I Love the Beach or A Behind-the-Story Peek at How I Came Up With My Plot

IMG_20130814_175607_842Authors love talking about their books. Except for one, specific instance. We hate when people ask how we came up with the idea. Because usually there simply isn’t an answer. Just the other day, my mother (of all people who should have some faith in my creative abilities!) asked if one of my lawyer friends ‘gave’ me the suspense sub-plot idea in my latest release, Love At High Tide. I had to remind her that I am a writer, so I can make stuff up myself.

But the surprising fact is that I know exactly how I came up with the idea for Love At High Tide. Fourteen years ago we lived in Chicago and decided to move to Maryland. The day we officially bought our house here – a house we’d have to move into in exactly one month – what was the first thing I did? Not packing. Not finding a job. Not listmaking. No, I went online to find beach house rentals. I’d always wanted to do it, and didn’t want to miss the opportunity. We’ve gone every summer since, and we LOVE it. We love sitting on the beach doing nothing but reading and soaking in the scenery and the hordes of entertaining people around us.

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One of the oddities we noticed was that the workers at the grocery store, ice cream store and all the waiters had thick Eastern European accents.  As did many of the 20-somethings strolling by. Soon we discovered that there was a work-program set up with several Eastern bloc countries, and that they provide much of the seasonal help in Ocean City. I think my jaw literally dropped. Chimes went off in my head as if I’d won the lottery. Well, come on! If that isn’t a situation made for a writer to tweak, I don’t know what is.

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So this book was an absolute joy to write. I got to sit in my beach chair (wearing a hat and beneath an umbrella, because I burn faster than a vampire) and make lists of all the coolest, most iconic things about Ocean City (crab chips, divebombing seagulls, over-the-top mini-golf, illicitly amorous use of the lifeguard chair….). I got to take gratuitous pictures of the super hot lifeguards. And I got to constantly think about my favorite place on earth every time I sat down to write.

Hopefully, my love of the beach shines through, and turns Love at High Tide into a mini-vacation for everyone who reads it. But without any ugly reality like dripping sunscreen, damp towels and potential hurricanes!


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