The Third Character: Why A Great Setting is Essential to Short Romance
By Carla Laureano
I’m a sucker for a romantic setting, whether it’s my favorite overseas spots or little-known corners of my own hometown. But where setting can be a nice surprise in a full-length book, it’s absolutely crucial in a novella!
Romance novellas are short and sweet, and they focus exclusively on the falling-in-love butterflies between the main couple, without much distraction from outside plot or secondary characters. Setting adds a necessary texture and interest to an otherwise straightforward story, and it can either act as a main feature in the couple’s burgeoning romance or as a source of conflict that threaten their happiness. So with that kind of importance in the story, why not make it a great one?
My Discovered by Love novella quartet does just that—it features some of the most beautiful settings in the world as a background for sweet, heart-warming romance.
In Jilted, a private island off the coast of Belize serves as both the catalyst and the backdrop for a whirlwind romance between a jilted groom, Derek, and the island’s private chef-turned-tour guide, Bethany. As they tour Mayan ruins, sample street food in charming mainland towns, and bask in the sunshine and turquoise waters, it’s hard to imagine not falling in love with an intriguing stranger!
Starstruck takes the excitement of London and the whimsy of a comic and fandom convention to bring a fantasy novelist back together with her estranged actor boyfriend when he’s subbed in as the romantic hero in a last-minute cast change for her TV adaptation. As the clock counts down toward the cast announcement and Nick scrambles to get Christine’s approval for the role of his lifetime, London Fan Fest is not just an entertaining background but a challenge to overcome.
For Snowbound, I stuck closer to home—my beloved Colorado—but set the story in the high country near the ritzy enclave of Vail. This time the setting is a straight-up source of conflict when two rival architects get snowed in at the site of the dream renovation and are forced to work through their differences to make it out in one piece! (Still, I’m not sure it’s a complete hardship, being stuck in front of a roaring fire in a multi-million-dollar ski lodge with your grad school crush…)
And last, Sunswept takes us back around to another sunny, tropical location, this time Islamorada, a village that stretches across six of Florida’s keys. When a tech entrepreneur reluctantly comes to Florida to witness his ex-girlfriend marry his college roommate and ends up double-booked in a beach house with a real estate agent there for a conference, they decide to turn an inconvenience into a solution to their plus-one problems. Which means that the lovely ocean-front cottage is both conflict and catalyst for their happily ever after!
Clearly, I’ve caught the travel bug hard with these novellas, and my biggest goal was to make readers fall in love with these beloved settings as much as the characters. Because the only thing better than falling in love is having a beautiful sunset to ride into together.
About the Author
Carla Laureano is the two-time RITA® award-winning author of over a dozen books, spanning the genres of contemporary romance and Celtic fantasy. A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked in sales and marketing for more than a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write full-time. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, two sons, and an opinionated tortoiseshell cat named Willow. Visit her website at carlalaureano.com to download the romance novella, JILTED, for free!
(Posts go live on the day they’re scheduled.)
One winner will receive a $75 (USD) Amazon E-Gift Card
Ends December 29, 2021