By Thea Landen
One of the questions I hear a lot as an author deals with how much of me is reflected in the characters I write. I always joke that I don’t have THAT many different personalities (and let’s face it, I’ve created some crazy people that I hope are nothing like me!), but it’s inevitable that part of me will always slip into my stories one way or another.
When writing Anna and Brendan’s initial getting-to-know-you conversations on their date in Second Skin, I wanted them to find common ground in their love for international travel. It made sense to me that Anna would have knowledge of a number of places outside the country due to her work as a CIA agent, and having the opportunities and resources to see the world would be indicative of Brendan’s professional success. I needed to flesh out the details and use this shared interest to spark a connection.
While tropes exist for a reason, lovebirds ending up in Paris is a cliché at this point. Cities like London and Rome similarly felt like a standard, “expected” pick for their favorite foreign locale. I needed a place for them to talk about, but where?
And here’s where snippets of my own background and experiences snuck into the story. As someone who is 1) half Czech and 2) a musician, Prague was the perfect choice. Even if I wasn’t going to spend a thousand words on every single facet of the conversation, being able to taste the food and hear the music was enough inspiration to help shape my characters and their histories. As they shared memories of touring the city and attending concerts, their picture became more vivid in my mind.
I’ve never really envisioned a specific where are they now?-type epilogue for Anna and Brendan (beyond their happy ending, of course). I do know that somewhere down the line, they both made it back to Prague together. I like the idea of them eating bread dumplings and drinking dark beer before heading out to hear a performance of one of Dvořák’s symphonies. And who knows? If they love it there so much, maybe they’ll stay. I'll bet with her training, Anna could make it possible for them to disappear….
Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias.
Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand.
It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life?
#thealanden, #decadentpub, #1NS, #1nightstand, #onenightstand, #MadameEve