I’m very pleased to welcome Flo Fitzpatrick to the blog today. Flo was a dancer and an actress, earning a BFA in Dance and an MA in theatre. She now writes mystery and romance, and has two new books out. Clearly, Flo is a very creative woman! Let’s find out what’s going on in her writing life.
Two books out in one month! Yep. That’s what happened this summer -through no great planning on my part.
The books are Aria in Ice and Cold Wind to Valhalla and they’re numbers two and three in the Abby Fouchet mystery series. People always ask me “where do you get your ideas?” and/or “How long did it take you to write the book?” so here’s the answer to both questions –at least for these books.
Aria in Ice started life as Cold as Ice and the original intent was to make it a follow-up to Hot Stuff, a romantic suspense I’d set in Mumbai, India. Hot Stuff had been optioned for film (still is!) and the independent producer who bought the option (and has since left the project) thought it’d be cool to have a sequel in the wings. Then an agency, Rolling Seas Promotions, got involved. They asked if I had any other books that might work for a combination mystery/comedy. I told them about Cold as Ice but also said it was literally in the stage of “I want to set this in Prague at a spooky castle.” Not a single chapter had been written. They liked the idea but didn’t like the idea of a sequel and wanted to know when I could send the book.
That’s when I lost my mind for the second time as a writer. I’d written Hot Stuff in eight days (there’s a whole story behind that that includes massive amounts of Indian food delivered to my door for inspiration) and figured if I did it once I could do it again. So I told the agent I’d get them the book but was changing the title to Aria in Ice (because there were too many books named Cold as Ice) and it would NOT be a follow-up to Hot Stuff. I decided to go with Abby Fouchet since she has these great ‘gifts’ of second sight and I thought, “Let’s add ‘ghost-listener’ and see where that takes her.” I sat down and wrote it in six days (which was tough without having any kolache -a wonderful Czech pastry- delivery places around) then edited it for the next two weeks and sent it to Rolling Seas. The screenplay has been written. Waiting for – you guessed it – financial backing! As speculation still runs rampant as to who’ll play Abby and Johnny (at least between the agent, screen writer and me!) the reprint for Aria in Ice was released in mass market paperback through World Wide Mysteries (Harlequin) about three weeks ago.
Fast forward to 2012. I’d released a time-travel romance a few years ago called Haunting Melody. It was kind of weird because I sent my heroine back to 1919. Not the Civil War. Not the American Revolution. Not the Stone Age or the age of any Tudors or Lancasters. No Druids hanging out during the building of Stonehenge. Nope. This was New York City and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1919. I had so much fun researching this I wanted to do something else in this time period but wanted my heroine involved in the silent movies of that era. To do another time travel to a similar time seemed a bit redundant but to have my heroine be an actress in a TV series that DID time-travel would give me the best of both worlds.
Several readers had written me asking, “when is Abby coming back?” and since Abby is involved in show biz — be that theatre, film or the way-too-fun-to write-about soaps. I stuck her back into the daytime drama Endless Time and came up with a plot within a plot about stolen patents and Latin Lover Movie Stars a la Rudolph Valentino in the early days of movie making in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Added a murder (or two) and that was that. This one took more than six days though. Make that more like six months. But finally, Cold Wind to Valhalla was released – about three weeks ago –same time as Aria in Ice.
And I swear I didn’t notice the references to chilly weather in the titles until both were released. Cold Wind to Valhalla comes from a title of a Jethro Tull song and is used to help Abby with clues (second sight can’t do everything!)
Just hoping now that it’s August looking at the titles will cool everyone off a bit.
Thanks so much for the cool blog post, Flo! Both books sound fantastic. Readers, Flo is giving away a copy of Cold Wind to Valhalla and Aria in Ice to some lucky readers. Just tell us what are some your favorite historical periods and/or settings for mystery and romance. Two people will win a copy of one of Flo’s books!