Before I really get into this blog, I want you all to know that I absolutely know that Stay is fiction, and that Julian and Lexie don’t really exist. With that said, I will tell you that I spent this past weekend feeling like I was part of their lives while on a mini vacation in South Beach.
The weather was perfect! It was so nice to get out of the cold for a few days. It’s been brutal on the East Coast this year and the warm sun, sand, and water were just what I needed to really get going on book three in the Alexa Reed Series.
Falling into the story
I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you that when I looked at the condos dominating the Sofi skyline (picture above), that I saw my fictional building, The Bellavista. I could imagine Julian and Lexie sitting outside on the lanai looking at the sunset. When I stepped my high heeled foot into a very popular nightclub/hotel/outside bar, I couldn’t help but think of Hotel del Marco, Stellar, and Orion. When I watched couples running on the beach, I could see Lexie and Julian out for a run. I felt sorry for them because I had my feet up and a drink in my hand, but I still appreciated the visual.
I hadn’t been to South Beach in many years, yet the sights, sounds, and general vibe made me instantly remember why I chose that setting for my first novels. I truly love it there. I spent some of the best years of my life in South Florida, and although I have been away for a long time, it still makes me feel like I’m at home.
I took a lot of great pictures and was so inspired by everything that was happening around me. While sitting on the beach looking at the water, I picked up my iPad and started to write a beach scene for Julian and Lexie. It was easier to do it while looking at the waves than while looking at the snow that has been outside my window the last few months. I decided right then that it would be a great idea for me to keep taking trips to Miami to do “book research.” I just need to get my family on board with the idea and I’m ready to go!
I have been asked so many times what inspired me to write Stay. I have a standard answer about how I used to live there, etc., but until I stepped onto Ocean Drive, I didn’t really remember how much of who I am was shaped by my experiences there. I lived in Southern California for a very long time too, and I get the same feelings when I visit there. Maybe my next series will take place on the West Coast. I can see myself doing some serious book research there too!
Keeping it real
I mentioned earlier that I know what’s real and what’s not. I know that Julian doesn’t exist, although I will tell you that it wasn’t hard to find men that could play him in a movie version. I found a few people who could play Lexie, Luke, Marissa, and Danny too. I was swept into the story setting I created from memory, and was proud of myself for keeping it so authentic. That’s where the realness comes in for me. So many of my reviews have had those words in them; real, realistic, believable. I believed when I wrote it and you believed when you read it. Thank you for that. It really does help keep me inspired.