Mary Kennedy - Secrets of a South Beach Princess

A lot of people ask me if I really go to all the exciting places that I mention in my books. And the answer is yes! I go to South Beach, Florida as often as I can--that's the location of my new Berkley release. Secrets of a South Beach Princess. I have to really develop a feel for the city and make it my own. When I first visited South Beach and saw all those pastel-colored hotels, the color reminded me of salt water taffy, so I jotted that down! And of course, I made a note about the beautiful palms, the salty tang in the air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

There's something wonderful and magical about really being "on the scene." For example, I knew I needed a place for my characters to sit and relax as they talked about their lives. I found a cute little cafe with green umbrella tables on Collins Avenue, so I sat outdoors and ordered a skim milk latte, just as my characters would do. I watched the South Beach crowd strolling by, tanned, beautiful and hip, as the sunshine was casting a golden glow over the whole scene. Life doesn't get any better than this.

Here's a true story. When I was sitting at a cafe in South Beach, looking at the string of fabulous hotels, I thought: "what would it be like to live in the penthouse of one of those places? What if you actually owned the hotel? Or your family did? What if you could schmooze with celebrity guests, while you were learning the hotel business?" Then I spotted a tall, beautiful blonde girl walking into a famous hotel, greeting the doorman by name and handing him all her shopping bags. She looked like she didn't have a care in the world--she was young, gorgeous and living in South Beach. And that's how I created Amber Fielding, the main character in SECRETS OF A SOUTH BEACH PRINCESS.

SECRETS OF A SOUTH BEACH PRINCESS, (Berkley Trade, November 10, 2006)