6 things you may not know about Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir

Only six?   errr… okay.  Not one to turn up my nose at a challenge, here goes!

1. Jake Vance – I based Jake, my hero, on David Boreanaz’s character Seeley Booth in Bones (any excuse to drool and overdose on Series 2 🙂  Same broody stare, same high intelligence, same deep-set convictions.  To get more into Jake’s character, I also read The Modern Machiavelli by Ian Demack and took copious notes. 

When his long fingers wrapped around hers, Holly’s skin heated with the contact. It wasn’t power he so clearly exuded. It was something much more seductive. Confidence? Control?


The way his sharp green gaze swept her from head to toe, taking in her hair, her face, her business suit. The way those eyes probed hers until they finally came to rest on the small diamond solitaire at her throat.

It was exciting coming up with Jake’s backstory.  I was thrilled to get everyone’s “yay!” when I suggested the kidnapped baby scenario.  It gave me lots of wonderful conflict for Jake, complete with a chequered youth and that whole “I’ll never be like my father” thing, too.  

2. Holly McLeod – The picture inspiration for Holly came from an unnamed model on the Ezibuy site.  Holly was a tough one, because I obviously needed someone attractive (especially to Jake!) but not too attractive.

Jake snapped his eyes up to meet hers and it hit him again. It wasn’t the curve of her lips, nor the way her blue eyes tilted up at the corners. It was the tiny birthmark on the left side of her mouth, like some artist had painted it on to tease and tempt. To focus a man’s attention.

A prime kissing target.

My 7 yo son gave me the name of Holly’s home town – Kissy Oak. It’s his mispronunciation of the word ‘kiosk’. After we laughed ourselves silly, I told him I had to use it in a book some time.  And boy, was he tickled to see that in print!

And without Holly, there wouldn’t be Max Carlton, a guy I modeled on the gorgeous Jude Law. Same golden face, same charming smile.  But still a bastard 😉 

It was those innocent choirboy looks, complete with a mop of golden curls that made Max Carlton such a hit. The men liked him for his after-hours drinks and blokey talk about football and women. The women were flattered by his charm and good looks. And to her surprise, there’d been a spark of interest despite the unofficial gossip. He was an attractive smooth-talker and everyone knew it, especially Max Carlton.

I had a lot of fun writing Max’s scenes with Holly – I love writing dialog and the conflict it causes. And it was great to have a villian who was actually on the page and not dead LOL.

3. Nip, tuck.. cut! – BOARDROOMS was originally called Return of the Bad Boy Billionaire. In fact, every DDU story was called something different. But when Senior Editor Melissa Jeglinksi brainstormed, she came up with six gorgeous titles that tied in with the themes perfectly.

Speaking of cutting… I have a tendency to write looong, so it came as no surprise I had to cut a few things 🙂 My story originally started with an editorial-style article that appeared in a daily newspaper:

The Blackstone Baby: will we ever really know? – editorial comment by Dash Morgan

With only three months to go before Howard Blackstone’s six-month will stipulation expires, we are no closer to discovering the identity of the missing Blackstone heir.

For those who’ve been living under a rock, heir-to-be James Hammond Blackstone was just two years old when he went missing from his multi-million dollar Vaucluse home in November 1976. After both parents were cleared of foul play, the police investigation focused on their housekeeper. Of course, after the ransom note, nothing more was heard until the discovery five days later, when two bodies in a car at the bottom of Lindon River, five kilometres north of Newcastle were identified as the missing housekeeper and her convicted criminal boyfriend. The police concluded that James Blackstone’s body had floated out to sea, a finding that Howard Blackstone refused to acknowledge: after his plane crash and subsequent will reading this past February, it was revealed that the billion dollar gemstone king had been funding a thirty-two year private investigation to recover his son’s whereabouts.

Now, with MacNamara Investigations – the PI group who have apparently discovered a “promising lead” – remaining tight-lipped on the topic, I have to wonder… we will ever know what happened to the Blackstone baby?

