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Avery Laval writes delicious romance novels for Blue Crow Books. Her latest novella, the fourth in the Sin City Tycoons series, is out today read on to learn more from Avery about her latest tycoon, Thom, and the lady who wins his heart, Cassie.

This is a very New York book. But your bio says you’re based in the Midwest. What brought on the urban setting?

Oh, I get around. New York is my favorite city in the world and I’ve spent unjustifiable amounts of time there—as you’ll see in the next book in this series after BARGAIN (which ties in so closely the timelines actually overlap) I can’t get enough of the city that never sleeps. But there will be stories set in all kinds of great places as the series continues—Cairo, Vegas (of course! the Sin City!), and the Big Apple are just the beginning. If you look at the best parts of being a romance novelist, travel research has to be right up there at the very top. When I’m getting ready to write a book I actually look through my diaries and journals, and start with setting, not plot or characters. The characters I get to know when I drop very attractive men and very awesome women into a time and place. And New York tycoons are among my favorite kinds.

All that “unjustifiable” time in New York you mention… did you have a New York tycoon of your own?

Guilty. At one point I had a passionate affair with a man who, like Thom, was all business, all the time. His art collection took my breath away, and so did his infectious laugh. But we knew going in it wasn’t going to be forever, and it certainly wasn’t. That’s New York, a place where budding novelists meet hedge fund managers and adventures are had and then everyone goes back to real life. (Or not, if you’re in my books.)

And where did you get the idea of a landscape architect trying to start a business in the concrete jungle?

That would be my hapless heroine, Cassie, in A TYCOON’S BARGAIN you’re referring to. I met a real life terrace landscape artist at a party on the thousandth floor of some Upper East Side status building in New York a few years back. She told me about her job designing gardens for rooftops and balconies, and I was hooked at the weird juxtaposition of it all. Imagine devoting your life to green things in a paved city. Someone who would choose that as a living might also guilelessly sign up for a bachelorette auction for charity and then be appalled if someone actually bid high on her. It helped me create a woman who doesn’t always understand her own judgment, and who is always (at least until Thom) a few steps behind her own common sense. And I loved putting her through her paces in this story so she could finally start to get in front of her own decisions and trust her gut when the chips were down.

In some ways, that experience will help her be a very needed friend to my next heroine, Nessa Carlson, who is keeping me typing away right now. Nessa and Cassie’s stories are really closely tied together, so look for a sneak peak chapter at the very end of BARGAIN and you’ll have some hints of what’s next for my beloved crew of Tycoons…

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