Wednesday, January 26, 2011
BLAME IT ON CARY GRANT
By Gwen Roman
TRAIL OF THE TUDOR BLUE, on the surface, is the story of a young woman who travels to Europe to reclaim a stolen necklace. The original opening scene featured main character Ardis Bellamy steering a sports car along a dark road cut into the side of a mountain. On the passenger seat beside her, a velvet bag held a priceless diamond necklace Ardis planned to get out of the country via boat. Hm. Sports car. Diamonds. Mountains. Boats. Clearly Ardis was Monte Carlo bound.
How did I know it was Monte Carlo? Blame it on Cary Grant. Blame it on James Bond. Blame it on the Travel Channel. Monaco fit my location needs perfectly. Problem was, I’d never visited the principality. And I’m research-averse. How could I gather the information I needed without spending torturous hours in the library reference stacks?
One caveat: Don’t be afraid to gloss over truth. While writing TUDOR BLUE, I was fortunate to have a sister travel to the south of France and visit Monte Carlo. Plus, she creates made-to-order fragrances; she’s got a great nose. So not only did she send me hotel brochures and train schedules and real estate listings for the area, she was able to tell me one thing I really wanted to know: can you smell the sea from the Monte Carlo promenade? According to my sister, you can’t. All you can smell from the promenade is dog pee.
How romantic. I opted to let that fact remain undisclosed. In TUDOR BLUE the promenade smells of the sea, the hero smells of citrus and sandalwood, and there’s always an empty slip for the boat – even if my armchair research or on-site source tells me otherwise. Because after all, it’s fiction. ♥
Gwen Roman is the pen name of long-time RWA member Jen McAndrews. Though currently working hard on her next full-length romance, she also writes mystery and young adult fiction, works full time, is obsessed by hockey, and wishes she had more time to read…or sleep! Visit Gwen’s group blog at http:// www.pirateuniverse.blogspot.com
Read an excerpt from TRAIL OF THE TUDOR BLUE here.