Belle Ami is a #1 Bestselling author of romantic suspense, romantic thrillers, and international mystery with a time-travel twist. Her first novel was a finalist for a major book award and launched her dynamic writing career. Belle is a 2018 RONE Award Finalist in the romantic suspense category for her novel ESCAPE (Tip of the Spear Series Book 1). The second book VENGEANCE is the gold medal winner of the 2019 Readers’ Favorite Awards for Thriller/Terrorism, and THE GIRL WHO KNEW DA VINCI is the winner of the RAVEN Award for Romance Thriller.
Belle is also a Readers Favorite Book Award Finalist for her time travel Romance THE GIRL WHO KNEW DA VINCI. (Book 1 Out of Time Series). When Belle isn't working on her next book, she's most likely in the kitchen whipping up something delicious for her family to enjoy. In addition to enjoying gourmet cooking, Belle is also an accomplished pianist, skier, and world traveler. She lives in Calabasas, CA with her wonderful husband and two kids. She also lives with Cindy Crawford and Giorgio Armani (who just happen to be a horse and a chihuahua).
Escape: An International Espionage Suspense Thriller : Tip of the Spear Thriller Series Book 1by Belle AmiPublish: Jan 07, 2020Series: Tip of the SpearThrillers Suspense Romance
Vengeance: An International Espionage Suspense Thriller: Tip of the Spear Thriller Series Book 2by Belle AmiPublish: Jan 13, 2020Series: Tip of the Spear
#1 Best SellerThe Girl Who Knew Da Vinci: An Out of Time Thriller (Out of Time Thriller Series Book 1)by Belle AmiPublish: Jun 01, 2018Series: Out of TimeThrillers Romantic Suspense Time Travel Romance
The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci: Out of Time Thriller Series, Book 1by Belle AmiSeries: Out of TimeRomantic Suspense Time Travel Romance
#1 Best SellerThe Girl Who Loved Caravaggio - A Romantic Suspense Time Travel Thriller (Out of Time Thriller Series Book 2)by Belle AmiPublish: Jun 01, 2019Historical Mysteries Time Travel Romance
The One (The Only One Book 1)by Belle AmiPublish: Feb 21, 2014Romantic Suspense Erotic Romance
The One and More: A Romantic Suspense Novel (The Only One Book 2)by Belle AmiPublish: Jun 08, 2014Romantic Suspense Erotic Romance
One More Time is Not Enoughby Belle AmiPublish: Jul 13, 2016Romantic Suspense
As a child, I wrote and read voraciously every chance I could. In high school, I was a drama major and had a dream of being an actress. I studied with Lee Strasburg at The Lee Strasburg Institute and during that time I began to co-write screenplays. I had a TV series idea that made it all the way through budgeting, but in the end the networks didn’t pick it up. Then life happened and although I continued to write I didn’t really pursue it seriously.What’s your favorite spot to visit in Southern California? And what makes it so special to you?
I have two favorites. Big Sur and Napa Valley. I’m a hiker and love the sea. The majestic California coast inspires me. In my first suspense series The Only One I included Big Sur and one of my favorite places to stay in the world, The Post Ranch, as my lovers getaway. I included a couple of spectacular meals and a hiking scene, not to mention two very sensual love scenes. As far as Napa goes, it’s all about the food and wine. And I’ve had some of the best in my life in Napa. I haven’t written Napa into any of my books yet, but I’m sure someday I will.What inspired you to start writing romance/suspense/thrillers with a teaspoon of sex? What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
My first published book was a novel based on my mother’s survival of the Holocaust, entitled In the Face of Evil, which was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist in the young adult category. After what was an emotional experience I decided to try my hand at a novel that would be fun and exciting to write, but not so heavy. My first series The Only One was a romance/suspense/sexy novel about a Grand Prix equestrian and a billionaire, green energy investment banker. There are three books in the series: The One, The One & More, and One More Time is Not Enough. I consider this series my greatest learning experience. I chose romance because I’m a romantic, and because romance readers are known to be the most welcoming to unknown writers. The romance genre is also highly supportive and offers vast venues like conferences to learn and hone your trade.
