"If you were writing a Historical Romance set in an unusual place and time -- and you didn't have to worry about sales -- where would you choose and when and why?"
Mary Jo has not only thought of writing about some of these exotic places. She's done it.
As a kid in the classroom, I used to gaze at the map racks hanging from the blackboard, and I was particularly interested in the vast, empty tracts of Central Asia. What was there? How interesting it would be to visit! So when I started to write, I thought it would be really cool to write a book set in Central Asia.
Oh, wait! I did. The book is called Silk and Secrets, and it was loosely based on a real rescue mission to Bokhara in the 1840s by Dr. Joseph Wolff, an eccentric Anglican missionary. Wonderful material in his memoirs. The last in that trilogy, Veils of Silk, was set in India, with adventure and mystery and romance. But India isn't quite so far off the beaten path, historical romance wise.
Well, China could be interesting. So very different from Western Europe, with an ancient civilization and an aura of mystery. Err…, I wrote that in The China Bride, with a Chinese/Scottish heroine and an English hero with an explorer's heart.