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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Melissa McClone: An Island Honeymoon by Melissa McClone

My latest novella The Honeymoon Prize was released earlier this month. The story combines two of my favorite tropes—marriage of convenience and friends to lovers. But I must admit the setting, a luxurious island resort in Fiji, was my absolute favorite thing. Why?

Writing the story reminded me of my own tropical-island honeymoon nineteen years ago.

My husband and I were married In New York where he grew up. I was a west coast girl living in San Francisco at the time, but a family illness made an east coast wedding a must. The location played into our choice for a honeymoon. We decided on two weeks in the Caribbean, some place I'd never been. I did a little research, and we came up with two islands to visit—Antigua and Grenada. My then-fiancĂ© was really into sailing and loved to race so this helped narrow down our choices.

In Antigua, we stayed at Galley Bay in one of their Gauguin Cottage. Imagine two thatched huts connected by a breezeway. One was the bedroom, the other the bathroom. Romantic, yes. Ad in a beautiful beach, and we only went into "town" once. Who needed to leave paradise? We had plenty of activities to keep us busy or just take down time to relax. While my husband wanted to keep sailing or swimming, I could take a break on the beach, read and sip from a fruity drink with a paper umbrella sticking out.

I called upon those memories as I wrote The Honeymoon Prize. Though I also relied on the Internet to show me accommodations and offerings from resorts in the South Pacific. After the first thirty-minutes of research, I was ready to pack my suitcase and take a second honeymoon! Unfortunately I could only travel there in my imagination. But I still had fun!

This is how Addie describes seeing Starfish Island for the first time:

The seaplane made a pass around Starfish Island, giving her a bird’s eye view of her vacation home for the next ten days. She stared in wonder at the gorgeous sights below: white beaches, several hidden among rocky coves, lush greenery and rolling hills on the island’s interior and clear, blue water all around. “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.”

Nick leaned over her shoulder, as if wanting a better look himself. They were the only two passengers on the small plane. “Welcome to paradise, Addie. This vacation is going to be good for you.”

And once she arrives:

The pilot cut the engine. “Enjoy your stay on Starfish Island. We locals like to think of this place as a tiny slice of heaven on earth."

Addie would agree. The plane’s small door opened. They stepped outside. A fresh breeze blew across her skin and played with the ends of her hair. Waves lapped against the dock, a sound she knew well but held a different echo here, like the air was lighter. Music played on the beach. Two men strummed guitars surrounded by colorfully dressed singers.

Warmth pooled in her head and heart. Who was she kidding? She felt warm all over.
The hours of travel had transported Addie to another world, to a place where she could escape reality and relax. The problems and troubles of the past no longer mattered. Her entire body felt as if it were smiling. “Wow! We’re not in San Diego any longer.”

I remember feeling the same way Addie felt when we arrived at Galley Bay. Newly married (though ours was for real, not convenience) and so excited to start this new chapter of our lives together. Though I wish spa services would have been more popular back then. I would have loved a couple's hot rock massage like Addie and Nick had together! I'm sure my hubby would have, too. But no complaints about the wonderful honeymoon we shared together! I wish we could do it all over again. Maybe someday.

Have you ever taken a vacation in a tropical paradise? If so, where? If not, where would you want to go if you could? One commenter will be chosen randomly to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

***Melissa's winner is Elizabeth!  Please email totebag@authorsoundrelations.com with your mailing details!***

31 comments:

Laney4 said...

I think I would ask a travel agent to suggest somewhere not known for a bunch of bugs or military problems, with a hotel known for really comfy beds and good Internet connection.

Kelly Thompson said...

Loved this book! I would really like to go to Bora Bora someday!

Janine said...

I used to go to Hawaii with my ex all the time. We visited several different islands over our years of trips. I would give anything to go back again. I loved this book and really enjoyed hearing your honeymoon memories.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I live in central Indiana... and I always recommend the USVI to anyone wanting a beach .... Doesn't take forever to fly there!!! And it's sooo beautiful!

Elisabeth said...

I have been to Hawaii. I assume that Hawaii count's as a tropical paradise :-) Enjoyed your story. It was a great great.

Pink2 said...

I went to Maui with my daughter once, it was really nice.

traveler said...

I have been to several lovely Florida beaches but not a real Tropical Paradise which would be a wonderful experience.

Winnie Lim said...

