Thank you so much for hosting me here today, Sarah! My debut novel Beneath the Surface released this month and I’m thrilled to be here to chat about using vacations to find settings for books.
Have you ever visited a place on vacation and fallen in love with it? Or toured a city and found so much rich history that you needed to share it? That’s how I found the setting for Beneath the Surface.
Brooke Richards, the heroine of the novel, is an underwater archaeologist. Although I’m a pantser, and I had no idea what was going to happen in the story, I knew Brooke’s profession was going to be a big part of the story, and the setting needed to be near water.
The first thing that popped into my mind was our local beach—Ocean City, MD. But since the story takes place in late September, Maryland wasn’t warm enough. So my thoughts drifted to a place we’d visited a few years back—Flagler Beach, FL. I pulled out some old photos of the beach, and researched it online a little more. Since this is a romantic suspense, I called the local police department to find out about local procedures.
The beach was a gorgeous and unique part of the town, and so were the local establishments. Garrett Ciavello, the hero of the story, and his family, own a restaurant with rooftop seating that overlooks the ocean. Although the Ciavello restaurant is fiction, the restaurant is modeled after a real-life establishment with a breathtaking view of the ocean. My family and I ate lunch there one day with the mid-February warm sun beating down on us and the ocean waves crashing only yards away as we watched.
My memories of our Florida vacation live on through the setting in Beneath the Surface. Writing in little flashes of memory, and researching the spot more extensively, let me relive our fun vacation while creating a realistic setting for the book.
What places have you visited that would make a great setting? I’d love to hear about your vacation memories.
She’s fighting to stay independent—he’s determined to protect her no matter what…
Brooke Richards survived the earthquake that took her parents and most of her leg, but she needs time to regroup. A trip to Florida for a state-of-the-art prosthesis and to visit her best friend Linda seems ideal. But the trip turns traumatic when Brooke witnesses Linda’s boat disintegrating in a fiery explosion.
Police officer Garrett Ciavello believes the blast was intentionally set to hide something Linda found on a dive. When Brooke offers her expertise in underwater archeology, Garrett accepts her help with the investigation. But since his fiancée’s death years ago, Garrett has become overprotective, and as they are drawn to each other, Garrett realizes he will risk anything to keep Brooke safe.
Brooke is fiercely independent. Garrett is fiercely protective. Will they heal each other’s wound and find a killer…before it’s too late?
For the first time since the accident, Brooke forgot about her leg. Forgot about all she’d lost and focused on the way Garrett made her feel.
She knew she needed to stop him. She should find a way to resist the temptation to be with him. But for a few minutes, she could enjoy the taste of him, the feel of him, couldn’t she?
He dropped his hands to her waist and softened the kiss before trailing a line of kisses down her neck. A weak cry slipped from her mouth. “Garrett,” she whispered.
She should stop this now before it got any more intense.
He lifted her chin and forced her to meet his brown eyes, smoky with desire. Heat spiraled to her middle and she caught a whiff of his sawdust scent.
“I…I can walk you back to your own room before I head to mine.” His voice broke as he whispered.
She swallowed hard. She couldn’t do this right now with him. Too many obstacles stood in their way. But as she looked in his somber eyes, she realized none of those complications were bigger than her need for Garrett.
“Let’s go to your room,” she said, her voice shaking. She moved her hands inside his shirt and ran them over his tight abs and chest. Heat soared through her body at the feel of him. “Together…”