- by Susan Lyons
It’s winter, the holiday season is upon us, and I am so not a winter or snow person. And yet, I chose to set my December release, Sex on the Slopes (Berkley Heat) in Whistler, BC. Why? Well, after having set my first destination wedding book, Sex on the Beach, in Belize, I thought it would be fun to go to the opposite extreme for the second one. Besides, Whistler is just 3 hours up the road from me. Having lived all my life in Victoria and Vancouver, BC, Whistler’s been a part of my life, and it’s a fascinating place. It’s an odd mix of small town and international resort – and, of course, it was one of the sites of the 2010 Olympics.
Whistler really helped shape Sex on the Slopes, not just in terms of the physical setting but also the characters and conflicts contained in the three interlocking novellas. There are so many different kinds of people and communities within Whistler, and they don’t always mix easily.
Of course there are normal people living there and going about their normal lives, and they’re often people who love the rugged mountains, spectacular scenery, and all-season sports. Other people come there for business purposes. For example, in the first of the three novellas, titled “Fire and Ice,” firefighter Jared Stone is a local man. He grew up in Whistler, married his high school sweetheart, and was widowed three years ago. Heroine Andi Radcliffe is the Vancouver wedding planner who’s in charge of arranging a week of pre-wedding festivities for fifty people, as well as planning the wedding itself. So, a small town guy with deep roots in Whistler meets a businesswoman from Vancouver; a widower who never imagined falling in love again meets a single girl who wants to be a man’s “first and only.” Will it be a quickie fling, or the beginning of something deeper that will require both of them to shake up their lives?
And of course there are tourists in Whistler; they’re the foundation of the economy. There are also a lot of seasonal workers, from waiters to chambermaids to ski instructors, and many of them are from Australia. A lot of them are there because they love skiing or snowboarding, and next season they’ll be off somewhere else. The heroine of “Slippery Slope,” Brianna George, the groom’s boss, is in Whistler as a wedding guest, so in theory she’s a tourist. Yet she’s a career-driven woman who doesn’t believe in holidays. Aussie “ski bum” Zack Michaels provides plenty of inducement to put work aside and have some fun – but it’s a slippery slope for both of them as fun turns to something much deeper and more meaningful. Can two such opposite people ever find happiness together?
Whistler also has its seamy side, and that’s what brings undercover cop Logan Carver there in “In Hot Pursuit of a Bad Boy.” But will his biggest challenge be identifying the kingpin in an international drug ring, or coping with his feelings for the girl from his past? Maddie Daniels, the sister of the groom, is in Whistler for the wedding and plans on a week of pure fun – but once she sees her high school crush, she has a whole new goal. If she has her way, bad boy Logan won’t slip through her fingers for a second time.
See what I mean about setting shaping the characters and stories? These three romances could only have happened in Whistler. I had so much fun writing them, and I hope readers have as much fun reading them.
And I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season.