I don’t normally use pictures as inspiration for my hero and heroine. They are who they are in my head – not exactly like anyone else – but I can normally find a picture or two that remind me of them, and here are my Jennie and Alex 'look-a-like' pictures:
I saw Jennie as having shorter hair than this, but these pictures of Romala Garai have just the right sense of fun and spirit that my pampered princess has. Jennie might think she’s shallow, but she discovers she’s got a lot more to give than she ever realised.
Alex, I saw as lean, dark and slightly severe-looking. If there was one thing that marked him out from other heroes I’ve written, it was his ability to be still. That might sound weird, but it fit his personality. He’s very contained and sure of himself. He doesn’t flap in a crisis. That stillness he had reminded me of a predatory animal – a big cat of some kind – one that doesn't have to rush around during the hunt because it knows it’s going home with dinner.
As for the scenery: once Alice and Cameron’s wedding was over I set a lot of the rest of the book in the fictional Kent village of Elmhurst, a location I first used in English Lord, Ordinary Lady. It's a frosty new year and Jennie find the crisp, white fields and meadering lanes very different from the city life she's used to.
Jennie ends up in the village church, which starred in a scene of Will and Josie’s story, quite a few times when she needs time and space to think. In fact, Josie, Will and even little Hattie made a couple of appearances in the first draft of the book but, unfortunately, they got lost in the first round of revisions. I may even have a special ‘deleted scenes’ post in a couple of days, just because I was very fond of those characters and it was nice from a writer’s point of view to be able to peer a little into their happy ever after.