I'd like to welcome the amazing Thea Landen to my blog. She has a new release out called Second Skin. It's part of Decadent's 1 Night Stand Series so you know it's going to be hot.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
“So where do you get your ideas?” If you can find me an author who hasn’t heard that a million times, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. I’m not sure what people are looking for when they ask that question, and I haven’t found a satisfactory answer to that yet. Either I gather snippets of inspiration from everything to a book I read to a piece of some story I heard at work, or I’m standing in my bathroom at midnight with a toothbrush in my mouth and I have that light bulb moment where the idea seems to form out of nothing.
One challenge of writing is coming up with realistic, compelling characters that “pop”. While their traits and circumstances are the results of my imagination, I won’t pretend I start from scratch every single time. Sometimes you need a baseline, a template, a foundation on which to build the stars of your story.
I’ve been doing this on varying levels since I first started writing and publishing fiction. The two vastly different male leads in my Searching the Skies series are somewhat physically based on two men I knew who ran opposing internet gaming forums. (Hey, don’t judge.) My fantasy romance novel The Edge of the Sphere grew from a short story I wrote for friends in my writing/gaming circle, and as such, the hero, an introverted artist, is loosely based on one of those friends. Hell, I think just about everyone I know (or at least their gaming alter egos) somehow gets referenced in my sprawling sci-fi series, Disintegration.
When it came time to write Second Skin, the character of Anna and her story of growth was pretty well-defined in my mind. However, I needed someone just as strong to play opposite her. In order to do that, I wanted to have a vivid mental picture of him as well.
While promoting this book on other sites, I’ve mentioned that one reason I chose the setting of a winery in upstate New York for the 1Night Stand date was because I had my own summer fling kick off at one of those lakeside resorts. He was gorgeous and we had some hot, steamy fun together during the hot, steamy nights of June and July. Though I never saw him again once September rolled around (probably for the best), he remains a fond memory. While writing, I tweaked a couple minor details like eye color, but I otherwise had that clear image in my head to work from.
Okay, so I built a body. Next, he needed a name. This time, my mind wandered all the way back to high school. I was thirteen, Brendan was seventeen, and like many girls I knew, I was madly in love with him. I accepted that he was too old for me, so I settled for just enjoying the all the time we spent together at the extracurricular activity we were both involved with. (FINE, I’ll come clean: we played the same instrument in the school’s marching band. Yep, I was a big ol’ band geek.) He was the nicest guy, funny, and sweet, and caring…all characteristics I wanted this character in my story to have. And thus, I bestowed the name of Brendan on Anna’s date.
This isn’t the first time I’ve drawn on my lingering impressions of people I’ve known, nor will it be the last. I’m writing another 1Night Stand story right now, and the male lead is a similar amalgam of several men I’ve had various interactions with. One last word of warning for those who know me, though: this exercise can go both ways. After all, villains and antagonists need names and traits as well….
Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias.
Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand.
It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life?
What Readers are saying:
“If you're looking for a read that can balance titillation with a meditation on the double-edged sword of intimacy - fear of it, and desire for it - this is the story for you.” ~ Amazon.com review
“The sex is hot, the story and characters are believable. Can't ask for much more!” ~ Amazon.com review
About the Author:
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction, fantasy, and adventure and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.
Enjoy the following excerpt for SECOND SKIN:
“It’s beautiful out here, isn’t it?” His breath danced across the tip of her ear.
“Summers in this region are always nice, but they’re nothing compared to the autumn foliage,” he said. “Have you ever been up here during that time of year?”
Anna continued tracing idle lines from his wrist to his elbow. “No, I haven’t.”
His head dipped lower and his lips grazed her skin. “I realize it’s early for us, but I’d love to come back here with you. We could watch the changing colors, cuddle in front of a roaring fire….”
Anguish stabbed at her. The images he described sounded flawless and enticing. Every part of her yearned to agree to whatever he offered, but planning a rendezvous posed too much of a risk. She hadn’t predicted the difficulties of keeping up an ongoing charade with the man she met.
“That sounds lovely.” She swallowed hard and turned toward him. Her cheek rested in the crook of his neck, though its comfort did nothing to assuage her unexpected guilt over the upcoming lie. “Maybe we can work something out.”