In the Heat of the Tropics: Christina Elliott

Please welcome Christina Elliott author of In The Heat of the Tropics.

Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

In the Heat of the Tropics

by Christina Elliott


GENRE: Romantic suspense



What or who inspired you to start writing?

When I was about five-six years old, I won a little prize for “writing interesting stories.” I have no idea what I wrote at that early age, but obviously it impressed the teacher! Where this came from, I have no idea. Neither of my parents are writers. But I’ve always been a voracious reader and that made me want to write books since I was little. In high school, I wrote my first formal short story and that made it into the school literary magazine.


How did you come up with ideas for your books? What expertise did you bring to your writing?

I was a newspaper reporter for many years so that’s definitely influenced my fiction writing. That’s why Ingrid in In the Heat of the Tropics is a reporter! Among many other topics, I covered crime, cops, courts so I know that arena, although I still have to do research to get grounded in the details, but my background certainly gave me a good headstart. Other than that, I’m always interested in the quirks of human nature, which sometimes prove to be the seed of a character or a plot. I have a notebook where I jot down things that spark my attention. Some things I use, some I don’t.


What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

I’m what is known as a “third culture kid,” who are children who grow up outside their birth country usually because of their parent’s career. I grew up moving around the world because of my dad’s job. So I’m kind of rootless. I actually dread that question “where are you from?” because I’m not really from anywhere. I always envy people who have a real hometown, who grew up in one place. The upside is that I’m super adaptable, flexible and am fearless about travel. I just pick up and go.

As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I’d love to write/sell a screenplay one day. I’ve written two, but I’ll keep those as practice ones! I definitely prefer writing novels, still it would be something to see my work as three-dimensional, coming alive in a new medium.


When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

About 10 years ago, I discovered there was a whole world of online literary journals so I dusted off some old short stories, rewrote and revised and started submitting. No one really pointed me in that direction. I sort of woke up and felt ready to get writing in a more serious way. That eventually led to writing a full length novel, which is still in the proverbial “desk drawer.” I think every writer has one of those.


What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

Best: Be persistent. You can’t give up in the face of initial rejection. You just have to keep going. Worst: Write what you know. That’s super limiting. I say write what you’re passionate about. If you don’t know it, research it in every way you can. To me, research is a fun part of writing.


Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I try and outline as much as I can because I know from experience that if I just start writing, I can veer into a corner and get stuck there. So it’s really helpful to know where I’m going. That said, I still find myself veering off track! But it’s good to go back to that original outline to see if the new direction is still going to get me where I want to go.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?

I’m currently working on another romantic suspense, tentatively titled “Angel’s Lust.” This one is set in Los Angeles, where I now live. Most people know LA as the home of Hollywood, but what many may not know is that it’s also the home of the adult entertainment industry. So I chose this as the backdrop-setting for the mystery plot. The romance is between two hard-nosed homicide detectives as they work to solve the suspicious death of a young executive, which leads them into the adult entertainment industry and then into dark world of sex trafficking and an unsolved murder case. I hope to finish this soon. But holidays are coming up and you know the score on that, everything gets a little derailed!


Who is your favorite actor and actress?

The British actor, Tom Hardy, is super hot! He’s got the looks but he’s also got kind of a hard, edgy wildness about him. I’d love to see him in a romantic lead and see what he does with that type of role. For women, I love Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman and, of course, Meryl Streep has to be on the list. They’re all great, fearless actresses who play a wide range of roles. They’re not afraid to take risks.


Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

One of the fun things about writing romantic suspense is writing the villain, but I have to admit, it can get pretty dark! The bad guy in In the Heat of the Tropics is a serial killer who goes after men who patronize prostitutes. I had to invent a backstory for him and why he became a killer, which had to do with his childhood (doesn’t everything?), but it was sort of grim to write. I alleviated that by making him a corny joker, which was also a way of humanizing him a little, as well as giving myself a break!





Amid a sweltering Miami summer, a serial killer is haunting the city. Reporter Ingrid Sorenson is assigned the story and her primary source is brusque detective Rick Gonzalez. The pair clash, but sparks of passion ignite. They risk their jobs to give in to their desire, but mistrust of each other’s career motives wedges them apart. Then Ingrid gets a tip that leads her into the killer’s lair. She and Rick must choose between saving themselves or rescuing their love.






As Ingrid opened the door, Rick thrust a bouquet of white roses at her. “To make up for being out of touch,” he said.


She was touched by his thoughtfulness. “You didn’t have to do that, but thanks. They’re lovely. I’ll put them in a vase.” They entered and she disappeared into the kitchen.


“It was either flowers or chocolate,” he called as she disappeared into the kitchen. She filled a glass vase with water and set the roses in them.


“Good choice. I love chocolate, but I try to stay away from it,” she said, exiting the kitchen to place the vase in the center of the dining table.


“I figured. Chocolate can be a double-edged sword, but you can’t really go wrong with roses.”


“White’s an elegant color, too.”


“You’re an elegant lady.”


“You know all the lines.”


“I wish it was as simple as knowing lines.”


“It’s not, is it?” She gave him a bemused smile.


“You got that right. So how am I doing so far?”


“Mmmm.” Folding her arms, she tilted her head and squinted her eyes in a mock-study of him. “B-plus.”


“What? I thought I deserved at least an A-minus.”


“There’s always room for improvement.”


“Whoa, she’s tough, ladies and gentlemen.”


She laughed. “So, you ate pizza already.”


“I was starving and believe me, you don’t want to be around me when I’m hungry, but we can get you something to eat.”


“So you can do surveillance on me as I chow down?”


“You’re a feast for my eyes.”


Ingrid groaned. “Let’s get going before your lines make me lose my appetite.” She grabbed her purse.


“Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He held open the front door for her. “I know a great empanada place in Coconut Grove. We could get a couple of them and go eat by the marina at a picnic table,” Rick said as he drove. “We can even sit side-by-side so I don’t have you under surveillance.”


“I love empanadas,” Ingrid said. “Definitely one of the best things I’ve discovered in Miami.”


“So am I up to an A-minus now?”


She laughed, suddenly feeling carefree and totally in the moment. “Yes, I’ll give you an A-minus for that.”





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Christina Elliott is a former Miami newspaper reporter and editor. She now writes spicy romantic suspense novels from Los Angeles, where she’s glad to report there are far fewer bad-hair days but sadly far less Cuban coffee. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America.






Christina Elliott will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.