Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Friday, 3 March 2006

a book is born: the wedding wish

Where do ideas come from? Inspiration is all around.

Though every one of my book writing experiences have been very, very different (my second book took me six long, hard months, my fourth came spilling out of me in 12 days) I have some staples for each and every book. Since I always write at least two books at once and am constantly head-hopping between several different couples, I like to have certain things to ground me:

  1. I come up with a working title which, though I know it will never be called that in the cold light of day, it helps me focus what the story is about
  2. I cast my books - as in I find pictures which I think sum up a look and attitude my hero and heroine each have
  3. I have music, a CD or a song, playing in the background to help get me in the mood
  4. Fairy dust - some magical something else that often comes into play for each book, whether its a big idea, a magic tiara, or a touchstone
It all began with book number one...


1. WORKING TITLE - "Wishin' & Hopin'"

I was sitting at my hubby's Aunt's place, laptop on dining room table, and six long weeks of holidays ahead of me. And I planned to start writing a new book. "
My Best Friend's Wedding" was playing on the TV in the background. It opens with a cutesy rendition of "Wishin' & Hopin" by Ani Difranco.

This song gave me the inspiration for the book. I wrote the words: "I'm getting married." and on that day the first 10,000 words spilled onto the page in one long hit. As is usual for me when those rare and wonderful days happen and everything seemks to flow from somewhere otherworldly, the first three chapters barely changed from that first day to the day the book appeared on the shelves.

Eventually the book became "The Wedding Wish".

2. CAST - Chris Noth & Kristin Davis

This handsome guy to the left was complete and utter inspiration for my first book. I looooved Chris Noth long before he became Mr Big in "Sex and the City" (and yes I was always a Mr Big girl, and never thought Aiden was right for Carrie!). I used to watch "Law & Order" religiously, and no, not only to watch this guy on a weekly basis! I am a big fan of American cop shows and let's face it, "Law & Order" is one of the best.

With that dark hair, those puppy dog eyes, and that face, and the sexy suit and tie... This guy as a hero was a no brainer.

To the right is my Holly - Kristin Davis from Sex and The City. Seems to be a bit of a pattern here, doesn't it? But that was coincidental. Kristin was not quite as close a match in my head as Chris Noth was for Jacob but she has the right mix of style, sophistication, sweetness and sadness in her gaze.

Most times it's not about the features but the expression in a picture that draws me there. But once a picture has been anchored as my character, often times something in that picture as simple as a side part, a dimple, a chandelier earring, a shirt colour, the background location can easily become intrinsic to that character.

Now this was the cover for the North American edition of "The Wedding Wish". Without ever having seen pictures that reminded me of my characters, they got it pretty right, don't you think?

3. MUSIC - the song "Wishin' & Hopin" by Ani Difranco

At you can have a little
listen to the song that started it all. Scroll down the page for the song list and choose your media player. It's worth it! So deliciously cute..

4. FAIRY DUST - a floral garland

I couldn't even guess where or why I bought this garland, a ring of white flowers to sit atop my head. It's the type of thing a four year old would wear to a birthday party if she wanted to be a fairy princess. But there it was, hanging off my inspiration corkboard (in the top right hand corner - and yes the wall is blue, cheerful, no? We've painted every other room in the house coffee bar my office which is too much of a mess to get to!).

One day when joking with a friend that we needed something to link us to our muses on a more regular basis, I wore my garland as a kind of direct dialup and it worked! So for the majority of the writing and editing process for this book, the garland was there, on my head, making me look very silly to any visitors who happened by.

But whatever works, right?

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Watch out later this month for news of Book Two: Marriage Material