[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to have author JN Welsh guest post on the site today to chat about all things enemies to lovers! Take it away, JN!]
Picture this. I’m flying through dialogue with my main characters in heated discussions about boundaries, and I’m letting them be their grown a$$ selves on the page. Tensions are high and I harness the power of my inner Lizzo because I’m literally writing a badass bitch. Dance music is in the background, both in the book and in my current writing space, because moods have got be set for the conflict that’s about to pop off.
The characters are on the verge of colliding. We’ve been at a steady simmer but the boil is ready to overflow. I’m pounding the keys full steam ahead and then. I stop. I click to open a search box and…
In Rhythm is Book II in my now named Back on Top Series and is set in the electronic dance music scene—a new take on the rock star romance. The setting gives my characters a delightful, intricate, and internationally dynamic playground. All of which contribute to the their story, character growth and internal and external plots. The story’s themes include second chances on many levels, as well as friendship, addiction, recovery, and overcoming fear. Lovers of In Tune – Book I, fear not. There are cameos abound in this follow up novel.
DJ Asha Kendall aka “Velvet” aka the badass bitch mentioned above is going after her goals with blinders on. So much so that she never sees Dutch DJ Isaak “Zazzle” VanSandt coming. Their career paths are converging, hers on the way up and his on the way down. When their paths cross, things get interesting.
Now I’m an author who is pretty good with my research. Being well travelled myself and having lived in various places overseas, my global perspective and insider experience with different cultures is unique to me. This allows me to infuse authentic experiences into my globetrotting characters when they visit exciting places like Brazil, Ibiza, London and Singapore. I explore settings down to the vegetation, learn about my characters and their communities, investigate the meaning of their names and even when I’ve done all that, I sometimes go the extra mile and say… “Hey, why don’t you go to DJ school?” or “[Enter multiple DJs name’s here] is playing at this festival. Let’s grab some friends and go?” As you can see, I really “get into” the lives of those I’m writing about.
That all sounds great, right? However nothing is more powerful than an internet search. Plugging in a few key words in that little magical rectangle, with its tiny magnifying glass, ready to search the crap out the World Wide Web is sometimes where it all starts. Even more entertaining are the results.
Before I go any further I have a confession. I’m a fan of the sexy stuff, and curse words are little colorful gems that shimmer in my dialogue. It’s really no secret—just open one of my books and be ready to heat up faster than a hot plate. If I had a swear jar for all my books I’d have a pocket full of ones like I’d worked the pole at a strip club. All this to say that if you’re at all sensitive to either of the above, or mentions of drugs in any form, then here’s your warning!
…I type in the search box. “How do you say “fu&k” in Dutch?” I need this for several figurative and literal reasons. I’ll let your imagination create intense scenes and colorful conversations. But imagine my surprise to find out that there is no such word in Dutch. They have other curse words but not “fu&k!” Well, actually it’s on loan from English. They use our version or morph the word to “fo&k” instead of a “fu&k.” Go figure!
The F word wouldn’t be my only Dutch exploration during the course of my writing of In Rhythm. Zazzle is Dutch and the characters also spend a little time in Amsterdam. Naturally, I became curious about all aspects of the culture, more specifically language acquisition. I search…”Best ways to learn Dutch?”
Here, I expected tons of language apps and programs but when “take a Dutch lover” became a recurring theme in my search results, my fingers couldn’t move fast enough to dig deeper. From the young to those of advanced years, this was legit advice! Book fodder fluttered through my head. This was both unexpected and great because I was trying to help my heroine out. I love these searches.
The Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene is many times linked with drugs. I know… I just went dark but I knew from the start that, in at least one of the books in the series, drug use would in some way touch my characters. For example, Zazzle’s drug dependency and recovery in In Rhythm are front and center. It was important for me to represent this right. I wanted to exemplify a different approach. He’s not American so I didn’t want to default to a Betty Ford type clinic or go with a traditional religious based program. Along with help from books on the topic like Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz, getting Zazzle his own real life clinician, and talking with therapists, I Googled…”What does drug recovery look like in New Zealand?” From there I cultivated a plan for my hero. On another note, “Nicknames for drugs?” and “What are the kids calling cocaine these days?” can also be found in my search history.
Given the dance music themes in the book I lived in Disco and searched EDM festivals worldwide, some of which I’d attended in my personal dance music love life. I wanted the novel to have the feel of the crowds and the artists as they experienced each other, as well as having the reader feel the various aspects of being a professional DJ and its impact on the love story. Searching “dance music origins” gave my heroine so much power that she passed it onto me and I hope she passes it onto the readers.
Pssst…wanna know how these search results and research comes together in my novel to deliver an exhilarating and heartfelt HEA? Then read In Rhythm and enjoy the ride.
As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
About the Author:
JN Welsh writes entertaining, humorous, and provocative tales about strong, career-driven, multicultural heroines of color who are looking for love. She’s passionate about practicing mindfulness for body and spirit through a holistic approach to self-care, routines and rituals. When she’s not writing she can be found dancing, wine-ing, rooting for her favorite baseball team, and/or indulging in countless guilty pleasures.
Find Her Here:
In Rhythm by JN Welsh, out Dec. 9th!
Asha “Velvet” Kendall is this close to achieving her dream of headlining the legendary Temptation Festival as half of the DJ duo Bedazzled Beats. The EDM scene could use a powerful female presence, and Velvet and her bestie Candy are ready for their moment in the spotlight. A chance encounter with sexy-as-sin industry icon Isaak “Zazzle” Van Sandt is the cherry on top.
With a shared passion for music and an intense mutual attraction, the pair should be totally in sync. Instead, Zazzle’s reputation for hard partying has Velvet hitting Pause.
Zazzle knows both the high of superstardom and the darker side of the life. But six months after rock bottom, he’s got his feet firmly planted on a new, less destructive path. Next stop: wooing the curvaceous and tenacious “one that got away.”
But Velvet’s been there, done that, and she’s wary of risking her heart—not to mention her career—on someone in recovery. Earning her trust won’t be easy. If Zazzle can manage it, off-the-charts chemistry might just turn into once-in-a-lifetime love…