossible.
    I think also of Zoe Archer’s Tibet and Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty China. So cool.

    Reply
  94. I love both those books, Not Quite A Husband and Mr. Impossible.
    I think also of Zoe Archer’s Tibet and Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty China. So cool.

    Reply
  95. I love both those books, Not Quite A Husband and Mr. Impossible.
    I think also of Zoe Archer’s Tibet and Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty China. So cool.

    Reply
  96. It’s Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek. It’s my first book, published by Sourcebooks, and it was released on November 4. And needless to say, I’m feeling a bit giddy.

    Reply
  97. It’s Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek. It’s my first book, published by Sourcebooks, and it was released on November 4. And needless to say, I’m feeling a bit giddy.

    Reply
  98. It’s Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek. It’s my first book, published by Sourcebooks, and it was released on November 4. And needless to say, I’m feeling a bit giddy.

    Reply
  99. It’s Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek. It’s my first book, published by Sourcebooks, and it was released on November 4. And needless to say, I’m feeling a bit giddy.

    Reply
  100. It’s Lady Elinor’s Wicked Adventures by Lillian Marek. It’s my first book, published by Sourcebooks, and it was released on November 4. And needless to say, I’m feeling a bit giddy.

    Reply

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