The last tragedy to grip and polarize public opinion this tightly was Azaria Chamberlain. And we know how that ended up. Like the Chamberlains, the Blackstones have been tried by public opinion and are either baby killers or victims of tragic circumstance. It’s hard to argue what we already know – suicide, family infighting, mistresses, vendettas and boardroom battles are just another day in the life of a Blackstone. But is it a family blessed by extraordinary wealth… or cursed by it?

Either way, like Azaria, too much time’s passed and the story has moved into urban legend folklore. And of course, it’s brought out the pond scum, those claiming to know the whereabouts of James Blackstone, demanding their fifteen minutes and payment before their hoax is revealed.

Let’s not forget a baby disappeared. It’s a tragedy for any parent to live through. But I’m betting that after August, the Blackstone Baby will be chalked up in Australia’s history under the heading “We’ll Just Never Know.”

I managed to do the rest of the cutting (all 30 pages of it!), keeping the important bits and sprinkling them into the rest of the story. Strangely, I have a love-hate relationship for the story at this stage 🙂 Michelangelo puts it best when he said “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”

4.  The Dresses – Ahhh, dresses!  I took guilty pleasure in researching the gowns everyone wears to the Blackstone Charity Ball.  Holly’s dress is based on the glamorous print ad for Givenchy’s Organza parfum.  I’ve had the picture for years and was excited I could finally use it in a book! 

He was staring out the kitchen window, at a glittery cruise ship in the harbour when he sensed Holly behind him. Then he turned and all brooding thoughts fizzled from his brain.She was dressed in a white clingy creation, the vertical pleats emphasizing the gentle curves of her body. With her hair pulled high and back, curls cascading over her shoulders, she looked like some Egyptian goddess. The gauzy material draped across her breasts almost lovingly, and it was held up by small shoestring straps, leaving her arms bare. Beneath his unabashed staring, goosebumps spread over her skin.

“Is my dress okay?” She nervously tugged at the neckline, tweaking the fabric into place. 

“You’re more than okay.”  Amazingly, after everything they’d done together, after every body part he’d teased, kissed and caressed, she blushed. He’d never get tired of seeing her blush.

Of course, I consulted Bronwyn, Tessa, Yvonne and Maxine to find out what the other women (and men!) would wear.  Briana was sexy in red (picture found at a prom dress site), Kim elegant in a strapless black creation (this photo is from a vintage site), and Jessica pregnant and glowing in a silver halterneck.

 5. Blackstone’s Head Office – Research (aka surfing the ‘net) is the best part of a story! I used my artistic license and removed the Sydney Hilton from it’s George/Pitt Street location and plonked Blackstone’s right there in the center instead. The location is prime real estate with a squillion shops – from the Pitt Street Mall, Centrepoint Tower and Queen Victoria Building – just a stone’s throw away. My favorite is the beautiful historic Strand Arcade. Opened in 1891, it was the last Sydney arcade to open and the only one to still remain in original form. It’s full of elegant jewellery stores, milliners, one-off designer gear and coffee shops ::::sigh:::

Okay, back to Blackstone’s! Here’s a shot of the interior:

Originally, I had an interior description when Jake first fronts up in the foyer, but that was eventually cut. Here’s what didn’t make it into the book:

Jake strode across the foyer of Blackstones Diamonds, ignoring the lush, expensive fittings. He barely glanced at the Tom Bass bronze sculpture that took center place on the polished marble floor, the smooth dip and flow of modern lines doing nothing to calm his tightly wound tension.

The security desk lay dead ahead, but it wasn’t the young guy behind it who captured his attention. It was the woman.

