I first knew of the Takedown series when Peyton Riley came out. Bianca Mori got me from the first line of the blurb–not to get Liam Neeson on your asses–but when I found out it was a trilogy, I decided to wait for the last book. Yeah my EQ is that frail. Anyway, wait I did, and it was a good call. I came out of that thrilling ride with my head bursting with questions for the author, and it was very kind of Bianca to take the time to answer them.
Read on as we talk about the dream to go around Europe, the challenge of writing romantic suspense and flawed characters, and the question of straight-laced cop versus sly art dealer. Bianca shares a stellar, cool/sleazy playlist too!
1. Was romantic suspense something that you’ve always wanted to write? What was the most challenging thing about going from contemporary romance to this genre?
It just kind of happened! I love reading suspense and I love romance, so when I got the prompt for the Love’s A Beach bundle to do a story set in a beach, I just had this plot bunny that ‘what if neither the MC or LI are what they seem?’ and then it snowballed from there. I vividly remember sitting down to lunch one day and just outlining the story in two hours. Very rarely do I have clear ideas of how I want my stories to go, from beginning to end, so when it happened with Takedown it was like a road to Damascus moment, LOL.
My biggest struggle was trying to hit all my key notes consistently. I wanted Peyton to remain flawed, I wanted the romance to feel real, and I wanted to withhold enough information from the reader while dropping enough clues so the reveals wouldn’t feel like they came out of nowhere. In that sense writing the trilogy felt like juggling!
2. I haven’t been to Europe, but reading this series makes me feel that I have, and that’s one of my favorite things about books. Have you been to these places before or was this the result of painstaking research? How did you choose the locations?
Europe is one of my dream vacation spots and the locations I chose were places I’ve always wanted to visit, so I’ve been reading a lot about London, Barcelona and Amsterdam for some time. For the Amsterdam scenes, I relied a lot on Currystrumpet – this is a blog run by one of my former officemates, Deepa Paul-Plazo, and I’ve been following her adventures from Manila to Singapore to Holland for a decade now. She’s an amazing writer too and can make her neighborhood come alive vividly.
Special shout-out to Google Maps and Google Street View — they were invaluable especially when I had to write direction scenes – like, if they start from point A how would they get to point B in X amount of time? I also visited a lot of real estate listing sites!
3. Peyton Riley is flawed and complex, exactly what you need in a series like this. How did you begin to get to know her?
In Peyton Riley she has this scene where she tells Carson that while she’s not a hooker, she does enjoy sex on the job – and if she just had a health and dental plan, she could be having a regular 9-to-5 job. That line came to me a long time ago, and it was so vivid I had to write it down. I had to wonder what was it about this girl that she would say something like that? What was her life like? Her work? And when the Takedown story started forming in my head, I finally found a book for her to live in.
I love Peyton, BTW. I just love how amoral and kick-ass she is but, if you read between the lines, she actually has a slight anxiety disorder. I just thought that such a nerve-wracking lifestyle would take its toll on her.
4. Okay so the man that our MC chooses is not always the same man the author chooses for herself. Given that, the question for you is: the Irish policeman or the art dealer? Choose one only.
Lalalala!!! I love this question!! Haha!
Okay, so before I answer that, I just have to say that I knew I was going to do a love triangle for Scorched Earth but it was important to me to make the third wheel a real contender for Peyton’s heart. I wanted Peyton and you, the reader, to have a real conflict about them. And it’s so funny because my beta reader and some of the book reviews actually root for the third wheel, which is like – mission accomplished, hahaha!
For me, personally, I think I’d pick the Irish policeman too. Just because has a more conventional lifestyle and would share roughly the same values and moral as I would. Though I think the art dealer would be an amazing fling.
5. Do you write with music in the background, or do you write in a vacuum? Do you think that influences your work?
Yes, I write with music – here’s the playlist for Scorched Earth.
It does influence my work in the sense that it helps put me in the same book ‘mood.’ For example, I really felt that the Takedown books needed to have this cool/sleazy vibe, and the songs I listened to have that duality going on too.
6. Choose one song that you’d want as the title track of this series’ OST (cool lang kung meron diba? HAHA)
7. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a short story featuring a mom character! And then I will dust off my YA WIP (under my other author name) and concentrate on finishing that!
About the Author
Bianca Mori is the author of “One Night at the Palace Hotel” and “Tame The Kitten.” She is interested in exploring power in romance and enjoys reading about demimondaines, pin-up girls and Jazz Age personalities and hopes to reinterpret these in her stories. She lives with her family and a hyperactive pug.