Location, location, location
Where to set a novel is as important as figuring out who your main characters are going to be and what you’ll call them. Whenever I sit down to plot a story, staging and décor are among the first things I put to paper. Sometimes a few lines will be enough to give me a clear idea of the world I want. Other times, I venture to the Pinterest machine and start scrolling for ideas.
If anyone asks, yes, that hour (or six) of research is absolutely vital before I can start writing. Really.
My newest title, Fistful of Lies, was no exception to this rule.
Greece is a country I know well and I’ve wanted to set a story there for a long, long time. Because it’s me, though, I’ve chosen to turn a wonderful country rich with history into the backdrop of a twisted murder-mystery with shades of family feuds and high-octane romance.
In Fistful of Lies, the fictional island of Ligeia plays host to a colorful cast of characters whose entanglements are as knotty as they are deep and dangerous. Between Leif and his sister Petra, their friends and lovers, the promise of a lengthy summer holiday under the sun couldn’t be more appealing to freshly retired professor Reuben. That is, until someone only narrowly fails to bash a man’s head in.
Ligeia had to be a heavenly place. After all, that’s where you least expect horrible things to happen. It needed the luxury and history of the old villa, constructed by Leif’s father and inherited by his children—not unlike his work ethic and empire—as much as it needed the harsh lines of the newly erected modern guesthouse at the other end of the island.
And of course there had to be that blissful sense of lethargy, of unending sea and sky and summer that could really drive a man insane.
It was imperative that the island and all its secrets to beckon Reuben as an extension of the man he loves, but I also wanted it to the kind of place that takes its toll on Leif. Tacking on the whiff of a family mystery to a glorious paradise always helps to hint at the skeletons buried beneath the olive trees, I think.
And if my editor asks, yes, I did figure all this out by spending six hours on Pinterest.
About Helena Maeve:
Helena Maeve has always been a globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.
Fistful of Lies Blurb:
If you wanted to, how would you kill your lover?
Freshly sacked from his professorship, Reuben could do without a month-long holiday on his boyfriend’s private island. But he may as well enjoy the perks while they last. As soon as details of his dismissal surface, he’s sure to wind up alone with his murder mystery fixation.
Born with a silver spoon firmly between his teeth, Leif Claeson is no stranger to loss. He and twin sister Petra could lose their father’s creaking multinational at any moment…unless they fulfil his last wishes to the letter. Then again, Leif has always been something of a wild card. He’d rather vacation with his lover than worry about the future. When a stranger crashes their holiday, Leif sees only the potential for blissful debauchery. Ruben disagrees.
Power and sex make for a potent cocktail and everyone in Leif’s inner circle has a stake in what becomes of this Hellenic paradise. As Leif and Reuben struggle to reconcile their feelings with the strange happenings on the island, a chain of events is set in motion that could endanger their very lives.
Reader Advisory: This books contains scenes of MMM ménage, drug use and murder.
Excerpt from Fistful of Lies
Leif squeezed my hand. “How was your flight? Is this all your luggage?”
My guide had finally finished tying off the motorboat and was setting my single suitcase on the jetty. It was small enough to pass for carry-on on the plane, the plastic only slightly dented by hard use. I’d picked it up for a conference in California last year, before all the mess began. I tried not to think that I would never again be invited to speak at academic gatherings.
“I pack light,” I answered in the face of Leif’s arched eyebrows. “Speaking of my flight…”
Leif had the good grace to look slightly abashed. “Are you totally pissed off?”
Courtesy of his generosity, I had enjoyed a single aisle seat, champagne at take-off and landing, and a gourmet meal along the way. Pissed off wasn’t the right word for how I felt.
I slipped my hand into Leif’s. “I’ll make it up to you later.”
“You don’t have to…”
The tips of his ears colored as my gaze slid down his body.
“Oh. Oh. Yeah, okay.” He grinned. “Let’s get you settled in.”
In my relative ignorance, I’d assumed that Leif’s vacation home was a villa somewhere on the Greek Mediterranean coast, no different from the luxury bungalow in Maine or the chalet in Switzerland. That was before I’d discovered that my partner owned not just the house but the island it was built on, too.
He’d dodged my questions, describing the place first as a tiny island in a larger archipelago, then as one of his father’s poorer investments.
By the time I passed the White Gate, I knew better.
Coming in from Athens, I’d noticed the sheer size of the rocky islet. It was easily as large as neighboring Fleves, with pine-covered rocky outcroppings which that afforded only the occasional glimpse of white washed walls and blue-painted shutters. The forbidding natural gateway concealed a vast swath of pink sand, the slanted oval of the private beach dipping into the shimmering Mediterranean like a slip of gold cloth. Here and there, a forgotten towel buffeted by the warm breeze, drew the eye to signs of life.
“Everyone else has already arrived,” Leif reported, following my gaze. “They’re excited to meet you.”
“Are they?” I struggled to inject a cheery note into my voice. My hand was beginning to grow clammy in his grasp.
Enter our December blog tour competition for the chance to win a free eBook from Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/december-competition