6. Holly and Jake’s apartments – I studiously trolled many real estate sites, imagining the kind of places Holly and Jake would live.  I even went into the city and took a walk around, picturing myself in Holly’s shoes. For Jake’s place, there was no contest – Sydney Wharf is a brand-new harbourside development and an obvious choice for a man who has it all. Here’s a shot (left) of what I imagined Jake’s apartment looks like inside…

Holly is fortunate enough to have a room mate (the mysteriously exotic Miko Tarasai… I get the feeling she’ll want her own story one day!) whose parents own the apartment she lives in.  Like many people in real life (myself included!) Holly started off with one career in mind, but instead just ‘fell’ into another – in her case, she wanted to study interior design but ended up at Blackstone’s.  However, she still gets to call on her creative energies – here’s what she did with her apartment.

The whole concept of DIAMONDS DOWN UNDER was as thrilling as it was scary. But having five other authors I personally know and (still!) love working with me, the whole writing process was a lot less insular and a heap more fun. Truly, I have the best job in the world!

Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir is now available at Amazon and as an e-book from eHarlequin.  Check out Paula’s website for more behind-the-scenes info.  And remember to post a message if you want to be in the running for a gorgeous diamond keyring!


47 Responses to “6 things you may not know about Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir”

  1. yea number 1 again

  2. Paula great post, you sure found the ideal person to base your hero on (first saw him on buffy as Angel a few years ago still as handsome as ever lol) looking forward to read your book, to see how the long lost heir”s story unfolds

  3. Hey, Avi J! I could go on forever about DB… especially the Bones episode when he was shirtless. Yum! 😀 (does that sound a little sad? LOL)

  4. Paula, nah not sad at all(lol) i guess its similar to chocolate, cant resist it so give in, he is such eye candy (lol)

  5. Hi paula
    Nice blog. I love the part about the dresses. one of my weakness, love shopping for clothes! (lol) I love that show with DB too, great pick for inspiration for your hero

  6. Avi, great job at nabbing #1.

    Paula, it’s fabulous seeing our characters and setting in pictures, and this post adds a really nice dimension to your story. Love those dresses! And isn’t Holly gorgeous! Jake isn’t too bad either. 🙂

  7. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Paula, Paula, Paula,

    What you have done to my heart! I was scrolling down to get to the body of your message,
    when my heart actually started stuttering ( or was it hiccuping?) You’ve heard the phrase
    “Be still, my heart!” I had to quickly tell that most vital organ to calm down! I have need of
    it for a few more years, can’t have it acting up like this! I don’t blame it, really I don’t. David
    Boreanaz is most SPECIAL! You won’t ever find me missing “Bones!” I’m truly looking forward
    to reading your book, more so now because of the connection with David Boreanaz!! I think
    I need to brew myself a cup of chamomile tea!!!

    Pat Cochran

  8. LOL Pat. THere’s just something about him, isn’t there? The Bones writers do a fabbo job with characterization, which is what draws me (and keeps me!) watching certain movies and shows. I’ve got both seasons of Bones and watch them at least once every 6 months! Now I have someone to drool with over DB 😀

  9. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Amen, Sister! I was a reluctant viewer in the Buffy era where he portrayed Angel, a
    vampire. Then in the spin-off called, naturally, Angel, I watched a bit more. My
    youngest daughter was the more serious viewer. Then came Bones, where I was
    totally snared from Day 1!!

    Pat Cochran

  10. limecello Says:

    I didn’t mind David Boreanaz as Angel in Buffy – but then that might be an age thing. :X. Paula, this was a great post! I had to skim it though because for once I haven’t read the book yet :X. [I don’t have it yet!] Finals are HERE and I’ve been spending 10+ hours each day trapped in the bldg studying. Sad, but I loved this post! And even while skimming, those dresses definitely caught my eye. And the apartment! Oh I can’t wait to get my hands on Jake and Holly’s story!

  11. limecello – errk, finals! All fingers crossed for you 🙂 Sorry to spoil the surprise for you… it just happened that the first Sunday of the month was just a tad too early for my shelf date!

