May is I :::heart::: the short story month at my blog. During these next thirty-one days, I’ll be featuring authors of the short story, besides the usual blog posts. Today, I have author Tim Smith in the interview chair. We’re discussing his short story Cuban Fire, book four in the Key West Heat series, an erotic romance. Be sure to check out the excerpt.
1. What drew you to writing the short story?
Tim: When Extasy Books began doing the Summer Shorts and Holiday Stocking Stuffers series, I thought it was a good opportunity to write something different than mystery/thrillers, and target a wider audience. The lower price and shorter length seemed like a good way to get new readers to give me a chance.
2. What do you like most about writing short stories?
Tim: I like the challenge of creating fully developed characters, settings and situations on a smaller canvas. I typically write novel length romantic adventures, so writing a shorter story that is more lightweight and funny in nature is a nice change.
3. What do you like least about writing short stories?
Tim: Coming up with plots that haven’t been done a million and one times. A few times, I thought I had a really good original idea, but discovered that it had been done already. Also, there have been occasions when I was limited by a word count but felt like I had a lot more I wanted to say.
4. Why did you write this short story you are featuring?
Tim: The Florida Keys is my favorite place to visit. When I was writing this story, we were in quarantine, I couldn’t travel there, and I think I was feeling a little homesick. A lighthearted rom/com set in Key West seemed like a good antidote.
5. Why do you think readers should invest their time in reading the short story?
Tim: I think they’ll find this to be a cute, funny romance with two appealing characters turned loose in an exotic location. There are a few twists to the plot, and the lingering question “Will they or won’t they?” This is a breezy poolside read that will entertain readers.
A down on his luck writer runs away to Key West and meets a Cuban spitfire with lust on her mind. The tropics just became a little hotter.
Blurb: Take one newspaper writer who goes to Key West for an assignment, add a cute Cuban vixen looking for a good time, stir carefully with a Key Lime twist and let the beach party begin. Brad didn’t know what to expect when Chiquita set her sights on him at the bar, but he certainly didn’t think she’d change his cynical outlook on life. The free-spirited pixie with a natural flair for hustling opens his eyes to a different world, but can he adapt to her laidback, carefree lifestyle? Is there a future beyond the sunset?
Brad took another sip, then nearly choked when he felt a splash of water from behind. He turned around in time to see a young woman climb onto the stool next to his. Brad automatically glanced over her frame, clad in a string bikini with a floral print. She looked to be about five-two and slender, with skin the color of café au lait and sun-bleached blonde hair with light brown streaks, cut into a shag style that covered her ears. Her figure was so petite that handle-with-care was the first thing that came to mind, while a posture that said don’t-mess-with-me was the second.
She looked at him and offered a shy smile. “Sorry,” she said in a thick Spanish accent. “Didn’t mean to get you wet.”
Brad recovered from his initial shock and smiled. “No problem. It actually felt good. Would you care for a drink?”
She released a deep breath. “Yeah, that’d be nice. Whatever you’re havin’.”
Brad signaled for the bartender and ordered her drink plus a refill for himself. When they arrived, she took a long sip.
“Gracias,” she said. “You not from ‘round here, are you?”
“How can you tell?”
She gestured at his torso. “Not enough tan.”
He laughed. “Looks like you got me. I’m from up north.”
Her eyebrows arched. “Atlanta?”
“Further north than that. I’m from Ohio.”
Her face scrunched in confusion. “Not sure where that is.”
Brad eyed her for a moment. “I’m guessing you’re not from around here either.”
She shook her head. “Havana. Came here few years ago. What’s your name?”
“Brad. What’s yours?”
“Chiquita, like the banana.”
He looked her over again. I’d like to see what she could do with a banana. “Pretty name. Are you staying here?”
She shook her head again. “I live in Olde Towne. This is my day off.”
“I thought the pool was just for hotel guests.”
She leaned in close and lowered her voice. “Supposed to be, but the bartender’s a friend. He looks the other way when I sneak in. You not gonna bust me, are you?”
Brad laughed. “What fun would that be?”
She laughed with him. “I can think of things that would be whole lot more fun.”
Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author of romantic mystery/thrillers and contemporary erotic romance. He is also a freelance writer, photographer, and blogger. When he isn’t writing he can often be found in the Florida Keys, doing research between parasailing and seeking out the perfect Mojito.