Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hunter Raines - Research for Paradise Found: #3 – The Stunning Island of Anguilla

With a title like PARADISE FOUND, you’d expect the story to be set in… well, in paradise, right? It is. Or rather, much of it is. The rest is set in Boston, and in Los Angeles. And although I’m sure many people who call Boston and Los Angeles home would describe their cities as their own little corner of paradise, I’m specifically talking about the incredible island of Anguilla.

I knew I wanted to set a large part of this book on an island. That sensual, tropical location was key. But where? And how to pick? You guessed it: I started doing research.

My husband and I go to Mexico every year. And although it’s a gorgeous place and we have a wonderful time, I wanted something more intimate, more private, a little more exclusive. I found all that and more in Anguilla.

This tiny island (it’s approximately 16 miles long by 3 miles wide at its widest point) is a British territory. In addition to the main strip of land, Anguilla also encompasses some smaller islands and cays. Its entire land mass is 35 square miles, and it has a population of around 15,000 people. It’s located in the Caribbean, east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and north of Saint Martin.

Anguilla is known for its spectacular coral reefs, gorgeous white-sand beaches, and breathtaking turquoise water. There are a number of resort hotels on the island, but Le Grand Lit, which features prominently in PARADISE FOUND, is entirely fictional. I drew on my own experience staying at a variety of resort hotels and built elegant, luxurious, sultry accommodations for my three main characters.

I loved writing about Anguilla so much, I’m planning a vacation there sometime soon. And who knows? There might be another story coming out of this setting… It’s too perfect for just one book.

Your turn! How much does a book’s setting impact you? Do you prefer books set in large cities, small towns, or tropical beaches? In your travels, which locale has made the greatest impression on you?

Leave me a comment to be entered in the draw for a $10 Amazon gift certificate. I’ll choose one random winner daily, so if you comment every day I’m here, you’ll get three chances to win!


Philip closed his eyes and drew in a breath, inhaling the spicy scent of aftershave and the salty mist drifting off the ocean. God, he had to be really loaded to have considered, even for a fraction of a second, that he could escape the family legacy by running away from it.

He drained the last of his drink while getting to his feet. “Nice knowing you.”

Cameron rose to stand beside him. “You staying at the Grand Lit?”

Philip glanced at the bulky whitewashed building gleaming against the dark sky. Shaped like a wide rectangle around a courtyard, it stood half a mile away.

Wildflowers, stout palm trees and other plants Philip didn’t recognize burst into being at the inland edge of the beach, flanking a smooth stone path that led straight to the arched gateway in front of the hotel lobby.

“Yeah, I’m here. You?” He could have kicked himself for asking. He might as well have invited them up to his room.

“Us, too.”

They walked together in silence, their bare feet sinking soundlessly into the warm sand. The hot evening air was less muggy than Philip had expected. A dry breeze, spiced with salty ocean tang, made the light fabric of his T-shirt flutter against his stomach, and he couldn’t help but notice it did the same to Mark’s hair, lifting the silky locks off his shoulders.

“Why don’t you come up?” Cameron asked when they reached the elevator doors. “We’re on the sixth floor, and we’ve got a well-stocked mini bar. No fancy fruit stuff, though.”

He’d expected this, yet the invitation still managed to stun him. He swallowed past the instant agreement rising in his throat. Tension built in the pit of his stomach.

He wanted to go with these two men, wanted it with every fiber of his being. Frozen, he hung on that moment, suspended at a crossroads, torn between the straight-laced future waiting for him in Boston and the temptation to spend a few forbidden hours with two gay men who reminded him of everything he couldn’t have.

“Well?” Mark prompted, pressing the elevator button. “I promise we won’t hurt you.”

Cameron winked at Philip. “Much.”

PARADISE FOUND is available at Carina Press, Amazon, and other online retailers.
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throuthehaze said...

I don't have a setting preference. It really depends on the tone of the book. I haven't traveled much, but the place that has made the biggest impression on me is Seattle. The combination of nature and city blew me away.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

Hunter said...

throuthehaze - Seattle is absolutely gorgeous. I lived in Austin for a while, and had the same impression. That combination of nature (hills, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes) and city smack dab in the middle of the flat Texas landscape blew me away.

Lisa G said...

For me, the setting depends on the story and the tone of the book. I enjoy reading about places I've never been and learning about them. That said, it's also fun to read about places I've been to to see if the author liked the same things that I did.

Chelsea B. said...

I will admit that characters mean more to me then setting... Though I am very fond of Scotland :-)

JenM said...

I travel quite a bit so I'm always happy to read a book set in a location I've previously visited. I also love reading about places I haven't been so I can decide whether I want to go there LOL. Just recently I read book set in Paris and it inspired me so much that when we decided to make a spur of the moment trip to Europe, Paris is where we went. (It was lovely, but horrifically expensive.)

I like all locations, large cities, small towns, beaches, mountains, but I guess my favorite is when a book is set in San Francisco, because that's where I live and it's always fun to see the local places.

Jennifer Mathis said...

I like reading about anywhere . I live in a small town and since the budget just dont allow for travel this is my own personal way of visiting other places

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