    LJ – amazing what dresses you can find on the internet! And while we’re on the topic of research, yesterday’s paper (The Australian) included a glossy mag extra titled “Luxury” which is pages and pages of stuff that uber-rich buy/holiday/drive/indulge in. Perfect research ! 😉

  12. OMG I sooooooooo can’t wait for this book. Have been wondering who that ”other” Blackstone will be and am so excited. Thanks Paula.

  13. Nathalie Says:

    Thanks for all the information… It is always to get juicy bits of what inspires authors.

    Love those apartments too!!

  14. Those 6 things… I totally did not know.
    Thanks for the entertaining post!

  15. Patricia Cochran Says:

    G’day to all;

    I’m spending the day resting after the shock and pleasure of seeing my favorite fellow
    in this post! Am I imagining this or does he really get better looking each time I open
    this post? LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like the rest of the bloggers, I’m anxious to get my hands on
    “Boardrooms………” to continue the series!

    Pat Cochran

  16. That apartment is amazing. I imagine it costs as much as one in Manhattan. I love the bantering between Booth and Bones. You’ve made a great choice with David as inspiration for the hero.

  17. Hi Pat! As we say in Australia – ‘go and take a Bex and have a good lie down’ 🙂

    Rach – hope you like it! And hey, my local Gloria Jeans wants to do a chat/talk hour with me and my book! 21st June if you’re in the area 😉

    Lily – thanks for dropping by!

    Nathalie, Jane – I got Holly’s apartment from a real estate site (it exists!). Jake’s was designed by a US company for a home office in California here – http://www.brukoffdesign.com/Projects/berkeley.htm If I had a million, this is the place I’d want!

  18. Paula, I forgot to mention I soooo loved your book forgotten marriage, it captivated me so much that I did not put it down till I reached the end. I look forward to more books from you. As a first release it was fantastic, if Jake is anything like Finn i think I will be in love again (lol)

  19. LJ – oh, Jake is better 😀

  20. Hey Paula, where’s Dani’s ballgown???
    Oh, that’s right, I saw it in an antique shop so I didnt have a picture. Suffice to say it was very Dani…
    Limecello, best with the finals, what a nail-biting time for you.
    Pat, I’m sending you and Paula a bib for Boreanz dribble..

  21. Paula, loved all the background (and the little snippets!) from Boardrooms and now am so looking forward to reading Jake’s story. (Great photo of DB, too, mmmm.)


  22. hey Jan – despite your excellent recon work for Dani’s gown, she and Quinn didn’t end up in the final ball scene. Wanted to, but couldn’t fit it in. Anyway, they probably ended up sneaking outside for a quick bit of nooky instead 😉

  23. Quinn’s much too refined for that sort of carry-on – well, he was till he met that Dani!!!
    Actually, i never watch Bones and I’ve heard of Boreanz but wouldn’t have known him if I fell over him (settle, Pat!) but I see what you mean. He looks like the business! I love H’s who aren’t too pretty boy. Holly looks gorgeous too, those Ezibuy catalogues are great, so many shots, you get so many different moods.

  24. btw Love her dress – and that’s my fave perfume!!! Hopefully dh will read this. Last time he went overseas by himself, he asked if I wanted some more smellies, I left the nearly empty bottle of Organza on the vanity for weeks. When he got home, he’d gotten me ——–OPIUM!!!! That was a scent I liked when I was twenty and he bought me one or two bottles but haven’t liked it for years. Not only that but because I was house-sitting for my sil and she and her hubby were with my dh, she bought me a bottle of damn opium as well as a thank you. Sheesh! I bet David Boreanz would never make such a tactical error.

  25. errk, I had Opium when I was 17 ! So grown up, I was LOL. Can’t stand it now – much prefer Happy or JLo’s Glow (actually ADORE her new one, Deseo… pretty apt, huh?)

