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Guest blogger: Belinda Williams

5 March 2023

When life imitates fiction

During my decade as a fiction writer, I’ve been asked on many occasions if my book ideas are inspired by real life or actual people.

I suppose it’s human nature to draw comparisons, but I’ve always been careful to make sure that my characters bear no resemblance to anyone I know personally, and their stories are their own.

That is, of course, until real life intervened.

My latest release, Cry Baby—a slow-burn grump-sunshine romantic comedy—is about a perpetual bachelor who finds himself in need of a nanny—fast—after the sudden loss of a dear friend. Initially, the story held no similarity to my own life whatsoever.

From the very start of the Pierce Brothers series, I always had the title and story in mind for the fourth and final brother, Noah. He was going to be the quieter of the four brothers. The brooding type. The hard-to-get-to-know one.

Enter a sunshiny heroine by the name of Amy (Victoria’s best friend, the heroine from book three) and Noah has a conundrum on his hands. He needs Amy, because he knows zero about babies, and he’s just become the guardian of gorgeous Amelia, a seven-month-old. He’s also crushing on Amy big time.

In my own life, I’ve never worked as a nanny or ever had need of one. Fortunately, I have a teenager, so I’ve still got a vague idea about babies, but even my editor, who recently had her third child, had to remind me of some baby-related details I’d forgotten!

So, as you can see, Cry Baby is very much a work of fiction.

And then enter real life.

I wrote the first three Pierce Brothers books during the pandemic (wasn’t that fun!) There were times when I honestly thought I’d never see the end of the series because of the lockdowns and home schooling that played havoc with my writing time.

By the time I sat down to write Cry Baby the worst was behind us, so I had little explanation for why it was taking me so long to write the first draft. The words just weren’t coming.

Then I found myself at my mother-in-law’s funeral, right as Noah, my hero, was dealing with the loss of his best friend and her funeral.

While my mother-in-law’s passing wasn’t unexpected (sadly, she’d suffered from dementia for an extended period), the fact that my real life and fictional life intersected at the same time was astonishing to me.

It enabled me to add a deeper layer to Noah’s story and the words began to flow. Looking back, I wonder if the reason I was finding the first draft difficult was because it simply wasn’t the right time.

I won’t pretend to understand the creative process. I’ve always believed there is a degree of magic involved, and my mother-in-law’s unintended role in me completing this book seems to echo this.

My mother-in-law was always such a wonderful supporter of my writing and that’s why I dedicated Cry Baby to her. I also know she would have appreciated the humour—it is, after all, a rom com!—and the strong sense of family in the fourth and final book.

Plato once argued that art imitates life, but hundreds of years later, Oscar Wilde suggested the opposite to be true—life imitates art. After this experience, I think Mr Wilde may be on to something …

You can find Belinda here: Website | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok

Cry Baby

First rule of being a nanny—don’t fall for your boss…

Amy Highgate always looks on the bright side and she’s determined to make her live-in nanny job a success, despite her new boss being the brooding silent type.

Noah Pierce is a confirmed bachelor who prefers numbers to people. But after the unexpected death of his close friend, he’s now the sole guardian of a baby girl, only he has absolutely no clue how to be a dad. To make matters worse, no one knows who Amelia’s father is.

While Noah is determined to find Amelia’s dad, Amy believes that Noah’s more of a family man than he realises—if only she can help him to see it. Except she hadn’t planned on falling for her boss in the process. Or what they both stand to lose if their working relationship crosses the line from business to pleasure…


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