Inspiration by Tricia Leedom
Not far from the southernmost point of the continental United States, I sat on a bar stool sipping a frozen piña colada garnished with one of those tiny umbrellas. A Jimmy Buffet song drifted toward me in the waterfront tiki bar. I was thinking about what a cool place Key West was and how it reminded me of childhood vacations in Naples, Florida with my mom and dad. Naples has sadly become a mecca for the rich and richer, a sprawling metropolis of gated communities, golf courses, and supermarket strip malls. Most of the charming beach cottages of Old Naples, once thick with tropical foliage, banyan trees, and coconut palms, have been bulldozed in favor of million dollar condos and high-end shops. But Key West, a little gem of an island tucked away in the Straits of Florida, delighted me with its warm, rustic charm.
The booze might have brought on the heavy dose of nostalgia, but the feeling didn’t leave me the next morning. While I sat on that barstool watching a pair of pelicans diving for their dinner, I decided that one day I wanted to write a story set on the island to pay tribute to the quirky little town with a history just as colorful as its pastel-hued, conch houses.
Fast forward to a couple of years later. I was starting a graduate program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University when I felt it was the perfect time to write a contemporary romance set in Key West. The very first chapter I wrote for the program is now the second chapter of my book Rum Runner. I envisioned the hero, Jimmy Panama, meeting the heroine for the first time while in the company of a pair of beach bunnies of questionable moral character.
All of the characters came from my imagination. However, Jimmy Panama was inspired by a song: Jimmy Buffett’s cover of Southern Cross. When I listen to that particular version, I picture Jimmy Panama on his boat in the Florida Straits, gliding across the water at high speed, the wind in his hair, and the sun setting in the distance. If you haven’t heard the song before, give it a listen. If Rum Runner was a movie, I could totally hear it playing over the opening credits.
The story idea itself was inspired by one of my favorite films, the romantic adventure, Romancing the Stone, staring Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. While the plot, setting, and characters are different, the themes are similar. Like Romancing the Stone, Rum Runner is a fish out of water story. But instead of the heroine being a sheltered romance novelist, my heroine is a reserved British socialite. And the hero isn’t an irreverent soldier of fortune, but a snarky ex-Navy SEAL with a shady past and a secret agenda. Together, they set off on a dangerous tropical adventure and a funny, sexy, action-packed tale unfolds. If you’re familiar with the classic 80s movie, you’ll see the parallels.
I’m thrilled and excited Ink Monster has given me the opportunity to publish Rum Runner and The Key West Escape Series. If all goes well, I already have a fun idea for a spin off series in mind. I’m just going to need another piña colada or two to work out the details. ;)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Adventure, Romance
Perfect for fans of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Janet Evanovich, this action-packed debut from a fresh voice in contemporary romance offers a sexy and comedic take on love, adventure, and what it means to trust your heart.
English socialite Sophie Davies-Stone has been longing to meet her father since she was a little girl. When he sends her a mysterious medallion and asks her to forward it to him in Miami, she can’t help herself from doing something totally un-Sophie-like. Rather than mailing it as instructed, Sophie hops on a flight to Florida.
But the family reunion never happens. Instead, Sophie is attacked and almost kidnapped by her father’s enemies. Her savior is Jimmy Panama, a cocky and annoyingly handsome former Navy SEAL. Sophie isn’t the only one who’s annoyed. After years of trying to find a way to pay back his CO, Jimmy never thought his debt would get him mixed up with his commander’s uptight, British daughter. He just wants to put her on the next flight home and get back to his low-stress life in Key West, but fate has other plans.
As Sophie and Jimmy embark on a heart-pounding adventure through Key West and the Caribbean, Sophie finds herself falling for the snarky American. Still, her head says Jimmy is all wrong for her, and the more she finds out about him – and her father – the more uncertain she is about who she can trust.
One thing is clear. Sophie is in way over her head, and her greatest adventure might be her last.
The Key West Escape Series
1. Rum Runner – Releases July 18, 2017!
2. Bahama Mama – Coming January 2018!
TRICIA LEEDOM enjoys traveling to exotic destinations and having torrid love affairs with hot, dangerous men... even if it's only in her own mind. When she's not writing romantic adventure novels, she reads voraciously, tweets compulsively, and fangirls over a TV show based on her favorite book series. Tricia earned her BA in Creative Writing from The University of Tampa and her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. Her favorite authors include Diana Gabaldon, J.R. Ward, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Karen Robards, and Johanna Lindsey. She lives in Southwest Florida with two very spoiled dogs. Follow Tricia on Twitter and Instagram @tricialeedom
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