  26. Ooh Jan Hard Luck there (lol) you will probably have try to resort to post it notes all over the place before he gets the message. I like more mild perfumes like vanilla musk and vanilla fields. My aunt loves organza, that Opium gives me an instant headache, I hate too (lol). Paula that perfume Glow is really a nice fragrance, my sister uses it although I still stick with my vanilla, its an occasional indulgence. Ghost Myst and White Diamonds are also some nice fragrances.

  27. Patricia Cochran Says:

    Hey, Jan and all,

    I agree, Boreanaz would never be called a pretty boy! Just an attractive fellow whose
    interaction with his co-star is very electric. I also like the fact that he is a very devoted
    father, both on the show and in real life.

    Pat Cochran

  28. I saw on Amanda Ashby’s blog that she get multiple hits on her site when she uses the words ‘naked’ and ‘David Boreanz’ in her posts. Are you using the same tactic Paula? LOL!

    I agree, he’s got a certain air about him that attracts you even though he’s not classicly handsome. And FWIW, I love the series ‘Bones.’

    Perfumes, my current favs are YSL ‘Elle’, Chanel ‘Allure’ and Armani ‘Code’. And I’m a huge fan of layering fragrance, always have been. If I can get my hands on the soap, the dusting powder, the body lotion as well as the fragrance…I’m sooooo there. In fact, I may sometimes forget to brush my hair in the morning (not often…but sometimes!) and I may forget to put on lippy before I leave the house but I NEVER forget to wear perfume. Love it!

  29. BTW, Jan, have you tried selling your unwanted brand new perfumes on Trade Me? Then you could buy what you really want with the proceeds 😀

  30. Also a fan of Allure and a D&G one whose name escapes me (as words so often do.) Jan, love your description of DB as “the business”. Isn’t that a perfect description for a Desire hero?



  31. My perfume is Georgio. I wear it every day and I always get people either saying “you’re wearing Georgio” or “what perfume are you wearing?”

    I love that perfume.

  32. That should be Giorgio, not Georgio. Didn’t think it looked right. 🙂

  33. My first grown up perfume was Chanel No. 5. These days I have an assortment of body sprays from Victoria’s Secret. I do like Vera Wang’s perfumes.

  34. Yvonne – Armani Code – what’s it like? At the end of every book, I buy myself a little treat, something pertinent to the book and have decided my current wip deserves a bottle of Armani Code, since my H in that is modelled on the very beautiful – almost even pretty boy – Enrique Palacios, the model on that amazing ad for the perfume. I found an amazing you tube clip that put together a whole lot of pics of him modelling so I know what my boy looks like when he’s smling, frowning, looking hunky or seductive, reading, holding a baby (awwww) and walking around people in his undies!

    Hey if you ever get hit by a bus, Yvonne, the ambos will say well she’s a bit of a scruff but she sure does smell nice!!!

    Maxine, that’s a compliment, obviously Giorgio suits you perfectly. I think smellies just disappear on me.

    OMG Jane, my only experience with Chanel No 5 was going out with a guy – I was really young – and I broke up with him in the car and he said nothing, just opened the glove compartment and brought out a beautifully wrapped bottle of chanel. Jeez, way to make me feel guilty…

  35. limecello Says:

    🙂 I’m going to save this blog post for after I read the book. As to the finals wishes … thanks. Only one more today. Today’s was given by the “smiling assassin. 😛 One of my friends cried the whole way home afterwards, and another girl left halfway through to go sit outside and cry for a bit.
    … Not fun.
    I not only love those dresses, but I think I forgot to gush about the apartment pictures last time.

  36. Jan, here’s the blurb for Armani Code. I noted with interest that it has vanilla in it. Most of the fragrances I love have vanilla in them. You should go into your local Life Pharmacy, Farmers or other major department store and try some on you for a day or so. BTW, if you don’t smell your own fragrance on you, you could be suffering from olefactory fatigue through wearing your fragrance too close to your nose, i.e. behind your ears or even, horrors!, on your neck. (Can you tell I sold perfume for six years?) Try wearing it on the inside of your wrist (pulse point), inside of your elbow, between your breasts, even in the hollow at the top of your leg or behind your knees–Les should get a kick out of that 😉 I always think you really need to *wear* a fragrance for a day or so to know how much you’ll love it long term.


