Art imitates life
by Amber Lea Easton
“Novelist at work--bystanders may be written into the story.” I have that sign on my desk. It makes me laugh, but it’s also the truth.
Life inspires me. As I go through my day-to-day existence with it’s challenges, pain, joy, love, aggravation or triumphs, story ideas snap like live wires flashing with electricity in my mind. Sometimes it’s a stranger who triggers my imagination into saying, “wow, he’d make a twisted character.” Occasionally, someone I’ve encountered inspires an idea for a villain. Other times, while I’m immersed in some personal catastrophe, I’ll hear myself say, “this will make a good story one day”. Unlike some people, as a writer, I actually mean that when I say it.
In Riptide, my latest romantic suspense novel, the story line was triggered by a real life situation I experienced with a stalker when I was in my mid-twenties. Although the details are not the same, I mined the emotions I felt at the time--including the difficulty in starting life over after such an incident--to create the characters and fully flesh them out.
As a writer, I often utilize this tactic to bring reality into a fictional world. Perhaps it’s a form of therapy--working out an issue via writing, tossing my characters into the fray and seeing how they get out of it. I think the majority of artists reach into their hearts when they create. The creative act itself is a pouring out of the soul onto the paper or canvas or block of clay.
Write what you know...that’s what people say. I used to scoff at that. I mean, how do science fiction writers create worlds in a galaxy far far away if they stick to that philosophy? But as I thought about it, I realized that even that genre has core human elements that are examined in the story line. (I’m a fan of science fiction, by the way. I’m actually a fan of a wide variety of genres.)
When we as creators bring our hearts to the keyboard, we’re better able to create characters with soul, characters that readers cheer for and would love to know in real life. To do that, we as creators need to strip away the inhibitions that keep us guarded day to day, transform our inspiration into a story much bigger than life and allow our characters to get down and dirty with it as they see fit.
True life is the spark that ignites my imagination. There are elements of me in each of my stories and my characters. Just a tiny bit...an autobiography would be boring, I need to spice up the fictional world! Bono (yes, I’m quoting U2 now) once said that “every artist is a cannibal.” How true.
* * * *
One violent night shatters Lauren Biltmore’s life. As an anchorwoman, she's accustomed to reporting the news rather than being the lead story. She escapes the spotlight by fleeing to her brother's home in the Cayman Islands. Haunted by nightmares, all she wants is a distraction from reality.
Distraction arrives via sexy screenwriter, Noah Reynolds. His take-me-to-bed looks mask a past ripe with scandal. He knows he should stay away from Lauren, especially when the worst night of her life unlocks his writer's block and while he's dealing with a stalker of his own, but ethics are his weakness.
Attraction sizzles beneath Caribbean sunshine. As their relationship grows, Noah's stalker intensifies her torment. Lauren wonders if her paranoia is justified or a carryover from her past. What's real? What's imagined? Tentative trust is tested as their love is swept up against a riptide of deceit, murder, and revenge.
His two days on board the Angelfish with Larry had been good for him. Larry had convinced him of the absurdity of his theory that Alicia still walked the earth and assured him that he’d help find out who was bringing up the past. Sometimes there was nothing better than an old friend, even one who tended to piss him off more often than not.
He toweled himself off, his thoughts centered around Lauren and their last date. It hadn’t exactly gone as planned given the dead guy face down amidst the fish. Not that he’d helped the situation with his not-so-smooth-moves-on-the-beach later. The past two days had given him perspective. He wanted her. Right or wrong, mistake or not, he needed to see where this could go. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. Maybe tonight he’d get another chance if he could track her down.
“Noah.” Lauren cleared her throat from where she stood outside the open bathroom door. She leaned against the wall in a Caribbean blue tank dress that hugged her body in all the right places, legs exposed from midthigh down, ankles crossed, long hair glistening over lightly tanned shoulders, gaze averted to the floor and smile playing across lips he desperately wanted against his skin. “Sorry to barge in. You left the deck door wide open.”
