Behind the scenes: Adrift

Meredith has been waiting in the wings in each book of the Serendipity stories so it was high time she got her own love story in Adrift. But where exactly did her character come from? And how on earth did she end up on the run from the Russian mafia in Grenada?

The inspiration for the characters

Meredith has a fairly complicated character - and guess what? She’s partly based on my sister, which made her really hard to write. The funny thing is that some readers tell me the character is too contradictory to be real because she doesn’t fit the stereotype of a pushy doctor-type. But sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction. My sister really is a doctor – and a damn good one who patients line up to see even if there’s another doctor available. She and I both put ourselves through college by waitressing, and she was great at it because she has great people skills and a genuine concern for others that comes through now that she’s accomplished her dream of helping others as a doctor. She’s incredibly modest, though, and a good listener. Happily, my sister does not have a Marco haunting her memories, but she’s overcome a lot of other difficulties, and I think that’s what gives her so much empathy for others.

So Meredith has always been clear in my mind. The difficulty was finding her a great guy to sail off into the sunset with. Lucky for her, Tuss came waltzing into my mind and heart. I know a lot of multi-cultural people like Tuss, but to me, he’s the perfect combination of looks, brains, and character. He’s loyal, honest, and determined to make a difference in the world. And he’s the perfect match for Meredith – a man who knows when to lead and when to let a capable woman take the reins. He’s confident enough to bring out the best in his partner, bold enough to take on a mafia boss, and sensitive enough to help Meredith break down the walls around her heart. What’s not to love?

Inspiration for the story

The inspiration for the setting of this fun story came from my own sailing adventures in the Caribbean, when I sailed a boat as modest as Serendipity and gaped at many fancy megayachts as over-the-top as Tsareva. I’ll never forget my stay in the quiet anchorage of Prickly Bay, my delicious dinner at Gouyave fish night, and the day I spent hiking to and swimming in beautiful Seven Sisters Falls. In fact, I nearly chose Grenada as the setting for Book 1 of this series, but decided to wait a few books before bringing Serendipity there.

As for the plot, well, I’ve heard a few wild rumors – and read several serious new articles – about the Russian Mafia at work in the Caribbean. So it didn’t take much for my imagination to come up with bad guys for this book. And since I love it when modest heroes triumph over wealth and power, I came up with this David and Goliath story set on the lovely spice island of Grenada. And let me tell you, it was a blast to write!

My favorite scene

The first scene that comes to mind is the epilogue, because I love seeing characters living a well-deserved happy end. Other favorites include how Meredith and Tuss meet Superfly, the soccer artist, in part because it’s very similar to how I met the real Superfly during my own time exploring the Caribbean. Just when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere, Superfly came along! So that’s based on a true story, too! Another favorite scene is Meredith and Tuss’ escape from Tsareva by jetski – not just for the excitement but also for showing how confident and capable Meredith can be.

Biggest change from the earliest draft of the story

That’s actually hard to remember because this story has been gradually developing in the back of mind ever since I started writing the Serendipity series. The biggest question mark in my mind was how much of a shared past Meredith and Tuss should have. At one point, I was thinking that they’d originally met years earlier when doing volunteer work in Haiti together. But I eventually decided to go with the recent one-night-stand version in part because – well, what good girl doesn’t dream about letting out her wild side once in a while?

Thanks so much for reading Adrift and the rest of the Serendipity Adventure Romances! I hope you enjoyed each and every one!