Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Sparked "Cat Got Your Tongue?"

I was honored to be invited by the lovely Zee Monodee to appear as a guest on her blog.  Zee asked for a post relating to my debut book, Cat Got Your Tongue?, and athough there's so much that can be said about this book, I decided to focus on what sparked the idea behind the story.  My post on Zee's blog can be found here. and I've also reposted it below:

Since Cat Got Your Tongue? was contracted for publication, I’ve had several fellow authors and friends ask me how I came about the idea for the premise of this book.

The world of art theft, cat burglars, museum heists, and priceless artifacts has always fascinated me – more so since I realized that art theft and art trafficking is a global reality and not just something we see in movies like Entrapment, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Ocean’s Twelve. (Great movies, aren’t they?)

So, for those of you who aren’t art collectors or familiar with the shady underground workings of the art world, here's some interesting art info...

Art crimes that include fraud, theft, and trafficking are a thriving criminal goldmine with an estimated annual loss running in the billions. Billions! Wow.

With the number of art thefts increasing over the years, law enforcement agencies worldwide have developed and maintained special "squads" dedicated to investigating art theft and recovering stolen artworks. The FBI has a dedicated Art Crime Team for thefts of this nature and they run the National Stolen Art File (NSAF), which is a computerized database of stolen art and cultural properties available for use by law enforcement agencies around the world.

Museums, who are often hot targets for art theft, have taken special precautions and preventative measures to protect their artifacts.

Dedicated private art collectors who spend fortunes on their collections of priceless artifacts are also largely at risk by any lurking art thieves. According to Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who manages the Art Theft program at FBI Headquarters, more than half of the thefts are from private homes.

Nude, Green Leaves and Bust
Considering how valuable many art pieces are, it’s understandable the high demand for them by private collectors – and art thieves. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, Picasso’s painting of his mistress, Marie-Therese Walter, sold at auction for US$106.5 million. For a painting. Although this was recorded as the second highest world record price for an auctioned piece of artwork, it’s quite a reality check to see what some of the art pieces sell for. I’m curious to know what security measures the new owner of Picasso’s painting has taken to keep out any unwanted intruders!

All the above makes for a fascinating dinner conversation, and an even more fascinating foundation for an exciting story, don’t you think? Thanks to my interest on this subject and many hours spent studying various cases on art heists, my fun and flirty romantic suspense story was born. I took a handsome billionaire art collector, a sexy security expert, a few art heists, and created heaps of havoc! What fun!

Thanks for reading!

Write with joy,

Rae Rivers

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