In this post I’m welcoming the second writer who appears in my Ideas Store column in the current issue (January 2019) of Writers’ Forum, along with Rosie Travers whom I featured in the previous post.
Where does romance writer Lynne Shelby get her ideas from?
I’m delighted to welcome on my blog this week romance writer Lynne Shelby, whose book, “The One That I Want” (I can’t help going all Olivia Newton John when I see that title!) I read and enjoyed recently.
So I asked Lynne the same question I ask everyone I meet (with the exception of my dentist): Where did you get that idea from? And she very kindly answered, together with a load of other questions.
Hi Lynne, thank you so much for appearing on my blog, and for answering the question that every writer is said to dread. So, where did you get the idea from for “The One That I want”?
I love going to the cinema or the theatre, especially to see a West End musical. Not that I ever thought about becoming a professional actress myself (I always wanted to be an author!), but I seem to be surrounded by relatives and friends who work in showbusiness, either as actors or dancers, or behind the camera as film-makers, make-up artists or casting directors, and I find the world of film and theatre fascinating.
My chance to find out exactly what goes into the making of a film or a play first came when my now adult children were young and my eldest daughter was chosen as one of the ‘babes’ in the juvenile chorus of a local pantomime. This was the beginning of my becoming a ‘stage mother’ – although I hope I managed to avoid turning into the pushy stereotype! I loved standing in the wings of a theatre while my kids performed on stage, or watching from the side of a film set while a scene was shot, and I also got an insight into what it’s like to be an actor, going to auditions and then waiting apprehensively for the call from your agent telling you whether or not you’ve got the role.
I knew for a long time that I wanted to write a novel set in the world of theatre and film but the plot of The One That I Want came to me when I was in a shop in London’s Piccadilly Circus, and spotted a famous Hollywood actor travelling down an escalator, his progress marked by excited members of the public taking his photo on their mobile phones. It struck me how it odd it must be to have your every move recorded on camera by total strangers. From this, came the idea for a story about a girl who is suddenly swept up into a celebrity lifestyle when she dates an A-List film star.
I had a glimpse of what it’s like to be a celebrity when a friend who works in the film industry was unable to go to a film premier in Leicester Square and gave me their tickets. I have to admit that walking along the red carpet between cheering crowds and flashing cameras was super-exciting (even if they weren’t actually photographing me and my husband, but the well-known actors who were walking along the carpet several yards in front!), but for my characters, walking along a red carpet is just part of their job. I hope that The One That I Want, as well as being a romance, will give readers an authentic sense of what showbusiness is like behind the glamour and the glitz.
Thanks, Lynne. That’s great. So, to questions about your writing life in general. What inspires you most? Characters? Settings? Books you have read?
It’s the characters in my books that most inspire me to write. When I start writing a new novel, I know the beginning and the end, but have very little idea of the middle part of the story. I do know my heroine and hero very well though, so I introduce them to each other and see what happens!
Tell us a bit about your writing journey.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories, and I first submitted a ms to a publisher when I was fourteen (they didn’t publish it, but were very encouraging about my writing). My first published novel was French Kissing, a contemporary romance in which two childhood pen friends, one French and one English, meet as adults when friendship could develop into something more. This book won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and the prize was for the book to be published.
Congratulations! What a great prize. And what are your future plans?
The second novel in my ‘linked series’ of books set in London’s Theatreland, There She Goes, is to be published in June 2019, and a third novel, Take A Chance On Me, in 2020. I’m currently working on a book with an archaeologist hero – I’ve had a lot of fun researching this.
Thank you so much, Lynne. That was great. I enjoyed The One That I Want so will be looking out for those.
Social Media Links, website etc.
Buy link for The One That I Want:
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her latest novel, The One That I Want, is the first of a series of stand-alone books set in the world of theatre and film. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.