Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday Talk-Time - Inspiring Billionaire, Boss... Bridegroom?

Thank you to the Pink Heart Society for having me today!

Inspiration for a book can strike in the strangest of places. A couple of years ago, I took my daughter and her best friend to a fan-club meet-up in Camden, London; although I didn't want to cramp their style, I also wanted to be right nearby in case they needed me, which meant mooching round the coffee shop next door.

And I noticed that there was a recording studio in the basement. Hmm, I thought. What a great setting for a book...

A while later, I was discussing my new Harlequin Romance/M&B Cherish duo with my editor. We knew we wanted two sisters who were complete opposites. And that recording studio was still in my head. Supposing I made the hero the boss of an indie label, and the heroine was a graphic designer?

And it all snowballed from there. I borrowed that coffee shop and tweaked it a bit to suit my heroine. I made it the headquarters of my fictional record label. I also got to write songs for the hero (valid excuse to play the piano/guitar during working hours because it *was* work, even though everyone in the house claimed I was skiving).

But I think the best fun involved my heroine. My editor made me tone her down (we lost the shiny purple Doc Martens), but I got to keep a running gag involving one of my favourite films - The Sound of Music. Which is also hers and her sister's. So when Hugh talks Bella into being his fake girlfriend and asks her to be totally OTT, of course she's going to buy curtains and make a dress out of them. And of course it's going to end in a Maria moment in his family home...

I always buy a Pandora bead whenever I sell a book, and the one for this was definitely inspired by the curtains that Bella uses for her dress:

Hugh's parents' house has bits borrowed from quite a few houses in the Cotswolds (aka one of my favourite bits of book research - looking up houses on a certain posh estate agency website. That's important for the curtains - I have this theory that the loudness of the curtains is in direct correlation to the selling price. The more expensive the house, the more awful the curtains!). I also borrowed the orangery from Blickling Hall in Norfolk (and added a few fairy lights, to make it pretty - and it's part of the house rather than being a separate building). The bluebell wood owes a lot to Foxley, in Norfolk.

And then of course we have the wedding. The US cover for the book is absolutely perfect, right down to the dress and the flowers and the tiny country church. I did actually have the church in mind from my own wedding, which is why I specified ancient flint walls :) 

So bits of this book date back almost a quarter of a century... Because when you're a writer, inspiration happens all around you. Just you might not realise it at the time!

Gorgeous, rich CEO Hugh Montcrieff might be the of office’s reluctant heart-throb, but he never dates his employees! Until he needs a fake date for an upcoming engagement, and decides his quirky new graphic designer Bella Faraday is the perfect candidate…

You can find out more about the book, and Kate, on her website - or find her on Facebook!

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