Thursday, June 14, 2007

All in the name of research

"Write what you know!" they say. Though that doesn't much help if your plan is to write an intergalactic space western set in 4012 starring Garruvian monkey people. But if you are a romance writer, setting books in the here and now, writing for an international publisher, that ain't a half bad thing. Especially when setting a book somewhere fabulous ;).

Though every book I've ever written has its heart in my home town of Melbourne, I've set portions of several in such fabulous places all over the world. So naturally that meant I had to see said places first hand right? Trips to

Italy, London, Paris, New York... Okay so that was one massive trip I took a couple of years back before hubby and I sunk every cent into buying our first home. *Gulp!* But being a writer, such trips paid off for me, literally with each of these places making a huge mark on a book I have since written.

My latest novel, Billionaire On Her Doorstep (Harlequin Romance) came about after a trip I took to Sorrento located at the very bottom tip of Victoria, Australia, about an hour from where I live. Hubby and I set off on a cheap holiday (remember new house mentioned earlier) and as soon as we drove into the beachside town, I knew a book was about to be born.

The local flavour of the place was so overwhelming it was location heaven!! My Maggie could live her hermit lifestyle in a crumbling mansion atop the imposing ragged cliffs. My city boy turned beachcomber Tom could fish for calamari off the pier at sunset and own himself one of the amazing secluded multi-coloured beach huts littering the shrubs along the coastline.

And without having been there I never would have known about the distinct beige and blue colours that seem to permeate the area, I wouldn't have known how the ragged old pier felt beneath my bare feet, the exact taste and texture of meals they served at the local pub, or how the main street shops give the town a cosy village feel. And there's nothing I like better as a reader than feeling as immersed in the place as I am in the characters and the story. I hope I was able to do some of the same.

That said, I'm pretty sure I've never met a billionaire in real life, but who ever said a good dollop of pure fantasy wasn't a good thing ;) ?

BILLIONAIRE ON HER DOORSTEP is a Harlequin Romance release hits bookshelves in North America this week! And Australia and New Zealand as a Sweet Romance in July.

For excerpts and more behind the scenes details of how this book came about check out Ally's website and blog.


Stacy S said...

I would love to go to some of the place you mention. I've only been to just about all the states on the east coast. Congrats on your new release, hope it does well.

Cherie J said...

Would love to visit Australia someday when my little ones are grown. My brother is studying at a University over there and he says it is beautiful.

I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with you being creative and imagining things for a book. Congrats on the new release.

Maureen said...

Reading a book and having the author bring you there through their descriptions is always a pleasure.

Lois said...

Boy would I love to go to just one of the places you went to. LOL :) And we're all thankful for the sacrifice you guys make when you take a trip for your craft. ;) We salute you! :)


Ally Blake said...

Hi guys!

Stacy, our mega-trip was an excuse to visit my editor in London for the first time, as well as a "if we don't do this now before we buy a house and have kiddlywinks we never will" kind of deal ;). And utterly worth every cent!

Cherie, so glad your brother is enjoying it here. We're almost a month into winter and it finally feels like it. Brrrr.... even down by the beach in Sorrento where Tom and Maggie, my hero and heroine live would be chilly right now.

Maureen, I so agree. I love being transported to new places when I read. Am in the midst of a Trish Wylie Irish set book right now and I wanna go to Dublin now so bad!

Lois, thank-you for being so understanding of the sacrificies I've had to make for my craft. Sigh... Off to eat chocolate and make a cuppa which is another of my daily grinds.

Now: do any of you have a favourite location you love to read about?

Happy reading to all!!!


Mona said...

Hi Ally,
First Congrats on your release. The place I'd like to read about is India, I've always felt it's a fascinating country. I've never been there but I'm interested very much in the art of fashion designing as an amateur of course:) and they have this creative way of mixing colors and coming up with new shades. So I became interested in the country itself.

CrystalG said...

I would love to visit Australia someday. I love to read books set there. It allows me to "travel" there for a time.

tetewa said...

Congrats on the new release and I would also like to visit Australia someday!

Lois said...

Oh me, when I'm reading, I'm definitely a sucker for England. . . and chocolate. :)


deseng said...

Wow Australia! You lucky girl! As for a favorite destination I like to read about that would have to be England, any of the islands in the tropics, and of course Australia........

Have a great day and congratulations on the release of your new book! I am so happy for you!