Friday, November 07, 2014

The eternal question...

It's the one question every author is asked. All the time. Where do you get your ideas from? It's often hard to pin down an answer because so many things come together, often over a long time. A view here, a snippet of something from a newspaper there, something your mother said when you were a teen...

Once in a while, though, everything is there. Or maybe it's just because it was my first book that I know exactly how the idea for An Image of You emerged.

The setting was like a dangling plum, one I had to use. I'd lived in Kenya for a couple of years and spent several long weekends at a very small tented safari camp that was off the well-trodden beaten track. A dozen or so tents (with modern plumbing handily placed at the rear) beside the Tsavo River. A large canvas covered area for dining. A deep fire pit to sit beside at night where you could talk about the near miss from the charging rhino that had taken off the door of your jeep.

Add a television documentary where the wonderful Clive James had accompanied photographer Patrick Lichfield on a assignment in the same game reserve, staying at an almost identical safari camp with a bunch of glamour models, to photograph a much desired calender - with Patrick Lichfield standing in for my hero, Lukas.

Enter Georgette, my heroine, a feminist protestor who not only wanted to save the whales, but the entire world who has spent the night in jail after an "incident" - the last straw in her father's patience. In order to restore herself in his eyes she has to go to Kenya and take the place of our hero's injured assistant, who is working on the photographs of the famous glamour calender that is a major prop in the PR campaign of her father's motor parts company.

Georgette is outraged, but worse, far worse is that she's met the photographer before. And here I used another real event, a demonstration against the Miss World competition when it was held in London and a bunch of feminists threw flour at the judges. Because Lukas has been one of the judges in my fictional contest and had not only been showered with Georgette's flour bag, but had got her out of the event by the back way when she'd had every intention of getting arrested.

I've been thinking about this recently because Harlequin Mills and Boon have just re-released An Image of You as an ebook.

Ready, steady, click...

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