Here is a post from Mission Romance that goes back to 2012 when rural romance was hitting the shelves and gaining popularity.
I’ve just returned home after spending a week away on a library tour of my old stomping ground, the south east of South Australia. This is the area where I was born, brought up and love, and as I travelled around the district noting all the familiar sights and all the changes that have occurred in the twenty-five years since I lived there, I felt the tug in my heart of home. And I have to admit it surprised me. I didn’t expect to feel it, yet there it was, that pull of longing that seems to come from somewhere deep inside.
These feelings made me wonder if I’ve been fibbing in the other blog posts and interviews I’ve done to promote my latest release, Heart of the Valley. At its core, Heart of the Valley is a story about the meaning of home – is it a place or is it where your heart lies – and I’ve made a big deal about how my sense of home has changed over the years, thanks to the frequency that my partner and I move around. Home, for me, isn’t a place but wherever Jim is. Yet how to explain those pangs?
Then this morning I had to sort through a heap of photos and the pangs returned. Except this time I wasn’t looking at pictures of south-east SA. These were photos of the Hunter Valley – images of vineyards, restaurants, amazing blue skies, verdant pastures, wildlife, hills, golf courses. Memories. And they tugged, just as hard and just as strong as those I felt in South Australia, and that left me doubting myself. Perhaps it was true. Perhaps my heart did lie in these places, split between SA and NSW.
Testing the theory, I scanned some photos of our time in France and there it was again. That feeling of longing, of special times, of home.
What does this all mean? Well, I think it shows that the places where we’ve felt love gain extra significance in our memories. They stay embedded in our hearts, an integral part of us, associated forever with that most remarkable of emotions. So I stand by my statement that home is where my heart lies, but the places where I’ve lived and loved, like the Hunter Valley, will always remain special because of what I’ve experienced there. It’s also why I write about them, with intensity and passion. These places are as important to me as they are to my characters and if I can make readers feel that connection too, as I hope I’ve done in Heart of the Valley, then I’ve done my job well.