When people ask me if I follow the common writing advice to “write about what you know” I usually answer with “mhh…no?”
Seriously, the best thing about being a writer is that I get to make ship up. People, places, stories, complete figments of my imagination. Sure, I pretend to be a functioning adult most days, but when I open a blank file, I instantly leave the real world behind. And as I read, write and love romance, most of my inspiration comes from a ‘meet-cute.’ I spend half of my days thinking up crazy, tangled-up starting points for a love story that make it downright impossible for two people to not end up together.
But writing Night Watch was different…
I’d always wanted to write a hotel story (because I worked in hospitality for years), and I had my meet-cute pretty quickly imagined:
“Vampire stories always started with a pale, hunky-looking stranger, all dressed in black. I verified with a quick glance. Oh my God. Dark, washed-out jeans and a black t-shirt stretched tight over his broad chest and shoulders. He was tall, too, at least six feet. Just, my pale stranger didn’t show up mysteriously and unexpected in the middle of the night—Cole Sawyer had a reservation.”
I had a lot of fun mingling real places in with my made up story. Boston is my home choice. I’m originally from Germany. People ask me all the time if I ever want to go back? Never say never, but I like it here. New England, Boston specifically, is my home now. Granted that wasn’t the plan when I first arrived twenty years ago looking for a grand adventure. The great thing about all your belongings easily fitting into a trunk, you’re very mobile. I stayed with friends on the North Shore close to Salem. I sublet a room from an MIT professor at Harvard Square in Cambridge before I finally made my way out to one of Boston’s many suburbs. Lots of material to draw from in New England.
I seriously think using actual places for my story made all my characters a bit more real as well. Hunter and Cole are very human in their struggle to stand up for themselves and for their love. I think, in the end, the story has a lot more internal conflict than I originally planned when I started writing it.
The ingredients for Night Watch are three things I intimately know and deeply love:
Boston – my new home;
Travel & Hospitality – some of my best memories;
Romance – dragging two guys through hell before allowing them a HEA.
But, I am very sad to report that the Burlington Inn from my book Night Watch is sadly just a figment of my imagination. Even though Burlington—a small town outside of Boston—exists, there’s no historical Inn near the outskirts of the Mill Pond Conservation area. Nevertheless, I’m almost certain there is a Mr. Slater in every small town, whether he owns an inn or another small shop, just watching over his people.