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Guest blogger: Alissa Callen

29 March 2015

Alissa CallenSmall town charm

At the recent, and fabulous, ARRC2015 there was much discussion about small towns. Small towns may be insignificant, sleepy and sometimes inconsequential but in romantic fiction they are holding their own. Whether featuring in rural fiction, romantic suspense or simply in mainstream romance, small towns are in no way small in appeal.

When readers pick up a book containing a small town they instantly know what to expect. Small towns provide a setting that is easy to picture. They remind us of a time when life was not as complicated and when neighbours and communities looked out for each other. They represent simplicity and familiarity, escape and renewal. Everyone knows everyone’s name and business—which isn’t always such a good thing. Small towns can possess a gossip grapevine that can rival the local newspaper for headlines.

Small towns can also harbour secrets that can make for an interesting storyline. In some cases people in small towns think they know all that there is to know about everyone but some secrets can run deep. Small towns also provide a perfect stage for fiction. Sooner or later, characters will bump into each other, even if this is the last thing that they want to do.

Small towns can also be deceptive. Their atmosphere may seem slow-paced and easy-going but below the surface tension and emotions can simmer. Everything in a small town can become personal and heightened because people know, or can be related to, each other. Whether it is a family feud, a dispute over a fence or a wife-stealing scandal, small towns can provide a raft of possible plot threads.

So, whatever romance genre you may read, sooner or later you will be transported into the world of a colourful, close-knit community. A community that provides a perfect fictional playground and is the heart of a small town in which you feel right at home and may never want to leave.


Alissa Callen books set in small town Glenalla, NSW: Beneath Outback Skies, Down Outback Roads

Alissa Callen books set in small town Marietta, Montana: Cherish Me, Cowboy, Her Mistletoe Cowboy, Her Big Sky Cowboy, His Outback Cowgirl

You can find Alissa here: website | blog | Facebook

Down Outback RoadsDown Outback Roads

Down Outback Roads is an enthralling rural love story, about family, community and allowing yourself a second chance.

Kree Garrett’s younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing while working in the Australian outback, she races from America to join in the search.

To everyone’s relief, Seth is rescued by local volunteers and Kree finds, in an abandoned historic Cobb & Co Coach House, the opportunity to thank the community she’s fallen in love with. But it isn’t only the town she’s fallen for.

Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother’s family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago … Ewan knows he doesn’t deserve happiness, however with Kree he finds it hard to keep his distance.

Can Kree and Ewan leave the tragedies of their pasts behind long enough to find a future together?


  1. 29 March 2015 8:48 pm

    Hi Helen, Small town romances are so enjoyable to read and to write. Have fun too:)

  2. helensibbritt permalink
    29 March 2015 4:58 pm

    Hi Alissa
    I too love small town romances they really are so enjoyable 🙂 I especially love ones set in Australia

    Have Fun

  3. 29 March 2015 4:26 pm

    I Love small town stories and love the books set in Marietta.. I think I have read most of them

    • 29 March 2015 8:45 pm

      Hi Barbara, that’s wonderful you have read so many Marietta stories. It was lovely meeting you at ARRC:)

  4. 29 March 2015 2:31 pm

    Beautifully summed up, Alissa. I’m a huge fan and always looking for more. It’s just wonderful to see Australian rural communities holding their own in a competitive book world. All the best with your new book. I’ll be looking out for it. 😄

    • 29 March 2015 8:44 pm

      Thanks so much Rosalie:) There is definitely something special about our Aussie rural communities.

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