Guest blogger: Alli Sinclair
When I was a kid I’d study the world map and dream about adventures in exotic lands. I’d immerse myself in books—fiction and non-fiction—and discover destinations that ignited my imagination and spoke to my heart. As I grew older I sought books that combined foreign destinations and romance and, thankfully, there are many out there to choose from.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced some amazing places—Argentina, Peru, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, Belize, Guatemala, Ecuador … the list goes on—and I love to use my knowledge of a particular destination when choosing a setting for my stories. My first book, Luna Tango, was set in romantic Argentina and my short story ‘Song of the Sea’ (Hot Stuff: Surfing Love surf anthology) was set on the sun-drenched beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. My recently released book, Under the Spanish Stars, and the prequel Dreaming of Spain, are set in one of the most gorgeous regions of Spain—Granada.
Nestled at the feet of the picturesque mountains of Sierra Nevada, Granada is rich with cultural heritage and has been heavily influenced by the Romans, Moors and gypsies (originally from India). With centuries old buildings, intricately carved window frames and doorways, flamenco caves on the hillside and aromatic spices wafting along narrow cobblestoned streets, it’s impossible not to be taken by the romance of this city. Add in the Alhambra, a magnificent palace that sits high on a hill and contains magical gardens full of orange blossoms, Cyprus trees and hidden fountains and ponds, and you have the perfect location to set a romance. What’s not to love about a city that has as many secrets as the characters I write about?
By choosing the right destination for a story, it can add complex layers and take on human attributes—places can have flaws; shady pasts; evoke love and longing as well as influence the actions and feelings of the human characters. Whether it’s a beach, ancient city, or far-off exotic land with a fascinating culture, the perfect destination can transport readers to an unforgettable world that enhances the romance of the story.
With so many amazing places and cultures all over the world, I doubt I’ll ever run out of destinations to write or read about. What about you? Have you ever been to, or read about, a place that has captured your heart? Where would you like to go to next—even if it’s between the covers of a book?
Under the Spanish Stars
An Australian woman’s life-changing journey, a secret from the past, a passionate encounter …
Charlotte Kavanagh’s beloved grandma Katarina Sanchez is gravely ill, so when she begs Charlotte to travel to her homeland in Andalucía to uncover the truth behind a mysterious painting, Charlotte agrees. Taking leave from her soul-destroying job and stalled life in Australia, Charlotte embarks on a quest through Granada’s ancient cobble-stoned streets and vibrant neighbourhoods. There she meets Mateo Vives, a flamenco guitarist with a dark past, and quickly becomes entangled in the world of flamenco and gypsies that ignites a passion she had thought lost.
But the mystery surrounding the painting deepens, reaching back in time to the war-torn Spain of the 1940s and Charlotte discovers her grandmother’s connection to the Spanish underground. Who is her grandmother, really? What is Mateo’s connection to her family history? And why is finding answers to a family mystery turning into a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte?
Weighed down by secrets, betrayals and shattered relationships, Charlotte finds herself questioning the true meaning of heritage, family and love.
Published by Harlequin MIRA (Australia). Under the Spanish Stars is available in-store and online in print and ebook.
Alli Sinclair is a multi award-winning author of books that combine travel, mystery, and romance. An adventurer at heart, Alli has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains and immersed herself in an array of exotic destinations, cultures, and languages. Published in Australia and overseas, Alli writes stories that capture the romance and thrill of discovering new destinations and people. Luna Tango was Alli’s debut novel and Under the Spanish Stars will be released in February, 2016. Alli volunteers as an author role model with Books in Homes, promoting literacy and reading amongst young Australians.