One of the things I most enjoy about being a romance writer is getting to visit beautiful and exotic places the world over - albeit vicariously through the eyes of my characters. Having set books in South America, Saudi Arabia, Italy, France and the UK over the years, I've discovered that researching the various and unique characteristics of these far-flung lands has become a bit addictive as well as very satisfying.
Fictional people, just like flesh and blood ones, are shaped and defined by the place of their birth as much as by the families they were born into. Some characters, the hero in particular, are born and raised in privilege and duty, like the Sheikh in his desert palace. Others, although born into poverty, rise by dint of their ambition and efforts, to take their place among the rich and famous. But do either of them ever truly leave their roots behind them?
That is one of the questions I ask myself when researching the geographical background and experiences of my characters. Who a person really is underneath, his or her fundamental beliefs and life experiences, will dictate how they think and behave when placed into a situation of conflict, which is the theme of the HMB Presents novel. Knowing where they've come from helps me add layers to their characters that make them real to me to me and hopefully to the reader too.