07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oh, Canada!

Hi.  My name is Amber Carew and I write romance in several sub-genres, such as fantasy, sci fi, contemporary, and suspense.  I also write erotic romance as Opal Carew.

I’d like to thank Judith Ashley for asking me to be a guest blogger at Romancing the Genres.  Since I am Canadian, and tomorrow is Canada Day, I thought I’d talk about our wonderful national holiday.  Like Independence Day in the U.S., Canada Day is the day we celebrate our pride in our country.

I live just outside Ottawa, the nation’s capital, and Canada Day is a special treat here.  People flock from across the country to show their national pride.  Major roads in the downtown core are closed off and the festivities take place on the streets, in downtown parks and on Parliament Hill.

In the parks there are a variety of cultural performances and special activities aimed at families and children.  On Parliament Hill, there are events all day long, including ceremonial events, musical and dance performances, a concert in the evening and, of course, fireworks once it gets dark.

Canada Day Fireworks in the Capital
(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncc-ccn/4639009528/in/set-72157624009156993)

Most people wear red and white, and many carry flags.  People even wear the flag:  as capes, on clothing (such as T-shirts or hats), and even on their skin, using face painting or temporary tattoos.
Aside from the huge celebration in downtown Ottawa, most communities have their own events and fireworks going on.  When my kids were young, we usually went to the local events, such as a pancake breakfast at the school, then a fair with rides and bouncy castles, food, and music, and when it got dark, we’d watch the fireworks.  Now my kids, who are in their early twenties, go downtown with their friends.  Of course, there are beer tents and alcoholic beverages available in the parks, so they enjoy partying in true Canadian style!  Fun, eh?

Canada Day in the Capital
(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncc-ccn/4639009360/in/set-72157624009156993)

I still remember the first time we took the boys downtown for the celebrations.  They were both very young.  Since I worked at the Privy Council Office then, when it started getting dark, we went to my office to watch the fireworks from my window, which had a perfect view of the Hill.  (I really didn’t want to worry about toddlers potentially getting lost in a large, crowded park after dark.)  Afterward, we braved the crowds heading for public transit, which is free that day, and crammed aboard one of the steady stream of buses passing the downtown core.  The kids had a really good time that day, but a couple of years later when I asked them about it, the only thing they remembered was the bus ride!  (They’d never been on a bus before.)

 Of course, I’m very proud to be a Canadian.  It can be frustrating when I’m told by my publisher that they don’t want me to set my books in Canada.  They feel having a U.S. setting will have a wider appeal.  They have let me set a few in Canada, but I have to keep it low-key.  My Opal books that are set in Canada are Twin Fantasies and Total Abandon.  Although you won’t see many references that make that clear, I have had several Canadian readers tell me they’ve recognized places in the story.

All my Amber books are self-published, so I have much more freedom there.  My Amber books set in Canada include:  The CinderellaObsession, Virgin Wanted, Spellbound, I Dream of Genie, Christmas Angel, and Virtual Love (which will probably be renamed Man of Her Dreams by the time this is posted.)

So what about you?  For U.S. readers, do you like settings in Canada or other countries?  For readers outside the U.S., what settings do you prefer?

Thanks for reading!

Amber Carew


Paty Jager said...

Hi Amber, Welcome to Romancing the Genres.

Growing up, I lived in a small community and my knowledge for the world outside my community came through books so I love to read about places other than where I live.

Congratulations on all the books!

Diana Mcc. said...

Hi, Amber! (waving from Bend, Oregon) I enjoy reading books set in other countries. Like Paty said it's a good way to learn about different places in this great, big world of ours. Books are my window to the world! Congrats on all your books!

Susan Lyons/Fox said...

Hi Amber/Opal! And happy Canada Day to a fellow Canadian. I'm really sorry you haven't been able to set more of your books in Canada. When I first started writing romance, I was told that Canadian settings wouldn't sell. I was told that Americans only wanted to read about the States. Hmmm. That didn't seem right to me. I mean, if you live in a small town in Iowa, are you going to choose a book set in Seattle over one set in Vancouver, BC? Why would you? I honestly didn't think Americans were prejudiced against Canada, and I kept writing Canadian settings. Fortunately, neither Kensington nor Berkley seem to have the slightest bit of problem with my settings, bless their hearts! I think that sometimes readers get a kick out of reading about their own town, and sometimes they're interested in learning about a new place, but mostly they're just interested in a good story!

Judith Ashley said...

Whole worlds are open to me through books and I love reading about new places and other times. Growing up I'd get lost in my books.

Thanks for an interesting and educational post, Amber/Opal.

Opal Carew said...

Hi. Sorry for checking in so late! We had unexpected guests all weekend and it totally messed up my sense of time.

Paty and Diana, thanks for the congrats on my books. It certainly has been a dream come true for me.

Susan, I'm glad your publishers let you write about Canada. It really does seem to depend on the publisher and I think often the editor.

Judith, I agree with you. Although I love reading books set in places I've lived, I like reading about other places, too! Even more so because, as you said, it opens up whole new worlds.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.