Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

Location, Location, Location

I was thinking a lot about book settings while I was on holiday in the gorgeous jewel that is Sri Lanka earlier this month. Specifically, I started wondering why – with all the brilliant, exotic, exciting places I’ve visited over the years – I have set just about every one of my books in Australia. And not just Australia, but urban Australia. And not just urban Australia, but Sydney!

Fling cover medI’ve stepped out of the country just once – for my Harlequin medical, From Fling To Forever, which globetrotted its way from Cambodia to London. (Although, come to think of it, even that one started with a wedding in Sydney!)

As a reader, I’ve been known to obsess over a locale or two. It’s no accident that every time I revisit a Poldark novel, I find myself heading for Cornwall shortly afterwards. I’m also a sucker for anything set in ancient Egypt. And don’t get me started on the Brontes and the Yorkshire Moors.

Poldark med
Cornwall, here I come…


But as a writer, something different happens once the words are flowing. The setting recedes, and all I can think about is what’s happening between the hero and the heroine. And I can always see them, so clearly, living in their Sydney terrace houses or harbour-view apartments, walking the same streets that I do, sipping coffee at my local cafés and cocktails at my favourite bars, shopping where I shop.

Now, I’m crazy about Sydney and there’s nothing I like better than sharing my wonderful city with readers – but I’m going on the record right here to say I’m going to mix it up a little here and there in the future, because I’ve had escapades worthy of some fictional attention all over the world – from Chengdu to Port Moresby to Mumbai to Abu Dhabi to Portofino to Athens.

Monkeys - med quality
Monkeys in the trees in Sri Lanka

So although I spent my Sri Lanka time sitting under a steamy sun, in a glorious villa courtyard with a couple of monkeys swinging their way around the plants, tapping out scenes set in – drum roll  – Sydney? Well, watch this space…

Surry trees - med
The Sydney equivalent of monkeys in the trees

I’d love to hear what you think! Is the setting a crucial component of your reading pleasure? Do you have any favourite places? Are you happier reading a story set in  a place you’re familiar with, or do you prefer exploring other worlds?

And if you quite like a little bit of Sydney, you might be interested in taking a peek at my latest book, Wanting Mr Wrong. The heroine, not surprisingly, lives just one street away from me!

WantingMrWrong_FINAL_Jpeg-1 (med)Meanwhile, I’d love to see you on Facebook and/or Twitter!


Evie Parker has never been one to swoon after celebrities – give her a neuroscientist over an actor any day! So when she develops her first movie-star crush, she’s determined to date her way out of it, starting with the next good-looking doctor she sees. Yet hovering on the fringes of her life is her gay best friend’s determined brother, Jackson J Stevens, a famous actor who comes with trailing paparazzi. The one thing worse than a celebrity in Evie’s eyes is a media circus, so Jack isn’t an option no matter how hard he flirts with her. Evie knows what she doesn’t want; Jack knows what he does. And somewhere in the middle, pheromones are making things go haywire every time they’re together.


20 thoughts on “Location, Location, Location”

  1. Hi Avril! I guess it’s easier to write what you know, right? I’m a bit like you, setting most of my books in places where I’ve lived. But I love to read stories set anywhere at all- tropical sunsets add to the romance, rickety tuk-tuks add to the exotic flavour…anything goes. Maybe it’s time we all got exotic? Watch out medical readers…… 🙂

  2. I love settings everywhere. I’ve written some where I’ve been before and some where I haven’t. Since I hate flying I kind of like traveling vicariously through my characters! 😉

    1. I do love it when a story soaks me in the location – and especially if it’s somewhere I haven’t been before. I read a book last year set in Kakadu, and the location was the key to the story – but it doesn’t have to be that dramatic to suck me in.

  3. Hi Avril,
    First off, I have to tell you what a fabulous book cover your first Medical is. Wow, just beautiful. I think the most important factor for me as a reader isn’t the setting (though globe trotting through literature is definitely a perk) it’s the story between the hero and heroine. That’s the part the grabs and holds my interest in romance. But I look forward to some of these exotic trips you intend to take us Medical Romance readers on!

    1. It was a surprise- that cover – and I have to say, they captured the look of my heroine very well. I have one problem when I’m travelling – I’m so busy soaking up the place for my own enjoyment, I never think to record things that will help me write about them later!

  4. Love the cover, too Avril.
    I have to say that the setting is always superflous to me as a reader. If you can suck me into the H&H story then I usually pay little heed to the surroudnings – its the relationship I want to read about. Except if the author gets something wrong with the setting then of course it bugs the crap out of me 🙂
    Just one-clicked Wanting Mr Wrong!

    1. I always feel like I should care about the setting – but when I’m in the story, I never think about it. I do think that Wanting Mr Wrong is a very Sydney story (and I hope you like it) but it’s more about the lifestyle they’re living. The friend relationships really do remind me of my own!

  5. Wow, that is one gorgeous cover on your medical! Very romantic with her dress billowing around her legs.

    I have to admit, I love settings. Maybe because in real life I like to explore new places and taste new foods. And I’m a sucker for a hero who speaks a language other than English (I lived in Portugal and Brazil for many years, so I’m spoiled).

  6. It’s unusual for a medical cover, I think, but a real beauty. I tend to write all Aussie heroes, but I do have a very spicy story set aside in my head for a hero from the Middle East, where I lived for a few years. I love listening to Arabic. And I’m partial to a Spanish hero too – not that I’ve written one, alas.

  7. Arvil,
    I’m envious of all the places you have been. I love to travel so I like books that take me to new places. Since I live in the States Sydney is a wonderful setting. I’ve been there but a good book with the backdrop of the harbor can’t be beat.

    1. I’ve done so much travelling in the States that I feel like an honorary American, so of course I love reading books set there, too. Come to think of it, I do have a story on the back burner set in Wyoming…

  8. I think being familiar with places helps – I know as a reader I’m always excited when books are set in Western Australia! I have Wanting Mr Wrong on my Kindle to read – love the cover!

    1. I’m really glad you like that cover. And I’m happy to say I have A WA book in my head. It starts on the Indian Pacific and there may be a pink diamond in it! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  9. I had never flown in an airplane until I was 25 years old. Since then, I’ve traveled as much as possible to as many places as possible. Much of my love of travel and desire to travel comes from reading romance novels as a teenager and young adult. I loved reading about exotic places like Greece and Spain and Italy. I still do. I love it when an author knows her setting and can take me to a new place, but it really IS all about the romance. That said, I love everything I’ve read by Avril and I love Sydney!

    1. Thank you so much – and I’m glad you love Sydney. I love Greece and Italy too – and cannot believe I have not been to Spain. That’s something I’m planning on rectifying very soon.

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