Inventing your own country is a lot of fun. If you like hunky Mediterranean men, you can make sure it’s densely populated with them. Naturally all your favorite foods feature prominently in local cuisine. And if you’d like to take a sensuous mental dip in the warm waters lapping against the crystal sands of your imaginary locale—who’s to stop you?
I had all this fun and more in creating the nation of Caspia for my new book Prince of Midtown. It’s the third book in Silhouette Desire’s “Park Avenue Scandals.” The editors at Silhouette chose a different Desire author for each book in the series and gave us the plot and characters to make our own. In my case they also gave me a country.
I was handed the name Caspia and informed that it was in Europe and “like Venice.” It came complete with handsome prince Sebastian Stone, a spirited playboy in desperate need of reform by the love of a good woman: namely his down-to-earth American assistant Tessa Banks.
I’m the kind of writer who likes to know ALL the details, even if they don’t actually end up in the book, so first I had to figure out where Caspia was. I remembered there’s a Caspian Sea, but when I rushed to the globe I realized that—bordered by countries including Iran and Kazakhstan—it wasn’t technically in Europe. While visions of Kazakh horsemen galloped readily across my brain, I decided that wasn’t exactly what the Silhouette editors had in mind. After a lot of research and intense daydreaming, I imagined the horsemen had galloped through Southern Europe, conquered some picturesque countryside between Italy and Greece, and named it Caspia.
You’d never know all that from reading the book, but I needed to know ::grin::
I love warm weather, so naturally Caspia enjoys a balmy Mediterranean climate. Since I enjoy dramatic landscapes, I brushed in some steep mountains skirted with lush wildflower meadows. From the top of the crags you can look down over the red-tiled roofs of the town all the way to the glittering ocean. As Sebastian was proud of bringing prominent designer stores to his homeland, I made sure the harbor was ringed with upscale boutiques, accessible by a stroll along the smooth stone quays, or by a romantic gondola trip. ::sigh::
Nearly every review I’ve had has mentioned how much the reader enjoyed visiting Caspia in the book, so I guess my fantasy works for other people too. What would your personal paradise look like?