Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Travels Around the World

The Write Way to Travel

How globe-trotting influenced my Harlequin Medical Romances

 

Ten years ago, before my Harlequin days, I planned to write a young adult novel set in Nashville, Tennessee. Being a British citizen whod never even been to Music City, it seemed the logical thing to do, to book an Airbnb, start chatting with cowboys on dating sites, get on a plane, and move there for three months. 

 

Somehow, amongst the boot-scooting, whisky-shooting and country music, I wrote the book. Not only were my descriptions of Nashville that much much more realistic and colourful, I wound up moving in with a guitar-playing Icelandic/American man whom I almost married.

 

I said almost. I quickly realised that sometimes you need to know when to end a chapter – so to speak – and move on. Were still great friends, the books still on Amazon, but more importantly, I had a real romantic adventure in the name of research. And it spurred me on to base more novels in the far-and-wide and wonderful places Ive already been. Well, they do say, write what you know.

 

Canal-side inspiration in Amsterdam

Writing on my Amsterdam balcony copy
Writing on my Amsterdam balcony

These days Im pretty settled with my man in The Netherlands, even though sadly he doesnt wear a Stetson to the supermarket like my ex. (You cant have everything you want in one man, unless youre a Harlequin heroine, I suppose). I moved to Amsterdam in 2016, which was also the year I became a Harlequin author. I always meant to base a Harlequin Medical Romance here, but I guess it took being stuck in a pandemic to make me do it… er, thanks, COVID? 

 

June 2021s new release, FLING WITH THE CHILDRENS HEART DOCTOR is a reflection of the city I now call home, plus a rich surgeon with a luxury houseboat and windmill. Get ready for passionate Dutch lovinoutside – and maybe a little inside – of the childrens hospital!

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Getting ditched by a dive guy in Bali

It was a summer romance that went awry, the time I got involved with my scuba diving instructor on Gili Trawangan, just off the coast of Bali. In reality, it wasnt exactly a torrid above-water affair, but it was enough to get the imagination going – how could I set a romance novel on a small island renowned for big gossip, preferably one with a happier ending?

 

Look for the scuba diving hero who also happens to be a celebrity plastic surgeon, plus palm trees, coral reefs and HOT disasters based on island reality in my Harlequin Medical Romance, ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE

 

Canoes, caimans and kisses in South America

Mating tarantulas, harrowing thunderstorms and sandflies dont sound like the sexiest base for a romance novel, but back when I spent nine months travelling South America, I fell in love with the Amazon rainforest itself. I spent hours romanticising situations and mentally embellishing relations with a hot jungle guide. When it came to writing my very first Harlequin Romance – TEMPTED BY HER HOT-SHOT DOC, there were plenty of elements of truth scattered amongst the medical madness. Expect snakes (of all kinds?), hot and heavy adventures in tents, and a reality TV star wary of fame in the face of a journalist/ex-nurse who wont stop questioning him about his mysterious past.

 

Hopefully there will be more adventures to come, both in person and in the pages of my Harlequin Medical Romance stories! I really hope youll come with me. Meanwhile, dont forget to visit me in Amsterdam via Junes new release – FLING WITH THE CHILDRENS HEART DOCTOR! 

 

Thanks for travelling with me,

Becky Wicks x

Excerpts, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Origin Stories

How the truth in foreign places inspires fiction in a lockdown

Lockdown might be over in some places, but hasn’t it been a long stretch stuck in our living rooms, unable to go anywhere further than the supermarket?

Thankfully we have books and stories (and puppy dogs – that’s my little Cockapoo fur-baby Ziggy in the photo below. She’s a prized new addition to our household!)

Becky

As well as picking up poop and yelling “please don’t eat that” across the kitchen, I’ve been scribbling away at a new story set in the veterinary world. I’ve been so lost in it that I almost forgot I have another book coming out next month! I’m posting a sneaky excerpt from ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE below, to tease you into Mila and Dr Sebastian Becker’s world.

She’s an ex Army doc, working out on a remote Indonesian island, assisting Sebastian in his pioneering scar tissue surgery at his exclusive clinic. The thing is, he’s met her before, hasn’t he? Mila is quite sure he hasn’t. Could he really be remembering her dead twin sister?!

I set this book on an Indonesian island because it’s very close to my heart. I was lucky enough to live and work out in Bali for a couple of years in my mid-30s, writing a travel book called Balilicious, so I got to know and love the land, and the people.

