Thursday, February 18, 2016

Writing "Love in the Air" by Suz deMello (@naughtyliterati @goodreads #romance)

I'm lucky. The Naughty Literati is full of great writers who are fountains of creativity. But when one of us--Nic Austin, I think--proposed deciding upon our themes well in advance, I had my doubts. I had previously stressed avoiding anything that could stifle creativity.

Well, I was wrong, and the stories show it.

The Victor Hugo House 
For example, my story, One Hot Havana Night, was stimulated by the idea for last summer's anthology, Naughty Escapes, when it was our happy task to write a romance set in various parts of the world. I had wanted to visit Cuba for a long time, and with the President relaxing the rules on Americans' access to Cuba, I planned my trip and wrote a story set in Old Havana. I loved the place and think the story really benefited from seeing it firsthand. For example, the Victor Hugo House in Havana is the setting for my story, and I would never have been able to write it with such attention to setting and detail had I not visited.

And so it is with my latest story for the Naughty Literati, which is in our upcoming set, Naughty Lovers: Love is in the Air. For me, the leap from the subtitle to the initial scene, aboard a balloon above the Napa Valley wasn't really much of a leap at all--more like a saunter. I had been on such a balloon ride before, many years ago, and it seemed like a natural, obvious place to start. 

In many ways, it was a very easy story to write because it drew on a number of experiences I have had. The story centers around the romance between Jill, a woman who's curious about BDSM, and her new partner, Zack, a firefighter who's eager to slake that curiosity. 

I've been in that position before, but I invented new experiences for Jill. After all, I write fiction, which entails making stuff up. 

But I didn't really invent Terry and Ada, minor characters in the tale. Here's my description of them in the balloon, seen from Jill's POV:

An older couple, they stood gazing outward, side by side and close enough to each other that they probably shared body heat. The man, who deserved the label “silver fox,” had his hand resting possessively just north of his woman’s shapely derriere. Her honey-colored hair was piled high and bristled with hairpins, no doubt to keep the wind from tangling it into a rats’ nest. 

That's me and my boyfriend :)

And Zack's home resembles my boyfriend's south Davis townhouse so much so that he laughed a little ruefully when he read:

A wood stove like Zack's
Zack led her past the kitchen into a living room carpeted in ivory pile. In one corner, a wood stove sat in the center of a brick hearth, with a messy pile of men’s boots and shoes in front of it and a neat little stack of split firewood to its left. A small dinette was tucked in an alcove near the kitchen; a brown faux suede couch and chair completed the stark, bachelor decor.

Yes, as a fiction writer, making stuff up is my superpower. However, it's helpful to take some of what we write from our lives. So Love in the Air reflects my life as much as my imagination. Hope you love it as much as I enjoyed writing it! It will be available on March first, in the Naughty Literati's newest boxed set: Naughty Lovers.

Happy reading!

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