Written in Red: My Favorite City – Outside of Texas

Not all those who wander are lost. – J. R. R. Tolkien

Yep, it’s true, I have the wander bug. And I’ve been very fortunate in having the opportunity to get out of Texas. Thus far, my favorite city is Rome, with Paris, London, and Oslo not far behind. Naturally, I included Rome in my debut romantic suspense with Crimson Romance, In Hot Pursuit.

Rome is the perfect city for a newly rich thief to ramble around in and feel perfectly safe from any harm that might be brewing in Texas. It is also the perfect city for the two main characters, Quinn and Logan, to fall in love while they chase the thief.

My task was to intertwine the search for the thief with the beauty and tourist sights of Rome. I created their hotel, Albergo Santa Chiara, and its arched red door is a mixture of hotels I’ve visited. Beautiful doors in Italy are a big deal…I took many pictures on my last visit. Also, a hotel with only one bed added to the fun for Logan and the stress for Quinn. I used the Pantheon as “home port” for Quinn. It was a landmark close to their hotel and provided a sense of comfort for her.

The Spanish Steps is popular with Americans and the location of Quinn’s first visual sighting of the thief at the Piazza di Spagna. The piazza is the street below the steps and once Quinn and Logan arrive there, the thief has disappeared. Quinn voices her frustration to Logan at not yet locating the thief and vows to herself that “she’d find that bitch and in Rome.”

 The Trevi Fountain is their next stop on their Roman journey hunting for the thief. Quinn and Logan both throw a US quarter into the water, over their left shoulder, ensuring a return visit to Rome per the urban legend. Quinn’s thoughts on this simple, comforting act: “They had crossed an unspoken boundary. The warmth of his gaze filled her with hope. Hope that what lay ahead wouldn’t bite her in the butt. But at that moment, the planets in her world were in perfect alignment.”

St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica have a special place in the plot as this is where Quinn learns the name of the Rome hotel where the thief is hiding out. It’s their destination the morning after they first make love and where they cross the line of dancing around each other to acknowledging they are happy being in Rome, together. Logan kisses Quinn in the center of the Square and says: “That’s something I’ve wanted to do for twenty years. Thank you for being here with me.”

My final monument to share is the Coliseum, the background for the cover of In Hot Pursuit. I love this elliptical amphitheatre in the center of  Rome. Quinn loved it as well. It was completed in 80 A.D. and is a fabulous testament to the power and intelligence of mankind. It’s a popular tourist attraction and it the beginning of the Pope’s “Way of the Cross” procession each Good Friday. The interior is spooky if you imagine gladiators and battles and dripping blood.

I have many more novel plots based on places I’ve visited. I just need the time to get them all written. In the meantime, I’ll keep wandering and enjoying the beauty that surrounds all of us.

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Meet the Author: Karen Sue Burns

Greetings y’all, I’m Karen Sue Burns, hailing from the big city of Houston, Texas which just so happens to be the initial setting of my debut romantic suspense novel, IN HOT PURSUIT. The location then moves to Las Vegas followed by Rome, Italy which tells you one thing — I love to travel! Visit my website at http://www.karensueburns.com to view photos of some of my favorite places.

I will admit that Rome is my favorite city. It even beats out Rio de Janeiro and the inspirational Sugarloaf. Country wise, Ireland is probably at the top of the list due to the Irish people. Of any country I’ve visited, they seem the most similar to Americans. The main difference is their accent, which is very sexy on the male side of the population.

Anyway, I love to write and romance particularly because of the happy endings full of hope and new beginnings. The writing affliction started as a child, went into remission while I raised a family, then came back in full force when my youngest child left for college. At the time, I knew absolutely nothing about writing craft but I was motivated to fulfill a hankering I’d buried for twenty-five years. I set about learning as much as I could.

I chose to be easy on myself with my first story and decided on a plot line I know something about  — working for a university, accounting, and travel. I imagined the absolutely worst thing that could happen to my employer and the basic plot for IN HOT PURSUIT was born.

My heroines are regular people, no special skills at fighting crime or taking down bad guys. Yet, they manage to do just that using their smarts and being logical, creative, and focused. In one word, they have moxie. I love writing about the Everywoman character doing extraordinary things. Yep, they can kick butt when necessary. Quinn Wells, the star of IN HOT PURSUIT, exemplifies this type of character.

A bit about IN HOT PURSUIT:

When $25 million is stolen from her employer, a relationship-phobic accountant hunts for the thief alongside a handsome bachelor who falls for her.

Quinn Wells considers her life as it should be—calm, relaxed, and free of relationship entanglements. The theft of a twenty-five millions dollar gift to her employer, Houston Cullen University, throws her life into over drive as she’s appointed to work with the police. The search for the thief becomes complicated as she’s accompanied by Logan Rice, the donor of the gift.

Distrustful and wondering if Quinn is the thief, Logan accompanies her on a trip to Las Vegas and then to Rome, in pursuit of Quinn’s co-worker who she rationalizes is responsible. Logan has financial resources that enhance their search and he soon realizes Quinn is innocent. This only makes her more attractive to him, emotionally and physically.

As they race from city to city, Logan is determined to win over Quinn and convince her they have a chance as a couple. But Logan’s wealth and social position are the opposite of Quinn’s middle class life, and he devastates her by withholding information about his past. Yet she soon discovers what is most important to her, and that is Logan.


Karen Sue Burns writes romantic suspense and mystery featuring feisty heroines who find themselves embroiled in risky situations full of adventure and sexy heroes.