I have always loved reading romantic suspense novels. They are a fascinating genre, having to combine action and romance, mystery and passion. They have to keep the reader guessing until the end, not only about the resolution of the romantic conflict between the hero and heroine, but also about the resolution of the mystery. I usually write historical romances but during a family holiday in the South of France I started thinking of a plot for A SPELL IN PROVENCE. I knew I wanted to write a contemporary romance between an English heroine and a French hero, but I soon realised that I wanted to include danger and mystery too, drawn from the captivating ancient history of Provence. The more I read and researched the area of Lubéron, where the story is set, the more I learned about the Salyens - the Celtic tribes who lived there before the Roman invaded the region - the darker the mystery became ... Juggling the love story and the suspense element was an exciting novelty to me - a little like trying a new recipe!
So how did I write A SPELL IN PROVENCE? Here is the recipe I made up as I went along...
Take these essential ingredients:
A naive, but determined, English heroine who buys Bellefontaine, an old provençal farmhouse to pursue the life-long dream of running a guesthouse.
A handsome, enigmatic French hero, the owner of Manoir Coste, a vast estate and luxury hotel nearby, who keeps telling our heroine she is an amateur and is bound to fail.
An ancient spell binding the lives and the hearts of the ladies of Bellefontaine and the dukes of Coste.
Mix well then add a large spoonful of Provence's ancient history, including tales of a long lost temple and cryptic inscriptions in Latin on village fountains.
Add a sprinkle of hostility by locals and a drizzle of passion.
Whisk the mixture until the heroine has fallen head-over-heels in love with the hero.
Then add a few drops of doubt and a soupçon of fear, caused by reports of gruesome murders and eerie sightings of lights in the forest.
Simmer on slow heat until tension sizzles and bubbles.
Pour the mixture into a heart-shaped tin and bake under the watchful eye of Bona Dea, an ancient Salyen goddess from Provence. When ready, enjoy with a cup of strong, black coffee or a glass of rosé wine!
A Spell in Provence is published by Accent Press and out now.
Blurb: With few roots inThough she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château. As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.
England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter
decides to give up on home and start a new life in , spending her redundancy
package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a
successful hotel. France