Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Fun: Air BnB & Location Inspiration

Ever wondered how writers come up with inspiration? And if you can figure a way to write off your holidays against tax? Heidi Rice reveals all with the story of how she came up with her ideas for her new story Tempting the Knight.

Tempting the Knight is part of a quartet called Fairy Tales of New York which I've written with my fabulous author mates Kelly Hunter, Amy Andrews and Lucy King... We brainstormed the idea for the series together - all four books are riffs on classic fables set in and around an Irish-American pub in Brooklyn - this involved lots of emails (to view the evidence, check out my previous PHS post) which started way back at the end of October 2013...

Now during the original brainstorming process, I decided to do a sexy modern update of Rapunzel. I made my heroine Zelda Madison a runaway supermodel and former bad girl. She has famous long blonde hair and a modelling contract with a high end shampoo company. Zelda has spent her whole life living in an ivory tower, an ivory tower than in many ways has become a prison (Geddit?). Hence the reckless bad girl behaviour which she's worked hard to tame, but she does still have the occasional slip. Unfortunately one such minor slip leads to her getting picked up by the cops in Brooklyn at 2am, and the only guy she can think of to call is her best friend Faith's uptight and disapproving older brother Tyrone. A legal aid attorney whose family own said Irish American pub in Brooklyn. BTW, Faith (who became Amy Andrews's modern-day Cinderella in her brilliant Seduced by the Baron, the last book in the series) works there as a barmaid... Anyway, back to my story.

Manhattan Beach: Swimming in underwear is optional
I had visions of Ty being a hard-working and dedicated guy who was an extremely reluctant Knight in Shining Armor... Not least because he had always thought Zelda was a bad influence on his little sister and he's just a tiny bit judgmental about women he wrongly assumes are high-maintenance spoilt over-privileged PITAs...

But I digress, because before I could develop the story and figure out any of that, I had a problem...

Ty had to live somewhere that Zelda would desperately want to hide out for the Labor Day weekend to avoid the press horde. Now, it just so happened that I had only a few months before been on an Air BnB trip to the US with my best mate, and we had stayed in a funky little housebarge in a marina off Knapp Street in Brooklyn for a couple of days. The owners were terrific, giving us lots of tips on the local area and suggesting places to go. They even gave us a lift one hot sunny day to the nearby Manhattan Beach. We spent a couple of great days on that housebarge, eating gourmet food from the local Russian Market, watching movies in the multiplex across the lot, visiting Coney Island and going to beach - where we ended up swimming in our underwear because we had forgotten to bring our swimming costumes, because, hey, we weren't expecting a beach like that in the middle of Brooklyn.

Sleepless in Brooklyn... Ty's soon-to-be love nest!
That housebarge was soooo the perfect place for Ty and Zelda's surprise booty call weekend. And once I'd decided that, suddenly the ideas and the inspiration kept flowing.

How about they take a trip to Coney Island one evening? What if Zelda went to the Russian Market to buy food so she could schmooze her grumpy knight into a weekend invitation? Where there's food, why not a sexy food fight? I even had the reason why Zel had been picked up in the first place by the cops (so Ty would have to ride to her rescue). Yup you've guessed it, she went swimming in her underwear on Manhattan Beach... Except she did it in the middle of the night and caused enough of a disturbance to wake the neighbours...!

The ideas just kept popping and I had a ball writing the story, envisioning my characters bickering their way to true love (and lots of hot sex) in a place I had loved visiting...

So there you have it, why Air BnB is the perfect first stop for location inspiration...

And you might be interested to know I also stayed in a garage apartment in Louisiana during a Cajun music festival - and a cabin in the Texas Hill Country on that holiday... Those locations are so getting their own stories, just watch this space...

Heidi is currently writing her second longer book, while not out scouting new inspirational locations (ie: going on her summer holidays). Tempting the Knight is currently available on Kindle only, but will be out on all ebook platforms in October. 

And if you want to check out some more fun facts about The Fairy Tales of New York quartet or find out more about the other books in the series, you can check out the Tule Publishing blog.

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