What’s Place Got to Do With It? by Tamsen Parker (Plus a FREE book!)

Congratulations to Carolyn! She’s won a signed copy of If I Loved You Less!

Happy Sunday! Today we’re joined by author Tamsen Parker. This is her first time joining us, so be sure to say hello. Also, she’s giving away a signed copy of If I Loved You Less, so you want to get in on that action. Leave a comment below to enter the drawing and we’ll announce the winner on Friday, November 16.

Good luck!

IfILovedYouLess_ebookWeb1-683x1024When crafting a retelling of a classic, one of the most important things to consider is the setting. If you’ve seen Baz Luhrman’s 1996 movie of “Romeo and Juliet,” you know exactly how much changing the backdrop can matter to the feel of an updated production of a classic.

As I was first sitting down to write my contemporary f/f retelling of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” I wanted to find a setting that was at once familiar but new for framing the familiar story. One of the things that struck me the most was the paradox of the fictional village of Highbury. While London is within sixteen miles of Highbury—a reasonable trip on well-traveled roads—Emma regards the city where her sister lives as effectively on another planet. She couldn’t possibly venture so far. And why would she, when everything and everyone she needs is already at her (somewhat spoiled) fingertips?

There aren’t so many places in our modern world that feel at once remote yet accessible. Where many residents would feel that the distance to other, more metropolitan places was easily overcome whereas others would regard it as daunting. The place that came to my mind was Hanalei Bay in Hawaii.

While the island of Kauai is quite small (it takes about two hours to drive the main road which nearly circles the island, interrupted by nature reserves) and it’s relatively straightforward to travel to other islands or the mainland, it’s easy to feel as though Kauai is a world unto itself. Which is how Theo, one of the heroines in “If I Loved You Less,” treats it. And while many people around her treat the water surrounding the island as a connection, due to losing her mother in a big wave surfing expedition as a child, she clearly sees the ocean as not only a barrier but an actual threat.

Despite taking place 200 years and over 7,000 miles apart, these parallel settings are meant to allow the reader to experience what I think is one of the great joys of retellings: something that is the same, but different. Humans delight in pattern recognition, it’s pleasurable for us to be able to categorize things we come across. But we also enjoy riddles, puzzles, and surprises. An author has the opportunity to play with both of these things during the course of a retelling through changing the genders of characters, the setting, the language in which the story is told, but keeping the essential story the same.

It’s an interesting exercise to consider favorite retellings through a lens of what has remained the same, what has changed, and what may have been updated but is an equivalent in essential ways. And to ask oneself why an author might have chosen to make the decisions they did and what you, as a reader, may have done differently.

Do you have any favorite retellings of classics? How far do they stray from the original storyline? Are there any stories you’d love to see retold?

Purchase Links:

AMZ: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-amz

B&N: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-bn

Google Play: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-google

iBooks: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-iBooks

kobo: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-kobo

Audible: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-audio-audible

AMZ Audio: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-audio-amz

iTunes Audio: http://tamsenparker.com/if-i-loved-you-less-audio-iBooks


Tamsen Parker is a USA Today bestselling erotic romance writer. Her novella CRAVING FLIGHT was named to the Best of 2015 lists of Heroes and Heartbreakers, Smexy Books, Romance Novel News, and Dear Author. Heroes and Heartbreakers called her Compass series “bewitching, humorous, erotically intense and emotional,” and The Pink Heart Society said IF I LOVED YOU LESS is “an utterly delightful f/f romance for the keeper shelf.”

She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. She should really start drinking coffee.

Social Media Links:


  1. This book sounds like the type of book you could re-read over and over again. I love books like that. Please add my name to the hat. Thanks for all your hard work on the books you’ve written and will write in the future.


  2. A retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, one of my favorite authors and the possibility of discovering a new author – count me in!


  3. Your book sounds like one you will read over and over again. Please add my name to the hat as I would love to win a copy. Looking forward to reading more of your books.


  4. I love a good retelling. Andi’s Marquette’s take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Christmas Carol are fabulous so it’s always great to see another retelling added to the list whether it’s classic literature or fairy tales retold.
    Toss my name in the hat please and thanks for the draw.


  5. I think it’s just because I’ve seen a post about Christmas movies that my mind immediately went to It’s a Wonderful Life, and I think back to all those holiday episodes and tv movies that played with its premise. I honestly can never get enough because I love the source material so much. As a fan of Emma as well, I’m really looking forward to If I Loved You Less, and I really enjoyed this post. It made me think more about retellings than I had before. Thank you for sharing with us.


  6. I enjoyed learning about how you approached this retelling, Tamsen. It’s definitely one I’d be interested in reading!


  7. Kauai is the prettiest place I’ve ever been! Taking a helicopter ride around the island was breathtaking!!! Congrats’ on your new novel 😊


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