Today, I have a special guest post on the blog. One of my favourite authors and all-round-lovely-person Adrienne Vaughan joins us, to tell us some “behind the scenes” stories from when she was writing That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel. Sadly, she doesn’t mention the time she met Aidan Turner – in the name of research, obviously – so there are no pics of him. Other than that, it’s a great post! 😉 Enjoy.
My new novel, That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel has taken me on quite a journey and I’ve loved every minute of it!
I write longhand in spiral bound notebooks, starting from back to front, you see I’m left-handed and it seems to feel more natural that way. Working from the back I write the novel, with chapter notes and research at the front. My notebooks are small, meaning I can squeeze myself into a tiny space to work on a train or a plane and keep a spare pen safely clipped inside the whirly wire. Basic stuff this but it works for me. I usually fill two notebooks per novel and refer to these constantly, highlighting, editing and putting sticky notes everywhere.
So I like nothing more than a journey, to pen as much as I can in peace and was delighted to be invited to the Romance Writers’ of America (RWA) Conference in New York as guest of the editor of their magazine. Perfect, a mammoth flight with a real treat of an event awaiting me at the end.
Chatting to a charming lady about movies and books on the flight, I was sure my notebook was in my bag until I arrived at my hotel and realised it was missing. Panic set in, hours of work, thousands of words gone – Seahorse was sunk!
I called the tour operator, the airport, the airline; I was awake all night – not a word. Anxious hours passed. Then a call; a member of the United Airlines team – a real-life knight in shining armour called Al Balparda – had searched the plane and found the notebook, promising to keep it safe until I could collect it and get on with finishing the story.
Oh, the relief … I could relax and enjoy the RWA Conference, which was incredible and skip out to Central Park to ‘work very hard undertaking masses of vitally important research for Seahorse’, which basically meant setting up a picnic rug ‘office’ complete with pastrami on rye sandwiches, iced tea and lots of books. I read Stephen King’s On Writing during these sunny lunch breaks and strongly recommend this essential reading for writers at any stage of their career.
Languidly lazing in what I consider one of the most wonderful spots on the planet, I particularly enjoyed listening to and watching the horse and carriages touring the park, an experience that inspired the trip my characters Mia and Ross take in Seahorse, a pivotal moment as they begin to understand each other. I felt this intimate yet public location, reflected their burgeoning relationship, igniting their feelings for each other whilst trying to maintain their outward-facing personas. Tricky.
As the conference ended and I packed my picnic office away, I knew I couldn’t leave New York without visiting St Patrick’s Cathedral, to thank St Anthony – our family patron Saint ‒ for guiding Al to find my notebook.
It was a busy Sunday, the huge church full to bursting when I found myself at the front just as mass was about to begin. I slipped into a pew, slightly irked I hadn’t managed to nip out to Bloomingdale’s, when a choir singing the most glorious Gregorian chant cut through the atmosphere, followed by the celebrant’s searing solo, filling the church with the most joyful music I think I have ever heard, truly lifting my heart and bringing a tear to my eye. I was so pleased I’d stayed.
And then in the midst of this vast building, in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world, a most beautiful and intimate moment. The celebrant welcomed a couple, the Fitzgerald’s, who had gathered family and friends to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary at the very spot they had married all those years ago.
The hugs, smiles and kisses told their story … and as I left, nodding farewell to the statue of Saint Anthony, I looked briefly back, wondering if perhaps Saint Valentine was lurking in the shadows, wearing that knowing smile yet again.
For a chance to win a signed paperback of That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel, and Saint Valentine’s choccies please go to
www.adriennevaughan.com contact page and email me with Sharon Booth – Seahorse in the subject header.
Thank you so much for such a wonderful post, Adrienne.
You can buy That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel here.
Read my review here.
Find out more about Adrienne from her website, mentioned above, or follow her on Twitter. And don’t forget to answer that fab giveaway!