There is a city in the United States that claims the distinction of the most unique city in the country. New Orleans has a multicultural history. The Spanish influence, the organically strong French influence, and perhaps most of all, the influence of the Acadians who settled there and are now called Cajuns have created a delicious étouffée that is called The City That Care Forgot. New Orleans has other nicknames too: The Big Easy, The Crescent City, City of Saints and Sinners, and Cut Throat City. There are more, but these are the most common. Obviously, this incredible area makes a fascinating backdrop for fiction, especially romantic suspense.
Authors love to choose particular settings for their books. It gives the books a continuity, gives the characters a sense of community, and allows the author to use landmarks and sensuous descriptions that help the reader feel at home in the stories. My setting of choice is New Orleans, for many reasons.
The historical Vieux Carré, or French Quarter, in the heart of the city on the Mississippi River, includes everything from the most elegant restaurants to the most dangerous streets in the city. I’ve used the vodun, or voodoo, shops, shotgun houses, fancy clubs, secret rooms for illegal gambling, abandoned warehouses, and the infamous Bourbon Street many times in my books.
The places are not the only things that make New Orleans such an interesting setting for romantic and suspenseful novels. The very smell of New Orleans is unique. The fishy, muddy smell of the river, combined with the pervasive scent of the spices used in Cajun cuisine, the faint odor of garbage and a slight waft of smoke from the boats in the port of New Orleans make the air in the French Quarter immediately recognizable. And, believe it or not, the odor is not disagreeable.
Ironically, the Eighth District building of the New Orleans Police Department, often called the Eighth Precinct, is located on Royal Street in the French Quarter, one block from Bourbon Street. The building is attractive and welcoming, with wrought iron decorative fences, white pillars and a lovely entrance. The fact that it’s in the middle of the Quarter is enough to spark lots of plot turns and suspenseful scenes.
The streetcars, including the famous one named Desire, named for Desire Street, run throughout the Quarter and the city–excellent for getaway scenes. Also, the idea of Streetcar Named Desire is also a provocative source of ideas.
New Orleans is a survivor. The City That Care Forgot is like an old madame who has been been through too much in her life, but still maintains a threadbare elegance that is heroic, admirable and constantly and continually unique and lovable.
I had the opportunity to write an eleven book series based on the concept of grandchildren of a prominent and infamous politician in Louisiana. In those books, the Delancey Dynasty, I explored how they coped with notoriety, love and the mystery of how their grandfather died. A real-life prominent and infamous Louisiana politician, Huey P. Long, gave me the original idea.
Now I’m writing a series called Louisiana Lawmen. These are three books featuring three honorable and hunky law enforcement officers in the NOPD who are dedicated to the people they have sworn to protect. No Hero is the first book, featuring Detective Devereux Gautier. A battered runaway child himself, he is committed to rescuing as many homeless teens in the city that he can. Reghan Connor is committed to prove that Dev is a liar and a fraud. The second book is called No Saint. Detective Rick Easterling admits that he is no saint. When he falls for a lovely waitress in a bar that’s a front for a Drug Lord, little does he know that Lusinda is an undercover cop who is out to prove that he’s on the take. Danny DeLuca is the third dedicated law enforcement officer in No Angel. He’s an FBI agent who travels to New Orleans in search of a dangerous serial killer. As he gets closer and closer to the killer, he finds himself falling more and more in love with the only victim who escaped the clutches of the New Moon Killer.
No Hero is out now. No Saint is due for release on January 29, 2018 and No Angel is scheduled for March 5, 2018. I hope you will travel with me to New Orleans, Louisiana, and that you will love these heroic lawmen as much as I do.