I’ve never been what you might call the adventurous sort—at least not when it comes to the great outdoors. Like the old joke, camping to me is basically an overnight stay at Motel 6. Anything more rustic than that and I’m heading in the opposite direction as fast as my jeweled high heels can carry me.
The same can be said to describe my feelings regarding exercise—why should I walk/jog outside in Texas’s hundred degree heat when I can work out on my gym’s elliptical machine in all its air conditioned glory? And when my best friend decided to hold her wedding outside in the middle of July, I was traumatized. Forget the heat, didn’t she understand that there were bugs outside? Big, huge, ugly Texas sized bugs? Of course, she understood, she just didn’t care. The joke was on her, though, as she has several important wedding pictures with her maid of honor (me) looking possessed, as I tried my darnedest to shrug off the giant bug that landed on my back smack dab in the middle of the ceremony. I figure she shouldn’t complain, though—at least I didn’t run screaming down the aisle as I so desperately wanted to, shrieking “Get it off, get it off!”
I bring this up, now, so that you understand my horror a few years ago when my husband suggested we go on a swamp tour of Louisiana’s bayou. Actually he did more than suggest—he insisted, telling me that all he wanted for his birthday was for me to do this one thing with him. And when he put it like that, how could I refuse?
I couldn’t, and so off I went with him to bayou country. I didn’t go gracefully, or particularly happily, but I went—armed to the teeth with mosquito repellant and antibacterial spray. And much to my husband’s pleased surprise—and my complete astonishment—I had a great time. Despite the smell. And the alligators that came too close to our boat. And the rain that started halfway through the trip. And the mosquitoes. And—well, you get the point. There was something about being out in that swamp with the man I loved, watching my big strong alpha hero’s childlike enjoyment of nature and all things creepy-crawly, that made me happy. And finding out that alligators like marshmallows was pretty cool too.
Maybe that’s why, when I sat down to write my very first novel, I couldn’t resist setting it in the bayous of Louisiana, with a hero who was more at home in the isolation of the swamps than he ever would be in the city. Of course, keeping him out in the bayou meant he had to have a job that didn’t require going into the office every day.—or interacting with people very often, as I decided I wanted him to be kind of a recluse. After much debate, I decided to make him an iron sculptor with a bad boy attitude, and just that easily, Kevin Riley—and with him, Full Exposure—was born.
Though it’s my second book to be published, Full Exposure is the first book I ever wrote, and as such has a very special place in my heart. I agonized over this book in a way I never have again, laboring to make sure my hero was the strongest, sexiest man imaginable and that my heroine was equal to him in her own right. I struggled to make every sentence perfect, to make every scene the best it could be. And more than anything, I worked to get the tone just right—to describe the sounds and sights and smells of the bayou, just as I remembered them. I only hope I succeeded.
To celebrate the launch of Full Exposure, and with it my career as a single title author, I’m offering a copy of A Christmas Wedding (the second book I wrote, but the first to get published). Leave a comment on this blog and you’ll be automatically entered to win!
(Note from Amy: I loved A Christmas Wedding read my review here)