    The Elixir bottle is characterized by a couture presentation, a graceful homage to the Thirties, an important inspiration for Giorgio Armani, rekindles the expression of the Haute Parfumerie and the elegantly feminine gestures of the time. The ultimate seduction; as precious as a vintage jewel.

    The élixir de parfum associates the richness of orange blossom absolute with the soft essence of Tunisian Neroli – An unexpected marriage which gives this fragrance a voluptuous magnetism.

    The temptation is in the heart of the flower; so soft and velvety. It is carried an octave higher by the tonka bean, irresistibly addictive and creamy. The fascination of a caressing trail.

    The woody base is interwoven with a vanilla sur-absolute for a velvety effect. This intoxicating olfactory experience is further enriched by the sensuality of honeyed notes and an ultra-feminine hint of violet and touch of ginger. Sandalwood, intense and enveloping, assures the depth and density of the composition.

  37. OMG it sounds good enough to eat! Seriously tho, if I look at each ingredient – orange blossom, woody, vanilla, violet, ginger and sandalwood, I love them all. Not sure what Tunisian Neroli (went to school with a Neroli) or tonka bean are (or smell like). That’s a lovely description.

    You’re a surprise a minute, had no idea you sold perfume for years. Okay so I promise never to spray behind the ears or on the throat again. Sadly dh never notices perfume (what do you expect from someone who wears Lynx??) he only notices ‘bad’ smells…moving quickly along…

    Limecello your exams sound terrifying, those poor girls. You’ll need a darn good book to soak up some stress after that!

  38. Jan, I think the point is that it makes YOU good enough to eat ;-). Your man is bound to notice…

    Yvonne (wondering what I’ll surprise you with next!)

  39. Virginia H. Says:

    You picked a good man there. I used to watch him on Buffy, but when he started on Bone’s I fell in love all over again. I never miss the Bone’s show, just love it.

  40. Christa Says:

    I really loved the phrase kissy-mole Jake used to describe her. He was so endearing and made him seem more real. Every time that phrase came up my heart melted a little more toward him.
    I rarely use perfume. only on really really special occasions and then it’s usually Alfred Sung. I mostly use Perfect Bliss body spray by Calgon

  41. Yvonne – being a little risque? 😀

    Virginia – there’s something about a dark, brooding man! And oooh, the new series of Bones is back on TV next week .

    Christa – thanks for your lovely words about Boardrooms! It’ll be hard to top Jake, especially with DB in my head 😉

    The best perfume I ever had was Bill Blass by Bill Blass. Gorgeous, light and fresh. They discontinued it here :::whah::::! but I found it again on http://www.strawberrynet.com – the best place for discount girly stuff.

  42. okay, naughty me. I got distracted by a website 😀 (wish I could say it was David – not today!)

    Okay, barrel rolled… # is 12. Congrats, Rach! Let me know your address and I’ll get your prize off to you.

  43. Congrats Rach

  44. Ooooh… how exciting! Thanks Paula!

  45. Paula, I forgot about the draw too. Congratulations, Rach!

  46. Pipshayaz Says:

    I have loved reading Diamonds down under so far and was still searching for the grand finale and I have a feeling I am gonna love it since the missing Jame is the already mentioned sexy Jake Vance and I have a feeling Briana’s hubby is not going to be too charmed to see Jack in their immediate vicinity as he once suspected him being connected to his wife back then. Oh cant wait I am glad I stumbled upon these books on amazon it will be a good read looking forward to it especially if it is howard’s son. The not so loved and loved howard uh uh

  47. Hi Pip! Thanks for your comment 🙂 We had enormous fun writing the books and we’re all thrilled the Diamonds Down Under is slowly making its way around the world in various different translations!~

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