The journey to a published book can be both gruelling and rewarding. In honour of my debut book’s release, in this post I’m sharing some of the more positive parts of that journey. Here are five fun facts about my writing process for The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella:
1. The idea came from a Mills & Boon Twitter pitch competition
Well, the competition was only part of the inspiration for this book. The idea first sparked while I was on honeymoon. I was at a resort in the Maldives, and it was so romantic that I couldn’t help but imagine it as a setting for a book. And a setting like that quite frankly demanded a scandalous, forbidden romance. Thus, a boss/employee, employee/guest romance idea was born.
And then I saw the Mills & Boon #HotelScandal Twitter pitch competition for its The Chatsfield series.
To suit the pitch, my setting went from being in a resort to being in a hotel. And since I lived in a pretty romantic city, the hotel went from being in the Maldives to being in Cape Town, South Africa.
So the thing that sparked my idea for this book ended up not actually being in the book. Such is the life of an author, I’m afraid! I am still, however, planning on writing a book set at that resort in the Maldives. I’m sure I could convince my husband to go back if I told him it was for research…
2. Blake and Callie’s names are variations of some of my favourite Grey’s Anatomy characters
I have no shame admitting how much I love the television series Grey’s Anatomy. I aspire to have my readers as emotionally invested in my characters’ lives as fans of Grey’s are. I know this emotional investment well. I’m still mourning the loss of April and Jackson’s baby in the show. I still feel the grief both of them suffered through after that loss. And honestly, I feel like they deserve a happily ever after – WITH EACH OTHER – after going through all that.
But I digress.
I was watching an episode of Grey’s one day, and went to write shortly after with a scene between Dr Callie Torres and Dr Owen Hunt still on my mind. I realised soon after that their names had made their way into my book. But since they suited the characters, the names Blake Owen and Callie McKenzie stuck. Writers do find inspiration everywhere, after all 😉
3. The first restaurant Blake and Callie have dinner at is named after my Siberian husky
When I was looking for a name for the restaurant Blake and Callie eat at after spending the day touring Cape Town together, I kept it close to home. My husky-baby is the sweetest girl, and her name, Sakari, sounds exotic enough to match the atmosphere I was looking to create. And to be honest, it was a discreet way of giving a shout-out to my husband since he was the one who chose the name. (He doesn’t know this, so this is a great way of checking whether he really reads my blog posts!)
4. The owner of Sakari is based on a friend of mine
It’s one of my guilty pleasures as an author to use people I know in my books. Sometimes the characters are based on positive people in my life; sometimes not. Fortunately, Bianca, the owner of Sakari in The Tycoon’s Reluctant Cinderella, is a good friend of mine. She’s always been incredibly supportive of my writing (she even read the first book I wrote and was kind about it – and it was quite bad!). I thought I’d show my appreciation for her support by writing her her very own happily ever after – she’s married and expecting a baby girl!*
*Bianca is only married and pregnant in the book ;).
5. Table Mountain is prominent romantic spot in this book even though I’ve never been up there with my husband
My husband and I have been together for nearly eight years. During that time, we’ve tried to go up Table Mountain together at least three times. It might not sound like that many attempts, but after the third time you’re turned away after standing in an hour-long queue, you tend to become more reluctant to take chances.
Weather plays a huge part in whether or not you can go up the mountain. And in Cape Town, the wind is as much a part of the city as Table Mountain is. So while I could control the weather and wind for Blake and Callie’s visits, alas, my powers do not extend to real life.
We’ve both been up there separately though, and as described in the book, it is an incredible setting for romance. Maybe someday we’ll be able to experience that for ourselves!
What would you include in your books if you were an author? And if you are one, what are the quirky or interesting facts from your books? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!