As this is my first blog on Not Your Usual Suspects, let me introduce myself. I’m Laura Carter (*waves*) and I write sexy romantic suspense novels. My debut series, Vengeful Love, follows Scarlett Heath, a high-flying London lawyer, as she pitches to work for devastatingly attractive billionaire, Gregory Ryans. She wins the work, only to find out that the takeover Gregory is about to embark on is hostile. Cue a dark and twisted thriller, underpinning a passionate romance that sees Scarlett and Gregory mingling with high society in the glossy skyscrapers of London and Dubai.
I started writing Vengeful Love as a business lawyer living and working in the heart of London. It seemed like the perfect setting for an erotic, white-collar thriller. I had the backdrop of glitz and glamour—champagne, cocktails, sky views, limousines and black tie dinners—mixed with the ominous streets of the city. My hangouts looked something like this…
(View from the Shard, London)
Here’s the thing, six weeks ago, I changed my life by moving to a small island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. And as I sat down to my laptop in my new surroundings for the first time, I thought, Oh Crap! What have I done?
I went from dry martinis and the hustle and bustle of the city, to bottled beer and a sleepy, small-town beach life. My new style…
(Sunset British Virgin Islands)
Don’t get me wrong, the serenity of the island is wonderful. Being able to read and write in a hammock is pretty great. But I write CITY suspense novels. How am I supposed to make a beautiful sandy beach grave and threatening? I thought.
I worried about this for a couple of weeks, no kidding! Then I had that ‘lightbulb’ moment we all know so well. It came one day as I was driving past the island’s prison. It’s kind of idyllic for a prisoner—a low security compound with a garden and, from what I hear, pretty relaxed rules, with an outstanding view out to sea. I mean, this place would make the Count of Monte Cristo giddy!
So, I started wondering, what could a person possibly do to wind up in prison on this peaceful rock? And a few things dawned on me…we’re in the middle of the sea, accessible from all angles by boats and private planes…in other words, perfect for trafficking people and drugs—erm, hello gang crime and cartels! Then I thought, if you’re on the run, this is actually the PERFECT place to hide. It’s so small it barely gets a spot on the world map! And, given the fine waters for sailing, the low taxes and little regulation compared to, say, London or Manhattan, this is a billionaire’s paradise! Put all of that together and you get dark and (potentially) glamorous with no rules (*excited dance*).
It took some time and it was unexpected, but I started to see the small-town, island setting as having endless possibilities for crime and suspense novels. As an author, I think it is incredibly important to be able to draw inspiration from just about anything, to conjure a story from nothing. It’s what makes us a quirky (?) breed of species and, in my opinion, what makes our job one of the best in the world.
So, I ask you, authors, what is the most unexpected source of inspiration you have had? And to you, readers, do you prefer the backdrop of the dark and dangerous city, or the unsuspecting, kind of eerie, sleepy town?
If you’re interested in the Amazon bestselling Vengeful Love series you can check it out here:
Amazon US: amzn.to/1Tle3O3
Amazon UK: amzn.to/1M2lfqT
Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/1pd17Nm