Sunday, 13 September 2009

Invitation To The Boss's Ball - Story Inspiration

People often ask me where I get my ideas for stories. Invitation To The Boss’s Ball had a bit more of a roundabout birth than my books normally do:

Last year I wrote the trilogy with Jennie Adams and Melissa McClone. The editors didn’t give us a storyline – the just asked us to come up with something fresh and urban – so we spent what seemed like weeks instant messaging back and forth trying to come up with a clutch of ideas we thought might appeal.

One of our first ideas was for three heroines who set up their own internet company specialising in lingerie for women of all shapes and sizes. My heroine was going to be Alice, a lingerie designer, who was as thin as a rake and thought she was far too androgynous to wear her own creations – until she meets the hero, of course, and starts to feel sexy and a little more confidant.

The Romance editors weren’t sure about the lingerie company (too sexy?), so we went back to the drawing board and came up with a whole new raft of ideas. One of mine was as follows:

Three girls in three different countries discover that having the perfect pair of killer heels can be just the right ingredient when searching for their Prince Charming. Of course, Cinders’ luck with shoes and men was a little up and down, and our heroines just might discover that there’s more to love than Jimmy Choos…

I was going to tweak Alice into a fashion illustrator who bought a wonderful pair of shoes second-hand at a charity shop, but always felt she wasn’t sexy enough to do them justice. However, for the trilogy we ended up picking an internet dating theme, and I realised Alice was all wrong for the forty-year-old empty nester heroine in my book, so I waved her bye-bye and consigned her to my ideas file, turning my attention to Grace, who stormed away with the part.

However, once the trilogy was done and I was discussing ideas for new books with my editor, she mentioned a new mini-series in the Romance line called “In Her Shoes”. Basically, modern-day Cinderella stories. I knew a heroine who could fill those shoes! Alice.

The basic idea for her character remained the same, but I decided the shoes shouldn’t just be second-hand but vintage. And that’s when the ideas really began to fly! Before I knew it I was trawling vintage clothing sites, salivating over the wonderful clothes. I even found a pair of shoes with ‘glass’ heels. Right then, I knew I had my story and that Alice wasn’t going to be consigned to the ideas folder any longer!

More on the story behind the story soon...


Jan Jones said...

Brilliant, Fiona! I love reading about ideas that have broken out of the file to become Real Books!

Biddy said...

Thanks for letting us know how the ideas spring forth! I really enjoyed 'Invitation to The Boss's Ball'. Another keeper.