The Inspiration for Ruby – Food, Masks and the Sensual Lure of New Orleans

Ruby_finalWhere do you get your ideas? It’s a question writers hear a lot. What I think the asker really wants to know is, how can I be inspired, too?

Inspiration can be a tricky thing – largely because it’s not under our control. It’s no coincidence that the lit-up-with-an-idea kind of inspiration is synonymous with the breathing-in kind. Both senses refer to drawing in the spirit – spirare from Latin – in one case oxygen and in the other? Something else, intangible and exciting. Thus, inspiration is pulling in something from outside ourselves, which writers then, though arcane alchemy, turn into a story.

Too deep?

Let’s talk about my inspiration for Ruby, the third book in my Facets of Passion series. The first book, Sapphire, had been out for a while and I’d just finalized the second book, Platinum, with my editor. She asked me if I’d like to submit a proposal for a third book. I did want to, but I didn’t have a story yet. All I knew was that I wanted it to be called Ruby. It’s kind of a red, white and blue theme for me. Since Sapphire takes place on the California coast and Platinum is a story in Charleston, South Carolina, on the East Coast, I took this book to the third coast – the Gulf Coast. While there are many fine choices in that region of the country, one stood out crystal clear to me: New Orleans.

I have a long history with that city. My grandfather was stationed there during World War II (long story) and passed along a deep affection for this grand old city. Anne Rice, one of my early and deep influences, often sets stories there. My mother, having inherited her father’s love of the place, has visited often, taking me along, and even lived there for a few years.

Once I knew that much, the spirit of the place flooded in. New Orleans is about sensuality on all levels. There would have to be food – thus my hero is a chef in a five-star restaurant. The themes of masks and costumes fit in perfectly with the BDSM kinky games of concealing and revealing, of anonymity and exposure, of restraint and letting go in a way that only being a stranger in a city where anything goes allows.

As you can imagine, the story took on its own life and rollicked along from there. Talk about spirit!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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Comments

The Inspiration for Ruby – Food, Masks and the Sensual Lure of New Orleans — 14 Comments

  1. Jeffe –

    I can’t wait to read these. My problem these days? The darn writing is getting in the way of my reading :-).

    Besides NOLA, how did you choose the settings for the other two books in the series?

    Happy Thursday,
    Kelsey

    • I hear that problem, Kelsey!

      In SAPPHIRE, I didn’t really have the theme worked out – but I knew the opening scene would take place on a yacht during a business party. So I picked something on the California coast. That also worked for Kirliss’s house. But I kept it pretty generic.

      For PLATINUM, I knew I wanted my heroine to own an art gallery and my mom and I had a long-running joke from a weekend we spent in Charleston, SC – that all the galleries carried was watercolor landscapes. Since I wanted Althea to be bored of the stuff she was doing, that fit right in. Plus, Charleston is a beautiful, romantic city.

  2. Hi Jeffe! I love hearing about inspiration from authors. When you learn how they come up with a book you get to know them a little more. As you know, your are the first and only author that I have read BDSM with. I remember after reading Rogue’s Pawn telling you I don’t read erotic, nor did I plan to. Boy was I wrong. Your books are so great, though, with so much more than just the “kinky games.” You put so much emotion into them. And as I have told you before, your books have changed my sex life (my husband thanks you). Ruby is next on my list to read and am hoping I can start it this weekend! Great job on all your books and congrats on the success of this series!

  3. I’m always interested in the inspiration behind stories and characters. So it was great to hear a little of your family’s history and why New Orleans means so much to you. It’s a place I definitely want to visit. But even without having ever stepped foot within its boundaries, the city conjures up so many thoughts. Sensual. Exotic. Mysterious. I can’t wait to read Ruby. And the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS.

  4. Great post, Jeffe. I love reading about the background inspiration for stories.

    Is your ORO story that’s part of the Carina Holiday collection another Facets of Passion story? Will it be on a coast too?

    • Glad you liked the post, Gillian! And how clever are you? Yes! ORO is the fourth in the Facets of Passion series and IS on a coast – in Mexico! Christmas holiday in Cozumel at a beach resort. Lots of hot sun and a very hot man. 😀

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