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The Greek Escape: Susan Lyons Shares Her Inspiration

This month readers can beat the heat with a great (fictional) escape, Heat Waves by Susan Lyons. This erotica author's newest novel transports readers to the shores of the Greek Islands by way of a fabulous cruise and two romances that bloom while the passengers are on board. 

Heat Waves, my July release from Berkley Heat is my third destination wedding book. I had so much fun writing Sex on the Beach (Belize) and Sex on the Slopes (Whistler) that I was dying to write another.

When I thought about where the book should be set, I had one of those “aha!” moments. Greece! My favorite place in the world after my own beloved Pacific Northwest.

My love affair with Greece goes back a long way—and I was seduced by a writer. When I was in my teens and twenties, I adored Mary Stewart’s books, particularly The Moonspinners, My Brother Michael, and This Rough Magic. I even own a DVD of a very old (1960s) movie of The Moonspinners, starring Hayley Mills.

I knew I had to visit Greece. Finally, I did, and it more than lived up to my expectations. On that first trip, we went to Athens and Delphi, then caught the huge ferry to the islands and explored Santorini and Naxos. I still remember eating cooked-just-for-us mousssaka at a Cliffside restaurant in Fira on Santorini, looking over the amazing volcanic cauldron. (I also remember the nude beach on Naxos!)

That was before I realized I was a writer. My second visit came some years later, after I’d started to write. We spent two weeks driving around Crete, and I knew I had to set a book there.

I remember evenings in small villages while we lingered long after dinner over wine and coffee, my guy reading a sci fi novel and me writing, writing, writing in a notebook with a Greek cover: white buildings, blue sky, and a black cat leaping from one building to the next. That book—a Mary Stewart-style romantic suspense which I still love!—has yet to be published.

I drew on all that experience, plus my love of Greece, when I was writing Heat Waves. It’s a very sexy contemporary romance with a suspense element. It’s set on a Greek island cruise, including stops on Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete.

Widowed wedding planner Gwen Austin is in charge of her first destination wedding, and sex is the last thing on her mind—until Santos Michaelides helps her rediscover herself as a single, sensual woman. But then Gwen finds out that there’s more to the charismatic cruise director than meets the eye…  

When Kendra Kirk meets up again with Flynn Kavanagh, the sexy IT consultant she’d unsuccessfully prosecuted, sparks of all kinds fly. But her newfound ability to put her life ahead of her career will be pushed to the breaking point when she learns the truth about Flynn…

The two novellas intertwine, and take place during the same time period. In fact, Santos is an undercover investigator—and he’s investigating Flynn! I had so much fun writing the book. It was almost like being back in Greece again, and of course I had to eat Greek food and drink Greek wine to stay in the right mood.

I have an excerpt, behind-the-scenes notes, a discussion guide, and a recipe for my drink creation, the Heat Wave, on my website. I hope you’ll check them out. I’d also be happy to mail readers booklets with excerpts from all three destination wedding books if they contact me via my website.

- Susan Lyons

Want to hop on board this cruise sip? You can pick up your own copy of Heat Waves in stores now!