What do you get when you combine a handful of girlfriends and a few stiff drinks in an exotic locale? For Pasadena-born friends Johnell Kelley and Robbyn Hill, it was an idea for a book series.
"It just kind of occurred to us that we should write a book about this," Hill tells CultureMap.
Several times year, several of their longtime friends join up for a ladies' vacation, sometimes to San Antonio, sometimes to Mexico, mostly just anywhere that's out of town. Many of the women have been friends for more than 30 years; all are in different parts of their lives and stages of their romantic relationships.
Contrary to the stereotypical solitary writer, Kelley and Hill get together at a bar with two laptops and a bucket of beers every other Saturday.
"We thought that our adventures are something that other people would enjoy hearing about," Kelley says.
The first effort to bring their story to the masses is Getaway Girlz, which was officially released on June 9. Published under the pseudonym Joan Rylen, the cover depicts four ladies in lounge chairs on the beach, blissfully unaware of the dead and bloodied body sprawled just behind them — a little peek of what's inside.
An unconventional method lends a tongue-in-cheek style to the writing. Contrary to the stereotypical solitary writer, Kelley and Hill get together at a bar with two laptops and a bucket of beers every other Saturday, drinking and taking turns with the keyboard, laughing and writing for eight or 10 hours at a time.
"Inevitably people will ask us what are we doing and who do we work for that's making us work at 11 o'clock on a Saturday night," Kelley says.
Not all will be based around a murder, but there will always be some sort of mystery for the Getaway Girlz to solve as they foster their own friendships. Keep an eye out for more by following updates here.