…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Today we welcome Damon Suede to talk about some INSPIRATIONS for Pent Up! But first, a GIVEAWAY!
High Rise: a tour of the Pent Up penthouse
by Damon Suede
Thank you again to Boys in Our Books for letting me come spend a week talking about my new release.
Pent Up was always gonna be about location-location-location. As soon as I started writing a bodyguard billionaire romance set in Manhattan, bodyguard Ruben Oso needed a place to protect and billionaire Andy Bauer needed a roost to rule from. I knew that most of Pent Up would center on a spectacular penthouse.
Back in my twenties, I spent several years living on the Upper East Side off Park Avenue. That part of Manhattan is a world unto itself and its inhabitants occupy a strange, rarified atmosphere; the constant display of money and power up there boggle the mind. For a lot of these folks, we’re talking aristocracy in every sense but a landed title. The Upper East Side is an all senses a world apart.
At first I considered giving Andy a glitzy, A-list townhouse decorated in priceless antiques, a la Thomas Crown Affair, but I decided a brownstone made Andy too accessible to passers-by. He was much more of a recluse, which suggested a swanky penthouse floating high above the city, and modern sleekness rather than anything vintage. Immediately that suggested a designer high-rise, of which there are many in NYC…buildings labeled with the names of their architects. Because so much of the story involves spying and snooping, I wanted it to be wrapped in floor to ceiling glass, totally exposed but totally protected at the same time.
Likewise, Andy came from money but his financial empire is built on his crazy mathematical ability. No Wall Street office was gonna be able to contain someone this brilliant and goofy. That meant a home office inside the penthouse and a private investment firm that Andy managed. I approached the task of the book’s primary setting as a real estate problem.
Next, I went shopping in the high-end real estate listings… looking for something suitably glamorous, high-tech, and isolated. Andy loathed his family too much to tolerate anything stodgy or restricted. He needed scale, scope, and crazy techno-toys like digital shades and floating flatscreens. For the floorplan, I settled on a spectacular 7,500 sq. foot Tribeca penthouse with a 4000 sq. foot terrace designed by James Carpenter Design Associates with interior layout/design by Rogers Marvel Architects that sold for $48,000,000.
That highly detailed floorplan helped me plot Pent Up in minute detail, planning it the way I’d storyboard a film. In a book about surveillance and suspicion, I needed doors and windows and hallways that made eavesdropping possible and spying inevitable. The apartment was gonna keep these two straight guys in close proximity and pushed their eyes towards each other inexorably. Because the penthouse was designed as a showplace, it would frame them for each other as things started to simmer.
As the book progressed, Ruben ended up doing a lot of midnight skinnydipping in a private pool in the sky. One of my best friend’s lives in a sleek Enrique Norten building with a crazy rooftop pool that fitted the bill exactly, down to the wave machine and private gym unused by the wealthy tenants. Boom! I knew exactly where Ruben was swimming laps and how Andy could spy on him from above.
Likewise, I think “billionaire” romances come with a certain amount of glamor-porn. There’s an escapist pleasure in indulging our craziest consumer instincts without worrying about the price. In that respect Andy’s penthouse does double duty, setting the stage for nefarious activities and also splashing around in intense luxe. That kinf of money has a way of raising the stakes on any situation: as a motive for crime, as a distraction, and as a guilty pleasure.
Many of y’all know that I love building out that kind of concrete detail with a book’s background, and with this penthouse I dove in. I pulled furniture and fabric swatches. I furnished the house based on what I thought would reflect Andy’s peculiarity and also annoy/attract Ruben. Trapping them together in that kind of plush environment set the stage so Pent Up could really play out in three dimensions.
PENT UP: Mix business with pleasure and take cover.
Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.
Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold-running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?
What’s a bullet catcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford, and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.
Title: Pent Up
Author: Damon Suede
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 290 Pages
Buy Link: Dreamspinner
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.