It’s my birthday and I wouldn’t usually blog about that, but this birthday is special. It’s not a round number or a significant milestone, it will be a pandemic birthday, so no celebrations (except I’m going to grab lunch from our local Vietnamese), but I wove this birthday into the main character in my next book, so it’s a special one to me.
The heroine of my next book (the title of which I’ll tell you below! Read on!), Lou, is my age. I don’t usually put my own characteristics into my characters because I enjoy the escapism of creating them, but this character was always a little different – she has a bit more of me. I knew she needed to be mid-late thirties, given her life experiences, and, as a bit of a random decision, I made her my exact age, so I could easily keep it in my head. At the beginning of the book, she’s thirty-six (the age I was when writing) and by the end of the book she’s thirty-seven (the age I will be when it comes out). Her book is coming out on 20 May this year and we are in the final proofread stage with a cover in the works. So today, my thirty-seventh birthday, is my Lou day.
Lou is charming and funny, earnest, loving, accepting and terribly unsure of herself. Throughout the book she learns not to put all the responsibility for her divorce onto herself. She learns that failure is an (often very funny) episode, not a character trait. And most importantly, she learns that she can choose to trust in love.
I’d probably choose Felicity Jones to play Lou in a film, especially as Felicity is also curently 37. Lou is also gorgeous, but in her own unique way. Although she knows her looks have influenced her life, she also knows the limitations of being pigeon-holed as a “pretty face”. She doesn’t wear make-up (except when she lets the make-up team do the work for her job as a daytime newsreader), she loves comfy, sloppy clothes (don’t we all at the moment?), but she keeps her hair shiny and healthy and good for flinging about for effect. It’s her hair, though, that hides the trauma from the most difficult time in her past – a time that keeps her tied to her ex-husband in ways she has to learn to accept and move past.
I’m so excited to be bringing out her story this May. I’ll introduce the hero, Nick, in another post on another occasion (Valentine’s Day perhaps?). The cover will come in February or March, so keep an eye out on social media and on my site. And the title? It took my editor and I a long time to decide on something that captured the summer sunshine in the book, the humour and the romance. I just love what we’ve decided on: