I reread Destiny’s Temptress by Janelle Taylor until it fell apart. It was the first adult romance novel I ever read, and it was my writing primer for the formative years of my fiction career. Any time I had a question about something I couldn’t get right in my own story, I went to see how Janelle did it in her story.
As an addendum to that, I met Janelle at Romantic Times two years ago (cue fangirl squeeing) and it turns out she’s as wonderful a mentor in person as she was through her writing thirty years ago. I’m thrilled to be able to call her a friend.
Have you ever gone someplace or done something exclusively as research for a story? Where/what?
I tend to do the reverse. I tend to go somewhere and let that inspire a story. My upcoming release, The Path, is a perfect example of that. I went to Peru because I’d always wanted to hike the Inca Trail. I hadn’t been there twenty-four hours before I had started taking notes for a book.
What was the best piece of writing advice you've gotten?
Follow your heart. All the career plans and careful plotting of books doesn’t do you any good if your passion is engaged elsewhere. You might write the book that’s next on your schedule, but it won’t be as good as the one that’s calling to you. (Thank you, Janelle!)
All his life Benicio Quispe has dreamed of being a guide on the Inca Trail. He gets his chance when the top travel agency in Cusco, Peru hires him. Alberto Salazar, his assigned mentor, fits Benicio's idea of a perfect guide, but he's also everything Benicio never dared to dream of in a boyfriend.
Alberto learned a long time ago to be discreet about his sexuality. It's a necessary sacrifice to keep the respect of the guides and porters whose help is critical in a successful hike. So he pushes aside his attraction to his new junior guide and goes on as usual. But when a group of old friends arrives to hike the trail again, they convince him a relationship with Benicio is worth pursuing. His newfound resolve is enough to get them on a first date, but no amount of courage can change the attitudes of their family and friends. The risks on the trail are easy compared to finding a path through the challenges keeping them apart.