No I've not been to any tropical paradise. Would love to go to Hawaii or Bora Bora.

Roberta Peden said...

No, I have never been outside of the U.S. so any tropical island would be wonderful.

Judy said...

My husband and I celebrated our tenth anniversary with a week in the US Virgin Islands. I'd love to return again someday!

Shari said...

I went to Antigua about 18 years ago, loved it. We have also been to the Bahamas, Aruba and Hawaii. Yes, I love the beach. I love reading beach stories!

Lnavtemca said...

I have been to Jamaica twice, St Marteen , and Hawaii 4 times and Maui. Of all , Hawaii is my favorite, there is something special I feel when landing on the Big Island, we were there last month and I hope to return soon.
I enjoy beach reads, they always feel like a vacation in a book!

Jessica Purdy said...

I've never been to a tropical paradise but there is three places I'd love to visit which are Hawaii, the Bahamas and Australia(: I've always wanted to visit each of these islands since I was a little girl and I've dreamt of going to each of them. But my overall favorite and the one I'd chose if I had to would be Hawaii! I've always thought of Hawaii as a peaceful and beautiful place!!

miriama said...

I would like to go to Tahiti. My great-grandmother was a Tahitian princess who married a missionary and then moved to Oregon. I would love to see where she lived.

dstoutholcomb said...

We honeymooned in Hawai'i... so beautiful, rainbows everyday, waterfalls, me and my new hubby.

krazymama.98 said...

My husband and I did a vacation of the Florida Keys. It was so beautiful. Everywhere. The people, not so much. They really do not want you there. I mean, they really do not want you there. Only your money. haha
But we just tried to stay away from the locals and enjoy the place. It was awesome. We often talk how surprised we both are that we want to go back again.

Trixi said...

We've never been on a tropical vacation (only in my imagination!), but Hawaii would be top on our list! Ten days would be luxurious & romantic! Thanks for the opportunity to win an Amazon gift card.

Cindy Hamilton said...

I've been to Hawaii and Kauai is the great tropical paradise!

Kimberlyindy said...

I went to Playa Del Carmen about 10 years ago at an all inclusive and it was such a great vacation. I have taken cruises to the Caribbean and would have loved to spent more time some of the places.

Connie said...

We have been on several cruises and my favorite has been to the Caribbean. The last one we took was with our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. We had three connecting rooms and had so much fun. The best part is that everyone can relax because no one is stuck cooking or cleaning. We all played and relaxed! Awesome!

Looking for to reading "The Honeymoon Prize."

Leni said...

I haven't taken any vacations to tropical locations. Budget, safety, and how much information I had about the location would play a huge part in where I would go. My dream vacations have always been in the country or city. So the planning to a tropical local would be an adventure.

erin said...

My dream vacation would be to Sandals or the Bahamas :) One day! Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!!

Lil said...

Yes, we had a family vacation on Bali and it was wonderful.

Mary Preston said...

I've taken a holiday in the Whitsunday Islands. It was beautiful & a lot of fun.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Spent 2 weeks on St John, USVI and would love to return!!! Wonderful memories!

Alina P said...

I haven't but I'd love if I could go somewhere in the Caribbean

Jen said...

I've been to Cozumel, Mexico with my husband on our honeymoon. I would love to spend more time in Florida or on the coast of the Carolinas enjoying the ocean. xo

Laurie G said...

The only tropical place I've been to is Florida. We went to the Keys 28 years ago before cruise ships went down there. It was beautiful. Loved Bahai Honda Beach and John Pellencamp parks on the way down to Key West. We watched beautiful sunsets at the pier ,learned how to windsurf, sailed, swam and relaxed. I'd love to visit Tahiti.

Laurie G said...

The only tropical place I've been to is Florida. We went to the Keys 28 years ago before cruise ships went down there. It was beautiful. Loved Bahai Honda Beach and John Pellencamp parks on the way down to Key West. We watched beautiful sunsets at the pier ,learned how to windsurf, sailed, swam and relaxed. I'd love to visit Tahiti.

Melissa McClone said...

You are the winner of the $10 Amazon Gift Card! Can you email me your mailing address (sending physical card) please. melissamcclone at gmail dot com

Melissa McClone said...

The winner of the gift card is Elisabeth! Thanks so much for entering everyone! I'm ready for a beach vacation after all your comments!