In fact, random places and adventurous strangers from my time as a travel writer/author have inspired a lot of my fiction. My first Mills & Boon medical TEMPTED BY HER HOT-SHOT DOC was set in the Amazon, where the Spanish-speaking locals were some of the most gentle, kind souls I’ve ever met… though I had to leave out the week I spent with a shaman drinking hallucinogenic tree sap (aka ayahuasca).

My second, FROM DOCTOR TO DADDY was inspired by the time I was lucky enough to board a cruise ship for 10 days in Australia. While the book is set in the Caribbean, I was able to draw on my experiences on the ship. The staff were very accommodating, especially the amorous chef who chased me round the ship asking for a kiss one night after too many drinks in the bar, (I managed to escape).

The world is a big, big place full of beauty and stories waiting to be told, even if we chop, twist and edit them sometimes. I experienced so many acts of kindness from strangers on my travels, in all corners of the world. There was also the time I got mugged in a back alley in Bogota and had to bribe getting my phone back by buying a bottle of vodka for the perpetrator, but that’s another story… most people are shining stars of humanity.

Maybe I’ll share a few more tales of how travelling, and people of different origins and cultures have inspired me over the years. (If you’d like?) But for now, please do enjoy this little excerpt set in Indonesia….

 

EXCERPT FROM ENTICED BY HER ISLAND BILLIONAIRE

A rush of air-conditioning blasted Mila’s face as the door swung open to admit Dr Becker. ‘Agung, how’s she doing?’

He was pulling on a coat, arm by long, bulked-up arm, striding towards the bed in black sport’s sandals. He was every bit as striking in a white coat as he was in a wetsuit.

He made to pass her, stopped, placed a hand on her shoulder. ’Thank you for what you just did.’

‘You’re welcome.’ The words came out smoothly, calm like she’d intended, but she didn’t feel calm. The way he was looking at her now had suspicion all over it. He only looked away from her when the anaesthetist entered the room.

‘Put this on,’ he told her now, throwing her a white coat from a hook on the wall. ‘Nurse Viv is with another patient, so I hope you don’t mind staying a bit longer here. I just need you to cut the suit,’ he said, motioning to a pair of scissors on the tray.

Mila snipped carefully at the girl’s wetsuit, and discarded the flimsy material. She was following commands, where she’d usually be giving them but that was OK. She wasn’t a hundred miles from base in Ghazni. No one had been blasted by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade, there were no wounded soldiers crying out for attention. There was only this one girl, right here, right now.

She put a gentle hand to Gabby’s leg still and soothed her as the meds kicked in.

Agung’s radio made a sound. ‘Excuse me Doctor Becker, Doctor Mila.’ he said. He left the room and instantly the air grew thicker. Sebastian was appraising her again.

’Mila?’ he said in a surprised voice, as soon as it was only the two of them. He stepped towards her.

‘She looks much better,’ she told him, looking up to see his eyes narrow. ‘I think we got to this bite just in time. She just needs to sleep it off now.’

He folded his arms, towering over her. He must have been at least six foot two inches to her five foot three. ’Why Mila? I thought your name was Annabel?’

All the breath left her body.

’I couldn’t remember at first, back there, it was at least six or seven  years ago, right? Before this Clinic, or the MAC existed,’ he said. ‘You were late to our snorkelling party, you’d had too much to drink remember?’ He grinned, laughing at a memory that wasn’t hers.

Tears stung her eyes. She still could have wrestled him to the ground when he reached for her wrists, but his long, tanned fingers ran gently over her scars and she felt bolted to the floor.

He was turning her arms in the harsh overhead light, studying the faint, silvery lines like they were clues to a mystery game. ‘You didn’t have these before,’ he said, frowning. ‘What happened to you?’

She bit her cheeks as the tears threatened to spill over. He’d met Annabel. This must be the same guy her sister had come back talking about, all those years ago. Sebastian. It all made sense now. Doctor Sebastian Becker was Bas. All of this, and she had to work with him?

She had to set him straight, it was unbearable.

‘I’m not… who you think I am,’ she managed. The room felt suddenly way-too-small. She took a step back, pulling her arms away. ’Doctor Becker, I’m Doctor Mila Ricci. I’ve come to work at the MAC for a while and learn your techniques. I would have met you earlier but I missed my transfer, I apologise for the confusion.’

She watched him rake a hand through his hair as she struggled for composure. He paced the room, then stopped. ‘Am I going crazy here? I met you before, didn’t I? Did you change your name?’

‘I’m not Annabel,’ she said through a tight throat. ‘Annabel was my twin sister. She’s dead, Sebastian. She died three years ago. It was her you met, not me.’