Guest blogger: Justine Lewis
I wasn’t sure what to write about for this guest blog. I foolishly waited until close to the last minute (very unlike me) hoping I’d be inspired by something over the holidays. But inspiration didn’t strike. My brain is definitely still in sluggish holiday mode.
So next, I asked my mother. She is a voracious and wide reader and has shared her love of books with me. And she was sitting next to me.
‘Mum, I have to write a blog post and I have no idea what to write about. I hoped something over the holidays would inspire me, but it hasn’t. Help!’
‘Well, I don’t know. You’re the writer. You have the ideas.’
‘Thanks very much, Mum,’ I mumbled. But then I realised: coming up with the big ideas isn’t a problem, I have a file of them. Books that I want to write. Books that I’m waiting for the chance to write. Books that I may never write.
I can name the time and place the idea for my debut novel, The Secret Prince, came to me. I was driving from Canberra to Sydney one evening, the radio on, concentrating on the road but letting my thoughts wander. By the time I had arrived in Sydney I had dreamt up my hero, a prince on the run. I had a rough idea of who my heroine would be, an Australian woman struggling to establish her career, and I knew what was bringing them together and what was pulling them apart.
Of course, the book that was eventually published was quite different to this first idea, but that’s where it started.
Inspiration sneaks up on me. I can’t force it. And, as luck would have it, ideas usually come to me at inconvenient times: in the middle of a long distance drive, in meeting at work, or in the middle of contending with the kids during arsenic hour.
The idea for my second book, Acting the Part, came to me when my kids were small and didn’t sleep very much. I had a few sleep deprived years where I was half-hallucinogenic and constantly worried about all the ways parents can mess up their kids. The heroine in Acting the Part is the daughter of a show business couple, but has tried to avoid their world all her life. However, circumstances force her to work on the set of one of her father’s movies where she clashes with the director. Both the hero and heroine have dysfunctional parents, inspired by my paranoia. Though hopefully I’m not as dysfunctional as any of the parents in this book!
Ideas also come when I’m trying to relax, watching a movie or reading. Magazines and newspapers are particularly full of ideas. People watching. Long walks. Songs can be very inspirational.
The idea for my third book, The Reluctant Lover, out in March, came to me while I was writing Acting the Part. I wanted to create bit more of a back story for two of my secondary characters and started thinking about another couple. The Reluctant Lover isn’t a sequel or a series—the characters and the setting are completely different, but I wanted to explore the idea of a career woman whose job is being threatened and a younger man who is challenging her assumptions about herself. So I created a new setting and developed these characters in The Reluctant Lover, a contemporary romance set in a television newsroom.
So, it seems I might be shaking off my holiday sluggishness. Hopefully you have all had the opportunity to relax a bit over the summer and are feeling inspired for 2016.
Acting the Part
Poppy Greenwood needs money fast. Her estranged father, one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, has promised to help—on the condition that she work on the set of his next movie. Although Poppy despises the world of show business, she has little choice but to agree.
Hot-shot director Max Madden has an Oscar in his sights. He needs this film to be a success but an overblown budget and a difficult cast are ruining his plans. Not only that, but the Executive Producer’s daughter has arrived to spy on him. To keep a close eye on Poppy, he insists she work directly for him.
But as they work together on location in southern France, the temperature begins to rise. Max knows the boss’s daughter is definitely off limits—and Poppy does not want a relationship with anyone in the industry. Yet against their better judgment, an intense chemistry begins to build …