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Archive for October 6th, 2009

Behind the Book: Garden of Desire
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

On my old website I had a feature called “Behind the Book”, which told readers what the heck I was thinking when I wrote the story. Here’s the story behind Garden of Desire. Tomorrow, you’ll get a chance to win it.


In the first book in this series (the Desire series), I introduced First Mate Cantor Marlowe. I knew in that first scene that I would be coming back to visit him. He was too sexy, too sure of himself. He was a smart-ass and looking forward to the new adventure the pirates were embarking on—colonizing a new world.

When I finally sat down to write Garden, I wondered what would happen to a pirate who gets everything he ever wanted? The answer came immediately—he’d be bored stiff.

Poor Cantor! Just a few months on the new world and he’s ready to chuck the responsibility of governing a bunch of land-locked pirates and marriage-minded ex-cons. He misses the adrenaline rush of his old profession. I’ve known guys like Cantor—hell, I’ve dated them. Once the first blush of conquest is past, they’re looking for the next one—be it the next woman that catches their eye or the next, greatest adventure.

Once Cantor figures out he’s not made to be domestic, he rejects anything that smells conjugal—new curtains for his cabin, a certain blonde who’s made no bones about the fact she intends to “land” him.

Of course, the story wouldn’t be a romance if I gave him what he thought he wanted—freedom from emotional entanglement. But the right woman had to catch him unawares. Actually, Cantor being Cantor, he needed a lot of encouragement—one woman wouldn’t succeed. Give him two who conspire together—and he’s a goner.

So, first I give him every man’s favorite fantasy—a harem-raised virgin. But while Fahgwat was innocent, she wasn’t stupid. Nor could she be shy. Cantor is attracted from the first moment he sees her, but instantly recognizes that this little bit of eye candy is extremely dangerous to his freedom. He’s never had a virgin, but knows instinctively that once he takes her, he’s going to feel obligated. He resists temptation.

But Martha recognizes a chance to trap Cantor by using his powerful attraction to the girl and offers him teasing glimpses of what life with Fahgwat would be like. A thief by profession, she connives to help Fahgwat, by offering herself as a “safe” substitute to rid himself of his excess ardor. Martha’s relentless and works herself under his skin like a chigger.

When I envisioned the pirate’s new world, I offered a view of my ideal world. I’ve traveled a lot, but have never found anything lovelier than the forests of the Pacific Northwest or Scandinavia. So I blended the two to build my world. Log long-houses like those used in Scandinavia during the times of the Vikings became the temporary homes for my colonists.

But there always has to be a “snake” in paradise. Only the “snake” in my mind isn’t necessarily evil—facing it leads to enlightenment.

I hope the adventure doesn’t end with this book. I don’t have specific plans for my colonists, but maybe I’ll come back in the future to see how they’re doing.