Behind the Scenes

Many readers are intrigued by the writer’s creative process and ask us where we get our ideas. No, there’s no “idea tree” where we can just pluck them willy-nilly! Often it’s a process of hearing or reading something that sparks an idea, which leads to another idea, and in some (usually messy!) fashion it all starts coming together in a blaze of “this could be a book!” excitement.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at how each of my books came into being.

The Awesome Foursome Series

  1. Champagne Rules
  2. Hot in Here
  3. Touch Me
  4. She's On Top

The Blue Moon Harbor series

  1. Fly Away With Me
  2. “Blue Moon Harbour Christmas” in Winter Wishes
  3. Come Home With Me
  4. Sail Away With Me

Body Heat

The Caribou Crossing Series

  1. Caribou Crossing
  2. Home on the Range
  3. Gentle on my Mind
  4. Stand by Your Man
  5. Love Me Tender
  6. Love Somebody Like You
  7. Ring of Fire
  8. Holiday in Your Heart

Destination Wedding Series

  1. Sex on the Beach
  2. Sex on the Slopes
  3. Heat Waves

Finding Isadora

Fly Close to the Sun

The Dirty Girls Book Club Series

  1. The Dirty Girls Book Club
  2. Dare to be Dirty
  3. Bound to be Dirty

The Wild Ride to Love Series

  1. Sex Drive
  2. Love, Unexpectedly
  3. His, Unexpectedly
  4. Yours, Unexpectedly

Novellas in Anthologies

Destination Wedding Series

I started with the idea for a single book. It was a cold winter day and I was nourishing my sunshine-deprived soul with memories of tropical holidays like the one I took to Belize. Then I read an article about the popularity of destination weddings, and remembered how many people I’d seen getting married on tropical beaches – like in Belize. I imagined the sexy fun that might ensue when a group of wedding guests assembled in Belize for the week before an exotic wedding. Surely it wouldn’t be just the bride and the groom who’d be in the mood for a little sexy romance!

I thought it would be fun to have three different romances, all secret ones, all taking place at the same time. There’d be lots of sneaking around to add to the fun!

I set each of the stories during the same week, so the reader could see each couple from the other couples’ eyes. I think it makes for an intriguing reading experience, but it certainly was challenging to write – keeping track of the details of exactly what was going on when, with which characters. Yes, I made a chart!

Of course that first book (Sex on the Beach) was set in Belize. I had such a great time with it, I pitched the idea for a winter resort destination wedding – set in Whistler, BC. That book is Sex on the Slopes and it follow the same format, with three couples having secret romances. The third book, Heat Waves, is set on a Greek island cruise (because I love Greece). It ended up only having two couples, with a suspense plot that ties them together.


The Dirty Girls Book Club

I belong to a book club and I love it. We take turns choosing books and there are NO RULES!! The books can be literary fiction, commercial fiction, non-fiction. But a lot of book clubs sound a little stuffy and pretentious. If a book isn’t literary fiction – preferably a prize winner or an Opra Book Club selection, it’s beneath consideration.

Nothing against literary fiction, but it’s not always a lot of fun. And we deserve to have fun sometimes, right? That’s the idea that got me thinking about the Dirty Girls Book Club. Imagine a group of women sitting around, discussing the latest weighty, yawn-worthy tome, and one asks, “Is there a rule that says a book club can’t ever read anything fun?” Another chimes in with, “Or sexy? What’s wrong with sexy?” Well, of course the club votes to read a sexy book every now and then.

Now comes the second part of my premise. Each time the club chooses a sexy book, one of the members has a personal sexual – and romantic! – journey that in some ways parallels that in the book.


Susan Lyons writing at a table in front of the pink window


Blue Moon Harbor

While I was still writing the Caribou Crossing Romances, we were spending a good part of the summer cruising around the British Columbia Gulf Islands in our old wooden motor boat. Growing up in Victoria, the ocean’s always been part of my life—and once upon a time I even had a job that regularly took me to the Gulf Islands. There’s something intriguing about small islands, don’t you think?

Anyhow, I had a craving to write about this part of the world: the rugged, gorgeous scenery; the eccentric characters; and of course the romances that can develop in such an unusual setting. So I created a fictional island called Destiny, developed a proposal and sent it off to my editor, and the Blue Moon Harbor series was born.

Caribou Crossing Romances

When I was a kid, my parents sent me to lessons — piano, figure skating, art, dance, and horseback riding — no doubt hoping I’d demonstrate talent in at least one of those areas. Well, nope, that didn’t prove true, though I enjoyed all of those things. What I did develop was an enduring love of horses. My dad shared it, and often when we traveled we’d go riding together — sometimes in BC’s scenic, historic Cariboo region.

When I was grown up, a city-dweller, I felt a craving for countryside and horses, and went back to the Cariboo. I treated myself to a “riding package” week at a wonderful resort ranch and spa called The Hills Guest Ranch. I loved it, and thought it would make a perfect setting for a romance. Years later, that idea was still in my mind, and led to the creation of Caribou Crossing, a fictional Western town made for love, adventure, and second chances.


Wild Ride to Love

Writers have all sorts of ideas tossing around in our heads, and scribbled in our notebooks. One that had been hanging around in my brain for a few years was that it would be fun to write a “planes, trains, and automobiles” series of romances. I think different modes of transportation are sexy in their own way. Also, travel is a journey, a transition time, and so is the development of a romance, so together I could see them making for intriguing stories.

So, that was idea 1. Idea 2 was that I loved writing series books where female relationships are part of the story (in addition, of course, to the romance and the heroine’s personal growth). With the Awesome Foursome series, I had a wonderful time writing about four best friends.

Now, to idea 3: sisters. As an only child, I’ve always looked at the world of sisters with an outsider’s fascinated eye. One of my best friends as a kid would come to school with scratches on her arms from fighting with her sister – and yet, her sister was her best friend. How could that be?

Anyhow, all those ideas wove together into the concept of the Wild Ride to Love series. Four sisters, four modes of transportation (yes, a cruise ship got thrown in there!), four very sexy romances.

Planes is the oldest sister Theresa’s book, Sex Drive. Trains is second sister Kat’s book, Love, Unexpectedly. Automobiles is sister Jenna’s, His Unexpectedly, and the cruise ship is baby sister Merilee’s, Yours, Unexpectedly (coming in Dec 2011).


The Awesome Foursome

Don't you just love groups of 4 women? There’s magic in that number “4”.  Look at Sex And The City and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

In my own life, I have four 4-gal groups. One’s a group of friends who used to be workmates, and we’ve been getting together at least a couple of times a year for – oh, about 20 years. How awesome is that! Then there’s my book club, where we discuss pretty much everything under the sun, even occasionally the assigned book. And then there’s my writing brainstorming group, 4 authors who get together every couple of months to share crazy ideas. And, last but definitely not least, my fabulous critique group who help me make my books the best they can be.

What do all the 4-gal groups have in common? Laughter, fun and often raunchy discussions, and most important, mutual support. How can you beat that? (Oh yeah, did I mention that copious quantities of wine are also involved?)

So, I knew I had to write about a 4-gal group. And I knew I wanted these special females to live in my fabulous city, Vancouver. And to be in their twenties, because that’s the fantastic time when a girl starts to figure out who she’s going to be as a woman, in terms of work, family, friendships – and especially romance.

At that age, a girl’s even naïve enough to believe she can actually control life with lists and rules – and flexible enough to figure out that half the fun of rules is in breaking them.

Okay, so I had four girls, the idea of “rules to have sex by”, and the knowledge that each girl was going to set off on a romantic adventure, egged on by her gal-pals. So then came, Champagne Rules.