My next series The Tip of the Spear I really embraced my romance thriller passion. Escape, the first book, was a Finalist in the RONE Awards. Escape is a gripping saga about a young Harvard doctoral candidate who is kidnapped in Dubai and taken to Tehran, Iran. My hero is a deep cover Mossad agent who’s ordered to blow his cover and get Layla out of Iran. With Layla, my cold hearted spy gets more than he asked for. Layla’s a handful. In book two, Vengeance, Layla and Cyrus are married with a young daughter. Layla is the curator for an art exhibit opening at MOMA. Then the impossible happens again and she’s kidnapped in New York by terrorists who plan to blow up a nuclear power plant. Vengeance is an edge of your seat thriller with frightening real life possibilities. The third book in this series, Ransom takes place in Lebanon. It presents the very real danger of an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack that could destroy the world we live in. It’s also about a female spy and her relationship with a terrorist. It addresses the burning question of: Can people change? Can evil become good?
My most recent series is the Out of Time series. In the first book, The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci, I’ve strayed and crossed over into new and exciting genres. My hero is an art detective and my heroine is an art historian with psychic powers. While searching for a missing Leonardo da Vinci painting they discover their past lives and how those lives are enmeshed with the missing Leonardo portrait and with Leonardo himself. The book is filled with history and paranormal happenings, time travel, and, of course, romance. I’m currently just finishing the second book in this series, The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio. Same heroine and hero, only now they’re in search of a stolen Caravaggio that’s been missing for over fifty years (True story. It was cut from its frame in a church in Palermo, Sicily in 1969). The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio has it all, reincarnation, time travel, romance, history, Mafia, travel, and food (I’m big on cuisine) as my hero and heroine follow the trail of one of the most misunderstood painters in history. The tragic life of Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio is a story I had to tell. I expect to publish The Girl Who Loved Caravaggio by March.How do you come up with cutting-edge stories about politics, espionage, and redemptive love?
I’ll start by saying it’s not easy. I began my romance writing career as a pantster, a person who plunges in and writes letting the characters and the events lead them through the novel. Because of the timing elements, and all of the other factors that make up a successful thriller, I’ve learned it’s important to plot. I need to have a plan and a breakdown of scenes and events so the story can be driven by momentum. There needs to be a balance between high-octane action, the romantic day to day interactions of the hero and heroine, and the arc of the story. Not to mention that I usually have more than one story going on at the same time and the two need to interweave. It’s been an interesting learning curve. Time travel is very hard to do, readers get lost and confused by the transitions from past to present, but I’ve been very pleased that every review to date applauds the smooth transitions in the book.
I’m a news junky. I love politics, world events, and I love romance. My research skills are why my books are so current and reflect the world we live in. If it’s in a Belle Ami novel you can bet it’s based in reality. It’s happening, it’s possible, or it’s about to happen, which give my books an edge that can be pretty scary stuff.What inspired you to start “The Only One series?” Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
I’ve gotten some flack about enjoying the Fifty Shades of Grey series. But the truth is, when I read Fifty Shades of Grey I was intrigued and inspired. Not by the writing necessarily, although I really enjoyed the characters. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, eighty million books later, she says laughing.
There is no question that the second and third books are much harder to write, especially if you intend them to also be stand-alone. You don’t want to overload the reader with backstory, but you need to inform them of what took place in the prior novels. Seamlessly delivering this can be a conundrum. It’s a big challenge. Also, keeping the characters fresh and interesting, isn’t easy to do.How was your experience of being honored to be included in the RWA LARA Christmas Anthology Holiday Ever After? Did you expect your short story The Christmas Encounter to get featured?
The Christmas Encounter was a short story I’d written early on in my career titled The Encounter, but never published. I adapted it into the Christmas Encounter story. I love this short story and I love the characters. I’ve had several readers suggest I should turn this story into a full length novel. I was thrilled to publish it in Holiday Ever After. I felt pretty sure this story wouldn’t be turned down for the anthology. I pushed the envelope with this story. In real life, it’s a stretch to meet someone in a day and have it turn into love, sex, and happily ever after, and make it believable. My heroine, Mandy, is contemplating suicide, when her attempt is foiled by a dog and her owner. It’s Christmas Eve and Mandy sees no future. There’s a reason ‘dog’ is ‘God’ backwards. Doggy to the rescue. The perfect guy to see into a woman’s heart, and a yearning to love and be loved. Timing is everything. You never know when or where love might come a calling.What was your reaction when The Girl Who Knew da Vinci became the Finalist in Romance/Suspense in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Awards? Where do you get your inspiration for this book?
I screamed, jumped up and down, raised my fist in the air, and shouted, “Yes!” Then I settled down and basked in the glow of having my hard work recognized and rewarded. It’s always good to win and I can’t wait to do it again.
