Whenever I can, I set my contemporary romances in Canada, because…well. Canada is beautiful. That makes it romantic.
In Her Secret, His Surprise, Cass and Logan first meet at a conference in Ottawa, the capitol city of Canada. I used to work in Aerospace and Defense, the same as Cass, and I’ve gone to plenty of these conferences. Honestly, they aren’t that romantic.
Fortunately for the reader, the story then quickly shifts to the province of Nova Scotia, where I live. Despite what its name, (which is Gaelic for New Scotland) might imply, Nova Scotia was first settled by the French in 1605. And the French, as we all know, are très romantique.
The lifestyle and the people are fairly laid back here. It’s the perfect backdrop for small town romances, and I thought I’d show you why Cass and Logan will live happily ever after here. I can’t show you everything, but I can show you the parts that I know the best.
July 1st is Canada Day. However, if you want to attend an event that really shows who we are, you should stop by later in the month during the annual Pride Festival. The atmosphere is definitely amazing. Everyone smiles. What could be more romantic than that?
Yes, the guy in the pink shirt is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, yes, that’s his family with him, and yes, I was that close. Unfortunately yes, that is also a police officer in bicycle shorts…
The city of Halifax at night is an incredibly romantic backdrop for a story. This photo shows the city as seen across Halifax Harbour from Dartmouth, the equally romantic city next door. Take a special someone on the ferry between the two cities after dark. It will be the best $2.50 you’ll ever spend. Halifax is an international port city and we get a lot of yachts that belong to the rich and famous. You can definitely find billionaires here.
Halifax City at night, as seen from the harbour
Grand Pre, an old Acadian village in the Annapolis Valley, is only an hour outside of the city. Grand Pre is where the tragic (yet romantic!) story of Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, originated. In 1755 the Acadians were rounded up and brought to this church, charges were read against them, and they were expelled from Nova Scotia. As you walk around the statue of Evangeline, you see her growing old:
Blomidon is very close to Grand Pre. When you stand on the tip of that bit of land you see in the distance, you’re very high up and overlooking the Annapolis Basin. The Annapolis Basin feeds into the Bay of Fundy, and the Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. A lot of weddings are photographed in this area.
Nova Scotia also has an amazing number of small fishing villages. They’re mostly tourist destinations now, but yes, fishermen still call them home ports. Add the smell of the ocean, and the heat of the summer sun, and honestly, this is the best place on Earth:
And, if I haven’t yet sold you on Nova Scotia being a fantastic place to set romances, let me leave you with the house where I imagine Cass and Logan raising their children (because yes, they’re going to have more than one surprise in their lives!):
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Cass Stone doesn’t let anything faze her. Since being disowned by her strict father, she’s spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Not even an incredible and mysterious one-night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up…until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy and enigmatic as ever.
Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover at her work. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded…and then he meets her daughter.
Paula Altenburg grew up in rural Nova Scotia knowing that at some point in her life she was likely to be a fiction writer. Swapping Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books with her father guaranteed she wasn’t going to be the next Jane Austen, much to the dismay of her English teacher mother. A degree in Social Anthropology from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, again meant writing was the logical (meaning only) career path for her, although it did confirm her belief that learning is a life-long experience. She’s taken business courses, writing courses, and physiology of aquatic animals courses, all at the university level and all for fun. She has worked in the Aerospace industry, which surprises everyone who knows her, although now makes writing her fulltime career. Happily married, with two terrific sons, she continues to live in rural Nova Scotia but makes a point of traveling as much as she can. She reads in all genres, which isn’t as surprising considering her life is all over the board, but fantasy and paranormal romance are her writing loves. Paula writes demon westerns for Entangled Publishing LLC. Paula also co-authors paranormal romance under the pseudonym Taylor Keating. Visit her at www.paulaaltenburg.com.