Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday Talk Time with Sandra Marton

Today we have one of The Pink Heart Society's favorite contributors, Sandra Marton! She's here to tell us about how her latest story sparked.


By Sandra Marton

What happens when you’re asked to write the lead novella for a Harlequin anthology and you’re told the overall title will be HOT CITY NIGHTS? And, adds the editor of the collection, the book is part of what’s been called Harlequin’s Hot Summer Read program?

Well, if you’re that author—me—you’re delighted! You’re flattered. And you know darned well you’re not about to sit down and write a sweet romance.

I set my story in New York. Though I live in the country and I’m a country girl at heart, I grew up in New York City and still love it. And I know it, inside and out. I don’t mean it’s streets or shops or high rise buildings, which sometimes change in the blink of an eye. I mean I know the city’s fast pace, its edgy attitude, the kind of hard-driving, successful, sexy people who call New York their home. The women—young, bright, beautiful—want careers. The men—young, gorgeous, determined to conquer the world—want everything. It’s a volatile combination and when the sun sets over the fantastic New York skyline, watch out!

I had my setting. Now, I needed the right lovers for that setting. Not just any man and woman; I wanted to create a couple who’d want nothing to do with Forever—and everything to do with trying to keep their eager hands off each other.

What would happen if I took a super-successful, super-sexy man and a beautiful, determined-to-have-a-career woman and dropped them into an emotionally-charged situation? What if they’d met before, however briefly, and struck enough sparks to start a fire? Say, for instance, if an Alpha hero named Lincoln Aldridge and a gorgeous, independent-minded heroine named Ana Maria Marques shared a steamy kiss one sultry night in Brazil and neither ever forgot it.

How would that work out?

I liked the idea, especially when I imagined a slyly-smiling Fate (or me, your choice) bringing Linc and Ana together again in a way neither could possibly anticipate.

And it’s all Ana’s father’s fault.

He knows nothing about that stolen kiss. He trusts Linc implicitly; he believes in Ana’s demure innocence.

What if Ana’s dad arranges for Ana to go to New York as a management trainee in the company Linc owns?

Linc has no idea she’s coming. As far as he’s concerned, the only thing Ana could possibly be is a hot distraction. Except, right about then, he suddenly realizes he does have a job for her.

She can be the live-in nanny for the infant niece who’s suddenly entered his life.

Ana hasn’t come all this distance to be a nanny. Or to live in Linc’s Fifth Avenue penthouse. Linc’s no happier with the idea than she is but he’s desperate. Well, so is she. Either she takes the job or she returns to her sheltered life in Brazil.

So Ana takes the job. And the sparks are still there. Sparks? By now, those sparks are a full fledged conflagration!

Ana and Linc do their best to resist.

They almost succeed.

Until the night a dragon-lady from Social Services catches them in some very explicit, X-rated action.

Welcome to SUMMER IN THE CITY, the lead novella in HOT CITY NIGHTS. Turn up the AC, pour yourself a tall, cold drink and curl up with three brand-new, sexy stories by me, Sarah Mayberry and Emilie Rose.

And watch out, because the temperature is going to rise at least another hundred degrees!

By the way, if you’re going to be in San Francisco for the big Romance Writers of American conference the end of this month, I’d love it if you’d stop by at the huge Literacy Signing Wednesday evening, July 30, and say ‘hi.’


  1. Ooooooooh that sounds fun!

    How do you find writing novellas, Sandra? I've only done one - for a Mothers' Day anthology - and tbh I found it frustrating. 30,000 is not much space!

  2. It's a real challenge, isn't it, Natasha? The very first one I did, for a Christmas collection, seemed as if it was going to be impossible. I had so much story to tell and so little space in which to do it!

    But I took a deep breath and wrote the story, and when readers liked it, I pretty much pumped my fist in the air with delight.

    I've done several novellas since then but I have to admit, Harlequin let me cheat a bit with SUMMER IN THE CITY, which runs closer to 40,000 words than 30,000.

    I do find that writing a novella often raises issues that I know I'll want to go back and explore in greater depth later by taking a similar theme and dealing with it in a full-length book.

    How about you?

  3. Sounds like a scorching read, can't wait to get my hands on it.


  4. Sandra, this sounds like a sizzling read! Wonder how you managed it in such a short word count. I'm looking forward to finding out!


  5. Aideen, it definitely is a scorcher. I loved writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it.

    Annie, I'm bad when it comes to keeping within a word count. I almost always write to the max allowed... and sometimes past it. But, definitely, getting my characters, my plot, my theme insied such a restrictive word count as this was a wonderful challenge.


  6. I just finished reading it Sandra and loved, loved, loved it!