Thursday, May 10, 2012

Write What You Know?

by Zee Monodee

Before The Morning v/s Once Upon A Stormy Night: Write only about what you know?

Hello peeps! Delighted to be here with ye all today – thanks, JoAnne, for having me over.
I always rely upon my hosts to provide me with the topic they want me to address, and JoAnne asked me about a very pertinent point...
For, you see, this May, I have 2 books coming out.
May 7 sees the release of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book 2), a romantic suspense/ espionage thriller, while May 29 will see the release of Once Upon A Stormy Night, part of the 1NightStand series.
The first takes place between London and Hastings in England, Nice and Arles in France, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Las Vegas, Nevada. The second takes place on my native island and the place I call home, Mauritius (which is – I guess many of you won’t have heard of it before! – a small tropical island in the southern Indian Ocean).

I haven’t been to most of the places I mention/use as locales in Before The Morning, while I am intimately acquainted with every setup/setting present in Once Upon A Stormy Night.
We’re always told to “write what you know”... Can I apply this here, where these 2 books are concerned? Not exactly.
Before The Morning is a romantic suspense/espionage thriller. I couldn’t have set it in Mauritius, because there’s just no way can such a huge clandestine operation be carried off on such small a territory! And, since the heroine, Rayne, makes her drunken lover, Ash, marry her on an ‘impulsive whim’, I would’ve needed to take them to Vegas anyhow... and I’ve never been to Vegas!
We’re also told to be “fresh”, “innovative”, to “ get off the beaten track”... That’s how I found myself one day on Facebook asking my friends and readers about locales they wish to see in a book, and a childhood friend of mine piped up that she’d never seen Prague – that so-beautiful European city – in any book. She planted the seed of having Prague as an important locale in the book... and yes, I’ve never been to Prague!
Once Upon A Stormy Night, on the other hand, takes place in Mauritius, mainly in the capital city waterfront shopping village, where my brother used to work in the very posh Barkly Wharf offices. I’ve haunted the Caudan Waterfront since its inception back in 1996, and the villa where the one-night-stand takes place – very much a hotel we visited last year, on the craggy, cliffy, rough southern coast. I close my eyes and I picture every detail of these settings...
...but what about these places I’ve never seen with my own eyes, let alone set foot in?
That, my friends, is where research comes in... and there’s nothing more helpful for researching locations than Youtube. From snippets of travel programs, to videos uploaded by tourists (often peppered with their very personal observations, that little something extra to give you a juicy detail to work with), you can become an armchair traveler, and see the world as if you were right there!
That’s how Prague came to life for me in Before The Morning; how I stepped into the interiors of Beyond Medispa, the upscale, cost-the-money-off-your-arse beauty spa in Harvey Nichols in London, and The Ritz; how I placed Rayne and Ash in the split-level villa located in a gated community in the Henderson area in Las Vegas; Rayne’s walk through the deserted lanes of the Roman necropolis in Arles, in the French Provence.
I didn’t write about exactly what I know – instead, I set out to learn what I could, and however I could, about the things I didn’t know.
I can only hope these locations come across as the magical places I got to “see” and imagine. But I have an idea – why don’t you tell me what you think, when you read the stories?
Thanks for having me over today, JoAnne – it’s been an absolute pleasure!
From Mauritius with love,

Before The Morning

. . . is a time of great darkness. . .
A trained killer with borderline sociopathic tendencies:
Rayne Cheltham traced out her life's path when she was twelve: she would marry her best friend and bear his children, and in the process, stifle the restless edge in her. When he vows never to marry, she gives in to the darkness and becomes a clandestine agent—until the day he walks into her world again, and her carefully fabricated fa├žade crumbles.
A former cop burned by life and his personal demons:
When Ash Gilfoy meets a woman who reminds him of his childhood best friend, he starts upon a path that leads him down into an abyss once again. The day Rayne waltzes back into his life, he knows she is his second chance, and the one who will save him.
Each thinks the other is their redemption . . . until they discover how deep the other's edge of darkness goes
No one knows Rayne used to be a spy and an assassin, and no one knows why Ash left the police force. The secrets between them make them sit on a keg of gunpowder with a lit fuse in their hands. Neither knows what 'normal' means now, especially Rayne, whose whole life is built on a lie. Truth is threatening to explode in their faces, and that is not the only menace they have to face. Someone is out to get Rayne, and she must disclose her past before it is too late.
Can Rayne and Ash survive all that's thrown in their path? Can they hang on to the last thread of their relationship, and can they emerge, still together and still alive, in the morning after the deepest darkness?

Grab your copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book 2) 

More about Zee Monodee at her blog
You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, as ZeeMonodee.

Once Upon A Stormy Night

British billionaire Lars Rutherford came to the tiny island of Mauritius to take over directorship of his best friend's shipping company. He's not here for anything but the job, or – to the chagrin of the many matchmaking society mamas in the country – to find the 'right woman' for him.
Corporate legal affairs specialist Simmi Moyer is rich, beautiful, successful, and climbing the executive ladder with tremendous speed. She's got it all – or does she? Mauritian society shuns her for being single and childless, and nothing she accomplishes will ever be enough.
Lars isn't looking for a woman; Simmi isn't looking for a man. Both just want one night to forget their precarious position in this traditional, culture-driven society.
But will a few stolen hours of solace ever be enough, especially when they realize Madame Eve might just have paired them with the one they didn't know they were looking for?
The tempest brewed by uncalled-for yearning in their hearts when they meet, and the desire for something more substantial than one night of pleasure, builds between them, while outside, a real-life cyclone storms on the island and enconsces them in a world where only the two of them exist.
Before the night is over, both Lars and Simmi will have to decide whether they'll walk out the next morning alone, or if they can put themselves on the line to step out together.

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