Destination Romance is a gorgeous, travel-themed anthology of ten stories by different authors. The common thread is that all the adventures start with a trip to a small town travel agent, Maggie Redmond. From there, the stories spread out to explore the highways and byways of romance. My story is ‘Living in the Past’, and my main character, Naomi, wants to take a hands-on approach to Europe’s medieval history.
Ten travellers with escape on their mind get an unexpected bonus when they stop by J’Adore Travel Boutique in Heart Springs.
One by One, travel agent Maggie Redmond, books them into the trip of a lifetime and they have no idea their journey will lead to…
Q. Where did the idea for your story come from?
I’ve always loved medieval history; reading it, studying it, teaching it, visiting it. When we went to Europe, we visited Provins, the medieval town that the characters visit early in the story. Those experiences were all mine. And there is a real castle, being constructed using medieval techniques in France, though not in the same area. Guedelon features in my story and provided some of the inspiration. When I decided to write a story for the competition that led to Destination Romance, and I could go anywhere…. Provins and Medieval France was my go-to destination.
Q. Why do you write romance?
Romance is a perfect world; where heroes are good and honourable, where the girl eventually ends up with Mr Right, where happily ever after is the rule. Who wouldn’t want to write romance? It’s relationship magic.
Q. Is there anything which sets it apart from any other book in the genre?
Destination Romance is the best of both worlds, consistency and variety in one. The stories are all a similar size. They are all linked. But they are all different…. Different characters, locales, themes, authors (obviously). There is something for everyone.
Q. What, if any, were the challenges you faced writing your book?
I wrote the story under several constraints. I had to include some elements of the common set up, for context. I had to write less than 12000 words (just made it). And within that, I had to tell a vital, appealing story. I had to build a vibrant world and experiences for my character. And she had to find love…. Hey, piece of cake… (kidding…)
Q.Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?
I went to Provins, which is a UNESCO World Heritage town an hour outside of Paris, in 2014. To write the story, I pulled up all our old photos and immersed myself in that wonderful day again. And of course I watched all the clips I could find of Guedelon. Then I just had to wish for those experiences and they flowed onto the page.
Q. What is the underlying theme of your book, if any?
I guess it’s “to thine own self be true”. My character is over doing what other people want. She is pursuing her own impractical dream. I guess it is a secret wish…
Q. Would you call your hero and/or heroine a typical romance hero and/or heroine? Why not? What sets him/her apart from the men/women we usually encounter in romances?
They are ordinary people who have uncommon interests. They aren’t looking for love… they are just being friendly, enjoying the moment. But respect and liking turn to something deeper. It is a gentle love story.
Q. What was your inspiration for your MC?
Oh definitely me. I would love to go live in medieval France for a while. But I never had that freedom to travel… I married young and had babies. I don’t regret it… they turned out pretty well… but the backpacking and other experiences that so many people take for granted, I can only imagine. So I did.
Q. What kind of research did you undertake when writing?
I visited Provins and I have a reasonable grasp of life in a medieval town. One of my sons is a medieval reenactor as well, so that helps. I guess a life spent researching the medieval period had to come in useful sometime.
Q. What was your favourite part in writing this book?
Imagining their world and building it, stone by stone, in my mind. Having to force myself to watch documentaries…. Amusing myself with the byplay between the characters. Good times!
Q. Besides the gorgeous cover, what about this story will draw your reader into your world?
I think the variety of the stories is appealing, and the beautiful places you can visit, the experiences you can vicariously share. It’s awesome.
Q. So, where can we buy this book!?
You can visit, https://www.amazon.com.au/Destination-Romance-Serenity-Press/dp/0648310612 or through the Serenity Press Website.
Q. How would readers connect with You
I’m on Facebook (isn’t everyone) @MelaniePageAuthor
and also accessible through the Bookbaybz site!
Excerpt from Melanie’s book, Living in the Past.
Lorraine gave Nae a large basket, rather like the one Red Riding Hood took to Grandma’s house, with chunks of bread, cheese, berries and large jars with a wax and cloth stopper in the top, and comprehensive instructions. They dropped lunch at house five for Carl and Paul, and went on, up a narrow track and into the forest.
Here the sounds of industry were chased away by birdsong as they walked through a verdant paradise. With the swish of her gown and Phillip in his long grey tunic and hose beside her, Nae felt as though she had been dropped bodily in the thirteenth century. Mildly awed, Nae felt her foot strike against the rough path. As she corrected her stumble, her gait hitched slightly.
Phillip misinterpreted the motion. ‘Where are my manners? I should be carrying that basket.’ He reached out to take it from her.
She laughed and swung away. ‘No way, mister. No self-respecting peasant would relieve a woman’s burdens.’
He closed one hand around the handle and they stopped. There was a hush as though the sounds of the forest had been suddenly muted. Their eyes met and held. ‘No self-respecting peasant would slip away with a lovely woman and not make the most of it.’ And then he bent his lips to hers.