Posts Tagged ‘Honey Trap’




Honey Trap and Dominick

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I’ll talk more about Sophie tomorrow, but I’ve got a post up today on The Writing Playground about how I came up with the hero of Honey Trap, Dominick Steele. I’ll also be giving away a copy of Honey Trap there, to a person who comments.

So please visit The Writing Playground!

Meanwhile, here is a picture of the physical inspiration for Dominick Steele. A beautiful man, and one who happens to have grown up about forty miles from my home town…

Dominick Steele





Honey Trap and Sophie, part 2

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(The first part of this discussion is found below, here.)

Honey TrapSo once I’d decided to write about Sophie the private detective, I thought about her job. She’d mentioned to Eleanor, the heroine of One Night Stand, that it was mostly infidelity investigations these days, and I’d heard a few things on the radio about the idea of honey trapping–that is, tempting an attached man or woman with an attractive stranger to see if they take the bait and prove themselves unfaithful.

To me, it seems like a flawed concept: just because someone flirts, it doesn’t mean they’re habitually unfaithful, and besides, it shows that there’s a basic lack of trust and communication in the relationship. Seems to me that a counsellor is a better choice than a honey trapper. But Sophie, I discovered, saw it differently.

For her, a cheater is a cheater and the sooner they’re caught, the better. She doesn’t like honey trapping, but there’s something exciting in it for her. The control. The power. The slinky clothes and the makeup that’s a mask. The way she feels sexy and desired, even if it’s by the wrong people. She’d never admit it, though, not even to herself. Here’s how she explains it to her would-be boyfriend, Raj, near the beginning of the book:

“But you can’t like it, can you?” His voice was pleading.
“Like it? Looking like a tart? Making inane conversation? The scumbags drooling over me, thinking they’ll have a fumble? The only decent thing about it is the pow–”
She stopped. She’d been about to say “the power”.
“Is the money I get paid. It’s my job,” she said firmly. “Liking it or not has nothing to do with it.”

So then I had my character arc: Sophie needed to discover that life is not as black and white as she believes. And she also needs to find out how she can assert her sexuality in a way that’s safe for her. Of course, if honey trapping is a symptom of her problems, then the hero, in order to challenge her as much as possible, needed to be someone involved in the honey trapping.

But I didn’t think I could have her make that progression if she were still doing honey traps. I needed her to become disillusioned by the whole thing, to make a move towards something better for herself. So I decided two things: one was that I had to begin the book in a place I hadn’t usually begun my books before, which is several chapters before she meets the hero. I had to show her making the decision to turn away from her old life, towards something that she thinks will be better. Of course if she hasn’t dealt with her issues yet, things won’t get better; they’ll get worse.

And then I had to decide what she was going to do instead of being a honey-trapping private detective. That’s where a visit to the Lake District came in.





where Honey Trap came from: Sophie

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Honey TrapOn Wednesday I’m going to be blogging on The Writing Playground, about why rock stars are the best heroes, and doing that got me thinking about Honey Trap in general and how it started out. So I’m going to spend a few days blogging about how I started that book and what I did for research with it, in case anybody wants to know.

It was one of those books I love writing, where the characters come from a book I’ve already written, and I treat myself to finding out what happens to them.

When I was writing One Night Stand, I did a scene where the heroine, Eleanor, hires a private detective to find the man who got her pregnant during a one night stand. All Eleanor knows is that he looks like George Michael, and that his name might be, and probably isn’t, George. The detective she hires is called Sophie Tennant. I wrote the scene where they met, at a back table in Coffee Republic in Reading where I, myself, used to do a lot of writing pre-baby.

I didn’t have any plans for Sophie, particularly, except for her to look for George. But she jumped from my fingers on the keyboard onto the page. She came out like this:

Sophie was pretty but understated; she didn’t appear to be the sort of person who would pull out a gun at the smallest opportunity. I could picture her maybe doing a bit of lurking, but she wouldn’t be eating doughnuts and making crude remarks while she did it, if that makes sense. If I was going to g so far as to hire a private investigator, it was nice that she wasn’t a cliche…I looked at Sophie’s light brown hair, held back by a rubber band, and her hands, which were small and had fingernails bitten to the quick.

There were details there that really struck me. Her hair, which was so plain, for one thing. And her bitten fingernails. And her propensity for quiet lurking. And the fact that she was pretty, but didn’t make much of it. As I wrote more of her, it became clear that she had a talent for getting people to open up with her, and tell her their secrets.