The inspiration for this book was a treatment I wrote when I was twenty-one. I completely changed the story, but the essence is there. I believe in reincarnation, karma, and life’s continuation, so I didn’t have to fight to make those elements work. It didn’t hurt that my minor at Bryn Mawr College was art-history. Art has always been a passion in my life. I love reading art thrillers, biographies of artists, and anything to do with art. Writing about art was an easy segue for me to write a story.You’ve written romance genre and suspense genre. Do you have a preference?
I love reading both, however, for writing purposes I prefer suspense and the thriller aspect of writing. I become a little bored without the suspense element. I love a lot of conflict in my stories. My characters tend to have huge obstacles to overcome. I’m always thinking, what can I throw at them next?How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? What does it feel like to see your first book become a finalist for a major book award?
In the Face of Evil was a huge challenge for me. I knew nothing about publishing or novel writing. I knew I had a heartrending true story, but there have been a lot of survivor’s stories published. I wanted mine to be different. This is a story very dear to my heart, it’s my mother’s story and I wanted to do it justice. It took me two years to write this book. I wrote it as a novel and it begins before WWII. It’s written in the first person, my mother’s voice. Dina, my mom and my heroine in the book and in life, was ten years old when the war broke out. She was liberated from Bergen Belsen just short of her sixteenth birthday. We’re talking her entire teenage years were spent in ghettos, work camps, and death camps. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it? Somehow I managed to make this book an uplifting story. There are countless miracles in it, friendship, love, and humor, yes, you heard me humor. It’s a truly redemptive story. Making my mother proud was the real reward. The Finalist award was just icing on the cake.What is the significance of the title, “Vengeance?” If you had to describe character Layla Wallace Hassani in three words, what would those three words be?
This is a story about vengeance on two different levels. My hero, Cyrus Hassani, believes the love of his life, Layla, is dead when a restaurant in Manhattan is blown up by terrorists. Cyrus is a deadly spy and what he wants is vengeance with a capital “V”. But Layla is alive and the Iranian terrorists are using her to lure Cyrus into a trap. The Iranian’s and a particular Quds force general consider Cyrus a traitor to Iran and they want vengeance. They want to kill Cyrus, Layla, and their child Cerise, and they want to take vengeance against the United States by blowing up a nuclear reactor. Plenty of vengeance in this book.
Layla is: Feisty, passionate, loyal. I really have to add resourceful, because in this book she gives new meaning to the word.How much did you research before writing the time travel suspense, “The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci” about art historian, Angela Renatus?
I probably read a dozen books about Leonardo da Vinci and filled a couple of four inch binders with internet articles and research on Italy, the Renaissance, and World War II.What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author? What advice would you like to pass on to young writers of today that is unconventional but true?
I wish I knew? All I can say is you write, write, write. Social media, social media, social media. Hone your craft and go to conferences and meet other authors. Find a great editor and don’t publish without one. I did it and it was a disaster, but that’s another story. Don’t expect anything. The truth is, most authors are not successful. This is a very hard business and you better be passionate and disciplined. I personally spend eight to ten hours every day, seven days a week writing or editing. I’m not particularly fast, but I am particularly driven. To give you an example, it’s Sunday, 2:36 pm and I’m working on this interview.Being a gourmet cook, what do you enjoy cooking the most? If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
I love cooking Italian food, particularly seafood and pasta. I’m a pasta fiend. I’m pretty sure I’d be happy eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t, but I could. Hmm, who would I invite to dinner? This is way too tough a decision. I’d want my guests to be intelligent, funny, and witty. I like to be entertained and I love to laugh. I also love a good thought provoking argument. Ernest Hemingway would probably work for me as I’m a huge Papa fan and he possesses all of the above qualities. I’d just have to make sure he didn’t get too drunk. Ayn Rand would be interesting. I’d love to hear what she thinks about the world we’re living in today. That would certainly lead to a fiery debate. And Winston Churchill, because he’s one of my personal heroes. He saved the world and that’s always a good place to start dinner conversation. I have to say this list should be longer. I like to seat eight at the table.When can we expect the third book in the series, “The Tip of the Spear” titled Ransom to get published? What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Ransom is with my editor as we speak and I should be receiving the initial cover soon. It is scheduled to be published early April.
We live in a dangerous world with a lot of bad actors and there are terrible threats that face us every day. However, there are warriors and others who dedicate themselves to keeping the world safe. These heroes and heroines aren’t always perfect, they are flawed and human just like us. They have hopes, dreams, triumphs, and failures, just like us. I enjoy writing about love and I enjoy delivering knowledge. I love when readers tell me, “I didn’t know that?” I love when readers review and say “I couldn’t put this book down.”
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