I have a problem. I write historical romance and my novels are based in England, Scotland, or the far west. But, you see, I'm from Alabama.
Visitor: You're from Alabama? I know the problem? Isn't that kinda - ah - slow?
Allison: Well, not really. Did you know that in Northern Alabama, Verner Von Braun settled and started working on what became our Space program? There's even a mock-up of a shuttle at the NASA complex in Huntsville. The town is home to all kinds of computer and space companies and organizations--very twenty-first century kind of stuff.
V: Well, Alabama doesn't make anything.
A: Wrong again! Outside of Birmingham we have the Mercedes plant, makers of fine automobiles, and outside of Montgomery we have the Hyundai Automobile plant. Then of course, in Mobile, we now have the Air Bus aircraft company. So, Alabama does make things, rather large things at that. Again, modern things. Definitely not historical romance material.
V: But, there isn't that much to see in Alabama, is there? Maybe a romance about farmers.
A: On the east side of the state, we have mountains and Little River Canyon, a mini grand canyon, shear walls of stone leading to a little river which runs through the canyon, and over and through a number of waterfalls. You can't farm there.
If you'd rather spend your time shopping, you can get your fill at the beginning of the world's long garage sale, which starts in Alabama. Ever wonder what happens to all that luggage left in the airports around the country? It's for sale in the Northeastern corner of Alabama. Not very historical, I'm afraid. Of course, we have the Gulf, beautiful white sand stretching toward the placid waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And sitting proud along the shore is the Battleship, The Alabama, open for visitors daily.
My problem is—they’re not subjects for a historical romance. I write about medieval times and the 19th century west. At nearly anytime of the year, you can attend one of our many festivals. The strawberry festival is coming up, and in the fall, we have the Jazz fest, and of course the Shrimp fest. Father's Day sees the sky filled with hot air balloons. There's the granddaddy of them all. Because, truth be known, Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama long before New Orleans adopted the holiday. Mobile still offers one of the best Mardi Gras celebrations available. So I could write something based around a Mardi Gras parade. I'll have to give that a thought.
So, let's take time out to eat. You can choose a lively venue like Lulu's, owned by the sister of Jimmy Buffett, dine on oysters at the original Oyster House, or if you want simple, come on over to the "Road Kill Restaurant" where the menu changes each day and only one entre is available.
Believe me, Alabama is the place to be even if you write historical romance. Sunshine and white sand beaches give more then enough time for inspiration as I make my historical characters miserable until the HEA.
I've tried my hand at a Contemporary romance, this one takes place in Georgia. The setting for my next contemporary will definitely be Alabama. Now - who and where?
Available May 6th from www.ChampagneBooks.com
(pictures provided by author)
(pictures provided by author)