Sometimes you have books that are a struggle from start to finish, and sometimes – sadly all too rarely – you have books that virtually write themselves. We’ll Always Have Paris was that kind of book for me. It’s set in three very different but equally famous romantic settings – Paris, a tropical island, and the Scottish Highlands – which meant I could write about some of my very
favourite places and could escape from a cold Yorkshire winter whenever I sat down at the keyboard.
I do like a buttoned-up hero, too, and Simon Valentine, economist and reluctant celebrity, is as buttoned up as they come. Simon meets his match with the irrepressible and musical-loving Clara. Clara knows all the words to The Sound of Music and could happily spend her days humming her way through the complete works of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I had a very clear image of both characters before I even started writing, but my nerve wobbled briefly when it occurred to me to wonder if any readers younger than me (which could, after all, be quite a large number) would actually know about The Sound of Music and other classic musicals.
Normally I blunder around in social media without a clue as to what I’m doing, but for once I was able to harness its power! I asked on Facebook if a reference to ‘a Captain and seven children’ would mean anything to anyone under 50 and I was bowled over by the response. It turns out that there are musical fans of all ages, all round the world!
After that, there was no stopping me. I ordered a CD of 100 greatest musical hits and was amazed by how many I could sing along to. To my certain knowledge, I have never seen The King and I, and yet I was word perfect on ‘Shall We Dance?’ It’s true, I did see My Fair Lady in the West End once, but surely that wasn’t enough for me to able to sing ‘On The Street Where You Live’ without a moment’s hesitation? I can do ‘Oklahoma!’, ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, ‘The Bare Necessities’ …
somewhere along the line we must absorb these songs subliminally.
It made the perfect soundtrack to writing the book, and whenever I look at the cover now, a medley of music runs through my head.
We’ll Always Have Paris is released in North America in April. If you’d like a chance to win a free copy, why not leave a comment below and let me know if you have a favourite song from a musical? I’d be really interested to know if it’s on my personal soundtrack or not … and if I don’t know it, Clara certainly will!