Wednesday 8 May 2024

Where did Masquerade come from?

 Masquerade on the Riviera is currently a nominee for the Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller of the Year, and I did threaten a couple of posts ago to talk some more about it. I'm over the moon to be in the contest for the second time! 

How did I come to write it? Well -  it's the fourth in the Rivera Series, which are my sunshine escapist romantic suspense books, so it already has siblings, but this one is a bit different. For a start it's partially set on the English Riviera. My editor did get a bit worried that we were not going to end up in France or Italy, but the book concluded in Monaco, so she didn't need to fret. 

I have said before - often - that writers can get a bit sniffy when asked about their inspiration, because often we don't actually know.  In this case, with my contrary nature, I knew I wanted the English Riviera setting, just to mix things up a bit, and once I was in Torquay then the town's most celebrated literary inhabitant was a no-brainer. In a bit of homage I went truffling though some of the most famous Agatha Christie  motifs - so - there is a body in a library, a lot of Egyptian artifacts, a slightly creepy gothic style house, with a secret passage.  I think Enid Blyton might have got a look in with that last one.

Visiting Torquay for that year's Crime Writers' Association conference added some local colour.  The heroine, Masie, was already in place as she had had a minor role in the previous book and was due for her time centre stage. Quite how Elliott got to be an Egyptologist I'm not certain, but as the book revolved around a cursed Egyptian necklace I suppose that was fairly obvious too, when you think about it. I am NOT an Egyptologist, so I had to research that one, which  I enjoyed. The academic
background is me, I suppose, the convoluted plot - I have no idea. The Masked Ball might owe a bit to Georgette Heyer - doesn't everyone know what a domino is - no not the game with the spots. The Monaco setting and the private yacht is pure wish fulfilment - one of the up sides of past me choosing to make the head of the detective agency which roughly cements the series together, into a billionaire. It was fun to write, and it is brilliant to know that the reader judges for the RNA Awards enjoyed it enough to put it into the final. 

That, after all, is why we write them - to give enjoyment to readers - although a few have said they learned a few things too - hopefully about Egyptology and artistic provenance and not stealing valuable jewels - which I hope was an added bonus.  

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