Saturday, August 28, 2010

My dream setting

by Cate Masters

Like all getaways, they end too soon, don’t they? It was fun to spend some time at Desert Island Keepers. I hope you’ve enjoyed our short virtual getaway too.

When my hubby and I talk about dream vacations, this next setting always comes up. Hawaii. Just the name conjures images of aquamarine waters, colorful sunsets over pristine beaches, the relaxing tones of a slack-key guitar… Ahhh.

Interestingly, the setting didn’t inspire my contemporary midlength, Going with Gravity.

Rather than the tropical setting, a news story spurred the initial idea. A jet lost its fuselage in midair and managed to land with no injuries to any of its 350 passengers, despite a gaping hole in the plane. An amazing story in itself. But in reading it, I wondered about the people on that plane. More importantly, who could I put on such a plane?

To ratchet up the tension, the characters on that fateful flight had to be under personal pressure. So I created Allison Morris. A harried public relations expert, Allison stayed at her job out of dedicated professionalism. Her boss, Michelle McCarter, took her divorce from a famous rock star badly, and often left a PR mess for Allison to clean up. Others might kill to have an in with the rock star royalty she rubbed elbows with, but Allison would kill for a day off, and Michelle was becoming too much to handle. Allison had always dreamed of going to Hawai‘i, but when Michelle needs her there, she doesn't look forward to it. She's barely had time for her own life.

Poor Allison was so uptight, I needed to balance her out with someone laid back. Someone who didn't let anything rile him. Someone who believed in the path he was on. Wes Hamilton is just such a guy. Up for any challenge, he seems Allison's polar opposite, except that he holds the same basic values - he cares for people, for the environment. Despite his anything-goes appearance, he works hard, and not just at maintaining his status as a world-class surfer. He's also an entrepreneur.

So when that fuselage blew in mid-air, while Allison's in the rest room, she freaks. Wes rushes to her to make sure she's ok. His embrace turns into a kiss. For all Allison knows, this could be her last few minutes on earth. She wants more. So she earns her entry into the Mile High Club.

Hawaii has so many unique elements. As soon as you hear the sweet and soulful strains of a slack key guitar, it conjures images of the island beaches and sunsets, girls in grass skirts dancing with their hands and hips and feet. A slack key guitar is basically a six-string acoustic with the strings loosened to achieve that unique sound.

The Hawai‘ian language really amazed me. With only eight consonant phonemes, and either 5 or 25 vowel phonemes, depending on how the long vowels and diphthongs are treated. Its simplicity equals its complexity. Of course, I had to incorporate a few of the more romantic and descriptive phrases into Going with Gravity. The hero, Wes, couldn't resist the sea because of its kayani, which means “to call” or beacon. Wes taught Allison the meaning of ho`onipo: to make love, court, woo, yearn for. He also gives her a new name, Alana, which means Awakening. Unfortunately, the Hawai‘ian language is nearly extinct. As of 2000, less than 0.1 percent of the population spoke it. Hopefully no other aspect of Hawaii will become endangered.

Here’s the story blurb:
Publicist Allison Morris plans her own life – what’s left of it – around the life of her boss Michelle McCarter, the ex-wife of a famous rock star. When Michelle needs emergency public relations patchwork in Hawaii pronto, Allison arranges a flight to the dream destination. At the airport, she meets Wes Hamilton, a six-foot-three sun-bleached blond whose blue eyes and dazzling smile rekindle her fizzled-out sizzle. A world-renowned surfer, Wes captivates her with his charm and wit, though his easy fame and on-the-edge lifestyle are the polar opposite of her own. When their jet loses its fuselage in mid-air, she takes advantage of what she thinks are her last minutes alive with Wes. The plane lands safely. Wes takes care of her when her carefully constructed life begins to unravel. When Michelle accuses Allison of using Wes to gain fame for herself, Allison’s world falls apart in an explosive confrontation. Wes is waiting with open arms when she has nowhere else to go, but can Allison learn to stop planning and go with gravity?

You can read an excerpt of Going with Gravity, along with reviews, on my web site:

I’d love to give away a PDF of Going with Gravity to a commenter. Again, please include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Thanks again to the DIK ladies for having me at your virtual resort!


Heather D said...

I have really enjoyed your posts these last few days! You have definitely made me yearn for the beach more than ever!! I look forward to reading your books!!


Cate Masters said...

Thanks so much Heather! You guys have been wonderful, and I loved visiting. :)

Clare Revell said...

The book sounds wonderful. My ideal getaway is either a beach on the East coast of the UK or the Scottish Highlands

Anonymous said...'s a beautiful place. And those tanned, ripped, and sexy laocean men. What's there not to like?! Again, wonderful book trailer. You are so good at it. Thanks for blogging again today. :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm still half asleep. I forgot my e-mail again. :(


She said...

Enjoyed your post. My dream destination is Vienna, Austria on New Year's Eve. To waltz under the stars while listening to the Vienna Philharmonic. Maybe some day!

Cate Masters said...

All your dream destinations make me want a vacation! :)

Unknown said...

I've enjoyed reading your posts Cate and I see I have another must add for my list. Allison and Wes sound irresistible.

Unknown said...

I know this may sound silly, but my dream vacation is an isolated cabin in the woods for a month. Just me, my books, my computer to work on my WIP, and lovely scenery to look at out the window.
No scary animals though, please.
I'm looking forward to reading this one. Sounds like a treasure of a read. Hmm. I'll take it along to the cabin.
Thanks for an entertaining three days of comments.

Jessica said...

I made it to Hawaii once. 30 some yrs ago. I still remember bits and pieces of the trip. It's a very beautiful place and I would love to go back some day.

Scotland would be my next dream vacation. I've always wondered if I could find a Gerry Butler of my Ah, perchance a dream to become reality!

Amy Talbot said...

Hi Cate,

I really enjoyed the intro to this novel; sounds like a fun read, and yes, the setting is 'romantic'.

My next dream destination is Istanbul, Turkey; after experiencing this exotic city, I want to visit Gallipoli and pay tribute to the fallen ANZAC troops, then follow in the footsteps of the apostles around a country that is at the heart of western civilization.

my email:


Cate Masters said...

Thanks so much Melissa! :)

I hear you, Lorrie - I'd actually love to do the same. A writer's retreat for one!

My sister went to Hawaii, Jessica, and has some wonderful pics and stories. I hope you get back there someday too.

Thanks Amy! Wow, those sound like wonderful places too. I've wanted to visit Egypt since I was little, actually, and have too many other places to list. I'm a terrible traveler, but I love being in other places, if that makes any sense.

Anonymous said...

Ah,Hawaii... My preferred place would be Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii and only when the vog isn't that bad. I think there's still parts of the black sand beach left but the green sand beach is gone. *sigh* (I haven't been there in years though)

By the way, the Hawaiians don't use grass skirts (that's Polynesian); they use ti leaves (from my favorite hula troupe in San Francisco, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu).

(vog is volcanic smoke and fog)


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Cate,

Going with Gravity sounds excellent. I like the way you developed your characters, one an uptight workaholic and the other her polar opposite.

I'm read about some recent efforts to keep the Hawaiian language alive, using computer learning to interest the young people. But it may be a lost cause.

And my dream vacation...hmm. Maybe Bhutan...!

I actually have long list.


Cate Masters said...

Very interesting, Cories. When she visited, my sister hiked up along the volcano. No vog then, though.

I hope they do manage to keep the language alive in some manner, Lisabet.

Once again, I tossed everyone's names into a bowl and drew out... Becca! Congrats, I will email you your PDF today.

Thanks again for having me at your lovely blog. It's been a fun getaway, if only virtual!

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