The Camilla Mysteries feature perennially down-and-out former socialite Camilla Randall. I love writing about Camilla because she's so different from me. She’s an ultra-polite New York fashionista who’s a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong. (More about the real-life debutante who inspired her in my post "Why Camilla Randall?")
Me, I'm an old hippie who tends to use more four-letter words than I should. I live in a blue-collar small town on the coast of California. I'm partial to Crocs, sweatshirts, and stretchy jeans. My life is peacefully boring.
Camilla and I have one thing in common, though: we both make bad choices when it comes to romance. I won't say that the men in my life haven't taken me on excellent adventures, but I discovered some time ago that I'm happier living solo.
Camilla, on the other hand, is still looking for love in all the wrong places.
In the prequel to the series, The Best Revenge, we see Camilla as a teenaged New York debutante. While she's being interviewed in a trendy restaurant by the condescending reporter Jonathan Kahn, she sees her current boyfriend—a "Eurotrash" prince—with another woman, supermodel Regina (a cameo by the heroine of my comic thriller Food of Love.)
Camilla quickly gets over Prince Aldo, and proceeds to fall in love with the arrogant, but oh-so-sexy Jonathan Kahn.
But in Ghostwriters in the Sky, she's in the middle of a messy divorce from Jonathan and meets the charming L.A.P.D. captain, Maverick Jesus Zukowski, and they seem to be headed toward a happy ending.
But by the beginning of Sherwood, Ltd, Camilla's long-distance romance with Captain Zukowski has fizzled and Camilla falls for Peter Sherwood, the enigmatic, Robin-Hood-like figure who runs her UK publishing company. But she has to deal with the small problem that he may be trying to kill her.
In No Place Like Home, Camilla meets her most unlikely suitor, Mr. X, a.k.a. Ronzo (Ronson V. Zolek.) He's charming and brave, but he's a New Jersey boy and she's now living in California.
|Jonathan might look like '80s Jeff Goldblum|
I haven't decided who she will end up with in book #6, which has the working title The Queen of Staves. Maybe she'll have a whole new love interest.
Readers, if you have a favorite among Camilla's suitors, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Vote for the one you'd like to see more of!
Jonathan Kahn—This is how Camilla describes Jonathan at their first meeting: "He had a profile special-ordered from Mount Olympus, a tanned, muscular body, and quantities of unruly black hair that a stylist would die to tame."
|Or maybe Jon Hamm?|
Jonathan was a dedicated newspaper reporter, but he fell from grace when his success as a Geraldo-Rivera-style TV muckraker went to his head. And, um, other parts. He got caught up in a hooker scandal, and established a serious relationship with Jack Daniels. His relationship with Marva, aka Mistress Nightshade almost got a lot of people killed.Last heard from, he was drinking his way through the dive bars of Southeast Asia.
But what if he got sober? Could he and Camilla finally reconcile? He says he still loves her.
|Jimmy Smits could play Rick|
On the other hand, he's honorable and kind, with a great sense of humor, a "scrumptious smile" and "warm brown eyes." Camilla says "He had a brotherly/boy next door manner that made me feel safe."
Rick and Camilla couldn't keep up a bi-coastal relationship, and eventually he leaves her for "a sweet vice detective named Lola".
But what if it never worked out with Lola? Could Rick and Camilla click again, now that she lives in California, too?
|Peter might look like Peter O'Toole|
It's rumored he won his publishing company in a poker game. Some people think he has an aristocratic background, but it's more likely he grew up poor in the English Midlands.
The staff at Sherwood, Ltd. are loyal to him, but they're also aware of his faults. He has a habit of disappearing for months—or years—at a time.
But he saves Camilla's life more than once, and protects her when everything around her is chaos. Did he really die when his yacht went down off Jamaica?
|Ronzo's a Jersey Boy like Jon Bon Jovi|
Ronson V. Zolek a.k.a. Ronzo—Ronzo's Croatian immigrant parents died when he was young. He was raised in a Newark slum by his grandmother. He's a jack of all trades and full of contradictions.
He's a music blogger for Rolling Stone who also works as a detective for a law firm. He has a Tony Soprano accent, but his manners are impeccable. He's an easy-going rock and roll guy and also an Iraq War veteran.
He seems to have a lot of compassion for the homeless and loves small animals...or does he? He's famous for his butt tattoo of a Stratocaster guitar. Camilla finds him irresistible, and thinks he looks like Jon Bon Jovi. But is he a good guy or a bad guy?
|People tell Plant he looks like Leslie Howard|
Plant was an orphan raised in poverty, but he earned a scholarship to Princeton and re-invented himself as a blue-blood by changing his name from John Smith and befriending Camilla's wealthy debutante set. He becomes an Oscar-winning screenwriter, but he seems to be as unlucky in love as Camilla, until he meets California businessman Silas Ryder. They marry, in a big wedding planned by Camilla, but the relationship is rocky.
In So Much for Buckingham, Plant finally gets his own voice and tells the story himself in chapters that alternate with Camilla's narration. He also gets accused of murder when he discovers the body of a young historical reenactor playing the Duke of Buckingham in the Old Hall at "Swynsby-on-Trent".
So readers, which one of Camilla's unsuitable suitors do you like best? Do you want to see any of them reappear? What kind of man do you think Camilla could find happiness with?
News: I'm currently recording the audiobook of So Much for Buckingham with narrator C.S. Perryess reading Plantagenet Smith's chapters.
When Camilla Randall, a 1980s New York debutante, is assaulted by her mother’s fiancé, smeared in the newspapers by a sexy muckraking journalist, then loses all her money in the Savings and Loan Scandal, she seeks refuge with her gay best friend in California. But her friend has developed heterosexual tendencies and an inconvenient girlfriend, so Camilla has to move in with wild-partying friends. When a TV star ends up dead after one of their parties, Camilla is arrested for his murder. She must turn to a friendly sanitation worker, a dotty octogenarian neighbor and the muckraking journalist who ridiculed her--who also happens to be her boss.
The Best Revenge is 99c until February 1st at all the Amazons. It's also available at Smashwords, Kobo, Google Play, Apple, NOOK, and Page Foundry (Inktera)
"…while laugh-out-loud funny, [The Best Revenge] carries a message about how we view ourselves and how others' views of us may conflict, yet make us grow."...composer Richard Alan Corson