Romance author Dove Devereaux writes exclusively for Breaktime News where she shares her inspiration and passion for writing.
The inspiration of the Isles
I’ve got a confession to make – romance wasn’t top of my list of genres to write. Everything changed when I visited the beautiful Isles of Scilly a couple of years ago and knew I wanted to set a book (or three!) there.
The location is stunning, an archipelago of islands off the coast of Cornwall in the UK. Next stop, the USA.
They might not share the same temperatures as the Caribbean, but in many other ways these islands are transatlantic cousins – sharing white sandy beaches and aqua seas.
I’d visited several times before, chiefly for work. This time, as I caught boats to the off-islands, sauntered along the rustic lanes, or lay on the almost deserted beaches, I saw it in a different light. This was my setting. Question was, what was it going to be about?
It could’ve gone either way – thriller or romance. I chose romance because our world was still in the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic and I wanted to cheer people up.
My visit was in one of the rare windows where travel within the UK was allowed; we were to endure another lockdown and further restrictions a few months later.
During that time when we had to stay at home, I was lucky to spend hours back on the Isles of Scilly via my imagination.
The Island series of romantic fiction
It started with the first book, Island Revelation, which tells the story of artist Tara, whose ex, Sam, visits the islands unexpectedly demanding answers as to why she left him.
I could picture her wandering the beaches of Tresco along with her dog, seeking inspiration and not having to look too far to find it.
In book two, Hired Date on the Islands, we see what happens when Jake and CJ are thrown together for a few days in this island paradise and watch as the sparks fly between them.
You won’t have too long to wait until book three is released; all things being equal it will be later this year.
When I started to write this Island Series of romance books, I made a conscious choice to do two things. The first was to steer away from anything too racy.
This was partly because I thought I might write something cringy and be given an award for a terrible description (believe me, this does happen)!
More importantly, I wanted to focus on that magical time when a couple first meets and realises there’s chemistry there.
I enjoy writing the fizz and sparkle, when two people can’t stop thinking about each other, or are constantly drawn to each other – especially if their rational selves think that’s a bad idea.
Happily, you can include tension and desire within the pages, without having to take it any further.
Secondly, I haven’t gone down the route of anything too gritty. Sure, the characters have been influenced by things that have happened in their lives, including failed relationships, family breakdowns, betrayal.
The light touch of romance
You need that in order to understand why a character thinks or acts in a certain way. But I’ve tried to keep it light touch and behind the scenes, rather than front and centre of the plot.
There are other writers who tackle hard-hitting issues head on within the pages and weave in romance too and that’s great. I just wanted to offer something different.
In short, as we were in the throes of a pandemic, it was about giving readers the chance to escape. I wanted to remind them of the first throes of love, in a beautiful seaside setting, in an upbeat kinda way.
You’ll have to ask my readers if I succeeded – or pick up a copy yourself – you can find my books on Amazon.
For my characters, I wanted a strong, independent heroine and a slightly flawed, but warm hero.
The days when a female character was hanging about waiting for a ‘perfect’ strong man to sweep her off her feet are long gone.
Similarly, men aren’t one dimensional beings who never make mistakes and power through to flawless success. Both are better for having something more about them than the trope of yesteryear.
Although bookshops had to close for much of the pandemic, as this article from The Guardian highlights, book sales soared. It seems the value of curling up with a good story is as popular as ever and I plan to continue to write books which I hope will warm the cockles of my readers’ hearts.
Imagery kindly supplied by Dove Devereaux. Book cover: GH Design Exeter.