When my editor, the fabulous and insightful Deb Nemeth, emailed to tell me the good news that Carina was excited to be publishing Platinum, she also mentioned a few “little fixes.” Most were very easy, but one sent me for a whirl.
I’d set the story in Charleston, S.C., a lovely, historic city by sea, and she wanted more ambience. More details, more specifics of how it feels to be there.
Now, Deb is always right. (She claims that she isn’t, but she is.) And I knew what was bothering her. I’d been to Charleston, but it was years and years ago. My memories had gone stale. When I mentioned this to my friends, they all said “Great excuse for weekend trip to Charleston!”
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is *not* close to South Carolina. So, instead, I did what I do best – I fretted. I looked up stuff online. I played with maps and photos, but none of it felt write. I tried to revise, but I just couldn’t FEEL it. So I fretted some more.
Finally, my husband got tired of listening to the fretting and said, “Why don’t you just go already?”
I gave him my same lines about time and money and he just shook his head at me and said, “You have to do what you have to do.”
So I went.
I managed to tack a weekend by myself in Charleston onto a day job trip – and it was amazing. Everything fell into place.
An art gallery owner referred me to a friend who lives above her gallery – and that became Althea’s apartment. I found her neighborhood and a shop that could be her neighbor.
The side paths and courtyards, the stately old mansions by the sea all reminded me.
I saw the window boxes of flowers.
Had dinner where Althea and Abby meet up, under the old magnolia tree.
And found the house that could belong to Brandon’s mother out on Sullivan’s Island.
All in all, it was money and time well spent. I hope I managed to work in just a bit of how this city looks, sounds, tastes, smells and feels. Althea and Steel’s story is very much about the landscape and the different faces of the culture that shaped them.
Althea Grant is doing fine. Sure, her Charleston gallery is suffering from the bad economy, and her artistic aspirations have gone nowhere. But she’s happy enough. When rugged metal sculptor Steel rides up on his motorcycle looking to rent studio space, his infusion of cash is more than welcome. But his art is raw, visceral, sexual-and completely inappropriate for her pastel world of watercolor landscapes. Steel, fascinated by Althea’s rare albino coloring, sees in her the key to his next piece: a metal satyr that can be used for bondage games. Moving into her gallery basement is the first step; seducing the coolly polite lady into modeling for him is the second. As Steel peels away her careful manners and tasteful outfits, Althea begins to realize her life isn’t just fine at all-it’s as pale and washed-out as the watercolor paintings she’s failing to sell. Can she transform her life and accept her most secret desires?
Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. A BDSM novella, Petals and Thorns, came out in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, erotic shorts in the Blood Currency series—Feeding the Vampire and Hunting the Siren—have come out from Ellora’s Cave. Carina Press is publishing the Facet of Desire series, which includes Sapphire, Platinum and soon, Ruby. Her fantasy romance novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, came out in July, 2012, and will soon be followed by two more. An e-serial—an erotic modernization of The Phantom of the Opera—will release from Kensington Press soon, followed by a new three-book adult fantasy series.
Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for a professional acupuncturist.
Find her on Facebook and Twitter (@jeffekennedy) or visit her at her website.