A few people have asked me if I’ll be writing about Covid-19 in any of my future contemporary romance novels. My answer is no, absolutely not.
This isn’t to say pandemics can’t be good subject matter for a novel. For some genres, such as science fiction, mystery, or thrillers, an epidemic can make for an interesting story with plenty of conflict and drama. (I read The Stand, and loved it.) However, I write contemporary romance. My characters are hugging, kissing and making love, which would be rather awkward in the age of social distancing. Erotica writers on the other hand might have fun writing, shall we say, interesting, scenes about masks or Zoom sessions, but I write sensual romance, which means most of the action in my stories takes place outside of the bedroom.
In the meantime I spent much of my time during the lockdown going over my earlier books, and, as a result, you’ll be seeing a spin off novel from The Betrayal. One of the minor characters in The Betrayal was a teenager named Tonya Claiborne. She appears in the latter part of the story, and she’s a strong character with a lot of potential for a leading role. I wrote The Betrayal in 2015, so you’ll be meeting an adult Tonya in the new book, which will most likely be titled The Diversion. The young Tonya was self confident but likeable, so we’ll see what she does when life throws her curveball and she goes off course. I had planned on The Rival being my next book, but I’m bumping it back until after The Diversion. So, it looks like I’m going to be busy for awhile.
In the meantime, in case you haven’t read The Betrayal, I’ve posted a free preview below.
Photography is my other big passion in life, along with writing, and I’ve visited, and photographed, many of the locations I use in my novels. So while I’m working on the treatment for my next contemporary romance novel, I thought I would share my photos of some of the places we visited in my earlier books.
Portions of my novel, The Betrayal, take place in San Diego. In one scene two characters, Emily and Jesse, spend a romantic Christmas holiday at the Hotel del Coronado.
This historic hotel is a famous landmark with a reputation for being haunted. Kate Morgan, a young hotel guest in the 1890s, met an untimely end during her stay and her ghost is said to haunt hotel today. She’s even mentioned in The Betrayal. Then, in the mid-twentieth century, the hotel used as a location for Some Like it Hot, starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. Her ghost is also said to haunt the hotel.
By the way, I do my photography as Gayle Martin, and if you’d like to see more of my work please visit my website at GayleMartinPhotography.com.
To read a free preview of The Betrayal, please click on the link below.
I’ve spent a busy summer producing a new book trailer with my good friend and fellow videographer, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video. Like all my book trailers, it presented its own set challenges producing it. However, I still had a lot of fun. Rob and I got to work with some amazing actors. I even spent a day in the southern Arizona wine country shooting the road footage from my dashboard.
The Betrayal is the story of Emily St. Claire, a devoted wife who literally catches her husband in the act with another woman. Determined to rebuild her life, Emily returns home with her father to pursue her dream of being a concert pianist. But little does she know that a new, and deadly, betrayal is about to unfold.
There are two kinds of women who get involved with married men. Some are like Carrie, the leading lady in my earlier novel, The Deception. They’re duped into believing the man is single and available. Then there is the other kind. She knows upfront the man is married, but chooses to get involved with him anyway.
Annette, one of the antagonists in The Betrayal, is the latter. Not only does she know, from the get-go, that Jesse is a married man, she also knows his wife, Emily. Jesse, however, is nothing if not charming and seductive. He takes full advantage of the fact that Annette has become disillusioned with her significant other, and he uses it as the catalyst to initiate their affair.
Annette thinks she’s doing Emily a favor by breaking them up. She knows Emily put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold to help Jesse with his career. Therefore, she is, “helping” Emily by freeing her so she can finally pursue her dream. Emily, however, doesn’t quite see it that way.
Jesse soon tires of Annette. He ends the affair and tries to win Emily back. Annette, however, has no intention of going quietly into the night. She comes up with her own desperate scheme to get Jesse back. The consequences of which will forever change the lives of everyone involved.
Annette is a purely fictitious character, and, thankfully, not inspired by anyone I’ve ever encountered. There are, unfortunately, plenty of real life Annettes out there. That’s what makes her the woman you’ll love to hate.
At long last, The Betrayal is back from the editor. It was certainly worth the wait, as this time I had to do a major revision.
The Betrayal is a story of lies, deceit and infidelity. However, I was facing some real-life challenges of my own as I was writing the story, which resulted in my having to set the manuscript aside for weeks at a time. Unbeknownst to me, when it was finally complete, there were some continuity errors that I couldn’t see. However, my editor, sure caught them. The last few chapters would have to be revised, and by the time I finish both of us were delighted at how much those changes improved the storyline.
Now, I can’t divulge too much, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I can, however, give you a sneak peek, so here you go.
an excerpt from The Betrayal
Emily glanced at the dashboard clock as she waited for traffic light to change. It was nearly one o’clock. In the hour since she left Dr. Lerner’s office, her entire world had collapsed around her, and she wasn’t sure where to go next. Should she get a hotel room? Or would she be better off staying with her father? Granted, he’d never been fond of Jesse, but he wasn’t one to say I told you so either. The light turned green. She sighed and pointed her car toward her father’s house. Ten minutes later she pulled into the driveway.
I may not be a formula writer, but there are certain rules for basic plot structure that all fiction writers must follow. A protagonist is trying to achieve a certain goal. An antagonist gets in their way. This creates the conflict that drives the story. The conflict builds to a climax, followed by a conclusion. This is the tonal scale for a novel writer. In romance, the expected conclusion is for the couple to end up married, engaged, or make some other commitment to one another.
My first three novels, The Reunion,The Deception, and The Journey, all ended with the leading characters getting married. In the case of The Journey, remarried. However, I’ve deviated of course in TheBetrayal. This time I did it in reverse.
The Betrayal is the story of a married woman who discovers, in a rather bizarre way, that her husband is cheating on her. Therefore, my protagonist trying to get herself unmarried. Along the way, she’ll find her true love, but this time the ending is different. Emily, the leading lady, is once again single. And while she and the leading man are in love with one another, neither are ready for a commitment. The ending leaves the other characters, and the reader, speculating that they will probably marry. Someday.
I took this path with this story because I think it’s more like real-life. Divorced people often are gun shy about remarriage. I also think readers like variety. I know I do as a writer, and having all my characters go up the aisle at the end of each novel gets redundant over time. It might make me a “formula” writer, and that’s something I don’t want to become.
Look for The Betrayal to be released later this summer.
There is more to The Betrayal than just one betrayal. It’s also a good cop bad cop story. For some, this has already created a bit of a controversy.
When I first started working on the manuscript, I posted something on Facebook about the villain being a corrupt police detective, while the hero is a good cop who eventually catches the bad cop. Within a few hours of posting someone started losing their lunch, posting a scathing comment to the effect of how dare I write a story about a bad cop. My response was that the story is fiction, and what part of the hero being the good cop did he not understand? Then it was on to the unfreind button.
I honestly do believe that the vast majority of police officers out there are good people. Therefore my leading man, along with a few supporting characters, are all good cops. Unfortunately, there are a some bad ones out there too. They can, and do, destroy innocent lives as well as tarnish the reputations of all the good cops out there. Yes, The Betrayal is a work of fiction, but good or bad, its inspiration comes from real life.