“No problem.” He cinched the towel around his waist and wondered exactly how long she’d been standing there. The thought of her watching him shower and dry off did crazy things to his nervous system. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“Erin told me.” She leaned her head back against the wall and dragged her gaze from his toes upward. “Heard you were on private charter for the past few days.”
He leaned his shoulder against the doorframe and let her gaze soak him up. He liked the way she looked at him as if he were dessert.
“About the other night...I’m sorry. Can I make it up to you? Dinner tonight? Etcetera?” he asked.
She caught her lower lip between her teeth, gaze lingering on his chest. “Are you sure this time? No running away when things get hot?”
Electricity zapped in the three feet separating them.
Damn, the woman did insane things to his rational thinking. He’d decided on the boat that he needed to see her, make things right, take it slow, get tangled up in some strings. Seeing her live and in person threw common sense out the window.
“I can’t decide if you’re hotter when wet or dry...I’m thinking it might be a tie,” she said.
Oh, what the hell. With an opener like that, how could a man resist? He crossed the space between them, slipped his hand behind her neck, and kissed her on that mouth he’d been fantasizing about all week.
Her hands slid over his damp chest while her mouth moved slowly beneath his, her teeth lightly catching his lower lip. Eyes open, they smiled against each other’s mouths.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“It would be very uncool of me to answer that.” She slid her hands over his abdomen and lingered on the towel. “Are you still wanting to back off, or have you come to your senses?”
He braced his hands over her head. The only thing he wanted to do was kiss her slowly and make her beg for more. He looked into her eyes. “You’re making me forget all of the reasons this is a mistake.”
“A sexy mistake.” Her fingers touched his chest in a featherlike caress. She licked her lips.
“Good point.” He smiled. “We’re headed into the danger zone.”
“You have no idea how dangerous.” She tugged on the towel, a wicked grin in her eyes.
Oh, he had an idea about the level of danger. He’d thought of nothing else for the past forty-eight hours and ranked this situation a solid Level Red. Despite that, all he could think about was how good it would feel to have her long legs wrapped around his hips while her nails clawed against his back. He needed to pull the emergency brake. Slow, he reminded himself. Slow.
He leaned against her, enjoying the way her body arched toward his like a magnetic pull. He tangled his fingers in the hair at the back of her neck. “What do you want, Lauren? After the other night, you know I’m more complicated than I seem.”
Her gaze flicked up to his. “I know what I’m doing.”
“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into.”
“Show me. Let’s make some mistakes together. We’re both consenting adults. What the hell?” she whispered, her teeth pulling at his lower lip.
“Does that scare you?” she asked.
He paused a fraction over her lips and looked into her eyes. Yeah, she was scary reckless, but that turned him on more than he could say. So what if she wanted to use him for a distraction from her own demons? He knew that had something to do with it—the woman oozed intensity.
Her mouth widened, taking his like a woman starving for the taste of him. Ravenous. Her fingers fisted in the back of his hair. Her bare foot slid up the outside of his leg. Tongues clashed in a passionate dance that left no doubt about mutual desire.
He pressed her against the wall, uncaring about the slipping of the towel down his hips. This woman made him want more than he had dared want in years. His hands roamed up her sides, thumbs caressing the outline of her breasts. Closer. He couldn’t get close enough.
She pressed her hips against his. “Five days ago I didn’t think I’d feel any emotion ever again. Now here I am making out with you. Insane.”
“A little bit of crazy is good for a person.” He wrapped his hands in her hair, holding her face close to him. “What do you feel now?”
“You. I feel you.”
“You say all the right things,” he said against her mouth. His skin rippled beneath her touch. He couldn’t explain his reaction to her...he felt like an addict in desperate need of a fix.
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. For twenty years, she's worked in the fields of journalism and advertising with a brief detour into the financial industry. Although she holds a BA in Communications & Journalism, she is a perpetual student of life who enjoys taking courses on a wide variety of subjects when time allows. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges, but who ultimately persevere.
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she's writing, she considers herself to be simply "a lucky lady liv'n the dream."
Visit Amber at:
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - http://www.amberleaeaston.com
Twitter - @MtnMoxieGirl
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/QKiZM8