I wondered what sort of burden that would be.

To be continued tomorrow…





Honey Trap available!

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Hee hee hee…Honey Trap is in stock on Amazon.





after the party

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andy warhol

What a fantastic time I had! Thank you, everyone, for visiting my new-look website and for commenting on my posts and joining the party. I was knocked out by how many people visited and what fun and intelligent comments you all left.

I’m happy to announce that the winner of a signed copy of Honey Trap, which hasn’t actually been released yet but will be out in a couple of weeks, is Fran, whose name is actually Lara but whom I call Fran for reasons rather embarrassing to myself.

Anyway, Lara-Fran, I’ll be emailing you to ask for your address and I’ll send you a book as soon as I get them myself.

And tomorrow I’ll be back to my normal non-party blogging. Probably about hay fever, which is really kicking my ass right now.

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blog party day three

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It’s Friday, everyone! Yippee-yi-yay!

And that means it’s the day I get to give away a copy of my brand-new, not-even-released-yet novel Honey Trap to a lucky partier/commenter on this post!

highgate cemetery angelIn actual fact, I’m spending this afternoon doing research for my next book, which involves me going on a tour of Highgate Cemetery in London. This is all far too gloomy and gothic for a party, though, so I’m going to choose a different venue for the last day of my party.

Honey Trap is about Sophie Tennant, a private detective turned aromatherapist, who goes on tour with a rock band, only to find that the bass player is the ex-alcoholic, ex-womaniser, ex-rock god Dominick Steele, the man whose marriage she ended.

The novel’s climactic scene takes place at Blackbury Festival, a sort of mini-Glastonbury, where the band is playing and there’s a shadowy person in the crowd who’s been threatening Sophie. Here’s an excerpt from the book (based, I must say, on my extensive experience of rock festivals, except for the having someone there trying to kill me part):

The sun beamed down on ten thousand smiling people and Sophie, who stood with her back to a Chinese food stall and her front to a group of teenagers smoking pot.

She breathed in the smell of MSG and marijuana and scanned the crowd. It was between sets, and when she glanced up at the stage across the sea of people she could see Owen and Dempsey changing over the equipment to prepare for the Venusians. Festival-goers strolled around, sat on the ground, lolled in the sun, drank beer, laughed and ate and smoked.

Mostly, they were everywhere, in crowds that blocked her view of everything except for the square metre directly in front of her, or the far-off stage. Blocked her view of her stalker.

The Chinese food stall wasn’t a good vantage point. She began to thread her way through the clumps of people, wishing she’d paid more attention to photographs of crowds when she’d researched the festival. She had the timetable of the day by heart, she had the plans of the entire site memorised, she knew the best quick escape routes from every point, she knew the isolated places where a killer would be likely to drag a potential victim.
rock festival

But she hadn’t noticed what people would be wearing. For example, hats: there were more silly hats here than she’d ever seen in one place in her life. Viking hats, cowboy hats, tall stripy Cat-in-the-Hat hats. Although so many people seemed concerned to protect their heads against the sun, that didn’t extend to the rest of their bodies: bare-chested men and bikini-topped women sweated and glowed bright red.

Sophie brushed past a man (she thought) dressed as Spongebob Squarepants. Her supposedly inconspicuous outfit of jeans and a white vest top must stick out like a sore thumb. All her stalker would have to do would be to paint himself blue or something and she’d never notice him.

A familiar explosion of drums and guitar on stage told her that the Venusians’ set had begun. Her back was exposed but she couldn’t help glancing up to the stage. Her eyes went straight to Dominick, standing off to the right looking at his bass guitar as he played, seeming not to hear the cheers of the sunburnt crowd.

She knew that intensity he brought to music, because he brought it to her, too.

Now, however, was not the time to think about that. Now was the time to concentrate on the hunt and the chase, which was a good thing because even with all her faults as a detective, she was much better at investigation than relationships. She scanned the crowd again, again failing to spot any villains. She did see somebody peeing into a plastic cider bottle.

“Dominick!” screamed a group of five bikini-topped girls next to her, and again her attention was drawn to the stage. Or rather, to the large screens either side of the stage, where Dominick was magnified dozens of times bigger than reality, and breathtakingly beautiful.

So… what better way to celebrate my blog party and my new book by hauling this whole shebang off to a big rock festival?

The music, the noise, the food, the crowd, the peeing in bottles…but mostly, the music.

C’mon guys, grab a beer from the beer tent and tell me: Who’s on stage?


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