While we're all aware of the downsides of the times in which we live, this doesn't mean wonderful things aren't happening. Or that wonderful things can't come from ordinary or seemingly catastrophic events from one's childhood.
I love to reach into a hat so-to-speak and run with whatever idea comes out of it. The wonderful thing about writing is that you can turn any situation into a happily ever after.
When I begin a story, I don't usually think about location or setting. My main focus are the characters. After all, it's their lives which capture us and make us feel their ups and downs as they fight and struggle for what they see as their ultimate goal to happiness. Often they figure out what they thought they wanted isn't at all what they want or only a part of it. It's creative magic.
In most of my stories, if not all, I hope I show those who can relate a happily ever after is possible. I want to encourage them to seek it or be open to it. Isn't that what romance stories are supposed to do?