Monday, November 3, 2014

What makes noir “noir”?


Congratulations to "LS", the winner in Carol's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I’ve always loved stories about private dicks, shady ladies, corrupt cops, ruthless billionaires, and hapless husbands, so when the Harlequin Intrigue editors invited me to write a story for Harlequin’s new digital-only line INTRIGUE NOIR, I put fingers to the keyboard. 

Noir is defined as “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.”  When I think of Noir fiction, the first author that comes to my mind is Raymond Chandler.  Hollywood made several movies of Chandler’s books, including The Big Sleep with Humphrey Bogart as P.I. Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall.  More recent examples of “film noir,” are Chinatown with Jack Nicholson, L.A. Confidential with Russell Crowe, Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone, and one of my favorite movies of all time, Body Heat with Kathleen Turner.

What makes noir “noir”?  

Settings – the definition above mentions “bleak sleazy settings.”  These settings can be the big city where corruption reigns and there is an unhealthy juxtaposition between the mean streets featuring hardened criminals and ladies of the night and the gated communities with their manicured lawns where money keeps secrets.  A noir setting can also be a lazy, small town where the inhabitants know what their neighbors are hiding but they just don’t care until a stranger threatens to expose them all.  

Characters – noir characters are not black and white.  The cop may be on the take, but he’s a good guy who’d lay down his life for a kid.  The P.I. might be a drinker, but he’d be offended by a bribe.  And then there are the noir ladies.  Typically, the ladies of noir are nasty pieces of work—cheaters, liars, killers, and not above using sex to get what they want, which is usually money or revenge.  The Intrigue Noir stories, however, are romances in the end, so our ladies might be bad but they’re not killers…at least not that we know of.  

Mood – dark, edgy, sultry, gritty.  In noir fiction, there are going to be crimes—blackmail, embezzlement, kidnapping, murder.  Like most crimes, noir crimes are motivated by money or sex and usually both, which brings us back to character.  The noir dames are always sexy, sensual, seductive and dangerous.  They understand the power of sex and aren’t afraid to use it.  Often there are twists and turns in the plot and people and situations aren’t what they seem.  The movie Memento with Guy Pearce had a lot of noir qualities with a big twist.

Not Your Momma’s Intrigue – Harlequin’s new Digital First line, INTRIGUE NOIR, combines elements of an Intrigue story with elements of traditional noir fiction.  It’s still the same heart-stopping romantic-suspense you’ve come to expect from an Intrigue, but the mood is darker, the characters more ambiguous, and the sex is hotter.  Harlequin is launching this new line on November 3rd with four stories:  BAD GIRL by Julie Miller, CALL ME TIFFANY by Kris Rafferty, PINUPS AND POSSIBILITIES by Melinda Di Lorenzo, and my story, TOXIC.  Did I mention the sex is hotter?

So, slip on your red stilettoes, straighten the seams of your silk stockings, powder your nose, put on Peggy Lee’s “Fever,” and put your lips together and...blow.  And get ready for INTRIGUE NOIR.

Giveaway:
Leave a comment and win a digital copy of TOXIC.  We’re also having a party on Facebook on Nov. 3rd to celebrate the launch of INTRIGUE NOIR where we’ll be discussing all things noir and giving away books and other items.  Join us!  

Find Carol at her website and Facebook page.

TOXIC

"That's the way I like it—hot and wet."


Not something I'd typically say in a job interview, but it just kind of slipped out. I blame Ronnie Tate—the woman is sin in stilettos. As bosses go, the sexy ex-showgirl is way more appealing than the Miami billionaire who hired me to find his missing mistress.

The girl's trail ends at Ronnie's bayside bar, so I've got to get close to the people there to find out more. And I plan to get real close to Ronnie in particular. She's hiding plenty—like why she's clinging to this dump her late husband left her, and why her employees keep disappearing. If I have to expose more than just Ronnie's secrets, so much the better.

Slinging drinks isn't private investigator J. P. McCoy's usual MO. But nothing is what it seems in this sultry noir tale of blackmail, murder, sex and scandal.

If you love heart-stopping suspense and fearless romance, look for Carol Ericson's Harlequin Intrigue title The Hill available now!

Available at AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST November 4th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

31 comments:

  1. Wowza, woman! That's an AWESOME description of noir, and your book sounds off-the-charts HOT! Huge congrats - I'll try to pick this one up soon.

    HUGS!!!

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    1. Thanks, Christine. I channeled my "dark side" for this one!

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  2. Oh my goodness, Carol, it sounds fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Sandy. Hope to see you at the FB party!

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  3. Okay, so I was so caught up in the dark sexiness of this excerpt I read, "But nothing is as it seems in this slutty noir tale..." Oops. Had to go back and re-read. Ha ha. I think I'm going to enjoy these stories.
    Congratulations on this new release, Carol.

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  4. I love all the movies you mentioned, and enjoy the noir genre. I hope this new Harlequin Intrigue spinoff is a success!

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    1. So do I, Lynne. I have lots of Noir stories spinning around in my head!

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  5. I'm so excited to read these stories, (TOXIC first on my list, of course)! And look forward to partying with you later today!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Samanthe. Can't wait for you to host with us!

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  6. Looks like an interesting new line for Harlequin! No facebook for me so I cannot join in the fun, but I saw this line has a great group of authors!

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    1. Great group of authors - a couple of Intrigue authors and a couple of authors new to HQ

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  7. Great post! Love learning new things! Toxic sounds awesome! Congrats! Sure love that cover!

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    1. I love new HQ lines, Dee J! Hope to write a lot more Noirs.

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  8. Now I know what Noir is. It sounds wonderful! Thanks for the education!

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    1. Diane, now you can be in-the-know when people discuss Film Noir ;)

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  9. Noir sounds right up your alley, Carol. Looking forward to the book and congratulations on helping to launch the new line!

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    1. Thank you, Stacey! Writing it was a blast!

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  10. interesting info

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  11. "Intrigue Noir" - everything to love right there.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  12. Woohoo, that sounds sexy! I don't think I've read noir before, but I'm wondering why not!

    brookeb811 at gmail dot com

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    1. Brooke, it's a brand new Digital First line from Harlequin - first four books ever out today! I'm thinking HQ Intrigue is looking to broaden its audience to younger readers who are e-readers and like hot sex! :)

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  13. Romantic Suspense is my favorite genre...your interview was very interesting...the way you explained the new genre was informative and as I read this new genre I will be more aware of certain things. I would love to win....NOOK....thanks for the chance! Good luck with your new book....

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    1. Thank you, LS. Noir is definitely romantic-suspense, but has some additional elements that characterize it, especially the mood, tone, setting.

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    2. I got your email that I won, thank you!!!! Is it possible to get a NOOK copy?

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    3. you can disregard my previous message as I accepted your gift...thank you so much!!!

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  14. Love the cover! Thanks for the post. I

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    1. All the Noir covers are awesome, Susan. Thanks for dropping by.

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  15. Congrats on the release! I hope the new line sells like hot cakes!

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