“A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.” ~ Katrina Mayer
I grew up in the Philippines and, coming from a poor family, I did not have the resources to travel out of my birth country until I was already a working adult. Thankfully, I had a bookworm for a father and a teacher for a mother who both encouraged me from a young age to read books that took me all over the world before I was able to actually travel to the locations in which they were set.
Judith Krantz’s I’ll Take Manhattan familiarized me with New York City landmarks prior to my first visit there in 1994 and gave me the confidence to set my novella New York Engagement there. I had seen the grandeur of the Sydney Opera House through Emma Darcy’s Harlequin romances set in Australia before I beheld it for the first time in 1998. Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence had me enthralled with the South of France years before I toured Europe in 1999. Imagine how often I’ve been to England from reading books by Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Barbara Cartland, Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Johanna Lindsey. Truly, if there’s a special passport that gets stamped every time I travel in books, I would have to renew it every year.
I want to believe that this is the same for millions of readers all over the world. In reality, however, the US-centric world of Romancelandia has limited book travel options to Asia. There’s Sonali Dev’s angsty A Distant Heart which transported me to India and Hong Kong, Sherry Thomas’s epic The Hidden Blade and My Beautiful Enemy duology set in Imperial China, and Mina V. Esguerra and her Romance Class cohorts’ works which always bring me home to the Philippines.
There are a few others but I feel strongly about the need for many more books to take readers to the biggest continent on Earth without leaving their homes. That’s why, when I started writing, I’ve chosen to conjure the magic of traveling through books by setting my first series in my home region of Southeast Asia. I’d like readers of Carpe Diem Chronicles to not only visit the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand when they read Boracay Vows, Singapore Fling, Samui Heat, and Palawan Promises, but also to experience the cultures through the languages, customs, and food I feature in them.
People fall in love all around the world. The magic is in witnessing that love blossom within the pages of a book.
*This article was first posted at Read-A-Romance-Month https://www.readaromancemonth.com/2019/08/rarm19-maida-malby-book-a-magical-trip/
It was also featured in the All the Ups and Downs blog during the Singapore Fling Book Blog Tour with Lone Star Lit.