asked if I'd like to become involved in writing projects all the time,
mostly by people who are certain they have the perfect idea for a story,
if only I would write it for them!
one day I got an email that was kind of the same, only a million times
better. Would I be interested in partnering up with Tyrrell’s Wines to
write an online novel about a fresh, sparkling and sophisticated character
named Arabella Rose to help launch their new sparkling rosé?
had me at “We’ll send you a bottle for inspiration”.
even that incentive, the brief sounded like so much fun – following their
namesake character, Arabella Rose, as she travelled from Sydney to London,
Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and finally to Melbourne, hitting fashion,
food and fun hotspots, with a whole bunch of romance along the way. The
rest was up to me.
Needless to say I began writing the thing before I’d even put down the
phone after the PR agency's first call.
Days With Rose is
exactly the kind of story I love to write; exuberant, funny,
romantic, with highs and lows and plenty of heat. The Arabella they had
in mind could slide into an Ally Blake book without batting a lash. She’s
likable, lovely, and self-deprecating. Hurt in love yet hopeful. And as
with any great romance heroine, she has a touch of fantasy about her. She
has slightly better shoes, slightly more expendable income, and the men
she meets are slightly more fabulous than those we’d bump into on the
street. I wrote a story outline I a day, sent it to the agency, and it
was agreed to on the spot. I was born to write this project!
for one little thing...
long. My 50,000 word Harlequin romances are closer to 70,000 at first
draft stage. And Arabella’s story takes place on her own bespoke Facebook
facebook.com/50dayswithrose. Meaning her entire story takes place in
post-sized snippets, maximum three lines, three times a day. Gulp!
entirely pre-written before the story began, Arabella’s journey was posted
in real time, oftentimes from the actual overseas locations - cool,
huh! - meaning I had to create context, friends, family, a past,
motivation, goals, hopes, dreams, fears, themes, a love affair or two, and
book her an imaginary yet entirely feasible 50 day holiday! (Cue me madly
googling flight times, events in each city, weather patterns, designer's
websites to make sure places were open on certain days. Do the
guards change daily at Buckingham Palace? No they don’t. The
changing of the
guard occurs at 11:30am and only on odd days in November.)
Thankfully, I’d been to every city Arabella travels to - see, we were
meant to be! - so using the classic write-what-you-know adage I was
able to add colour from my own experiences. I have braved the
$9.99 buffet at the Boardwalk in Las Vegas. I
once miraculously survived a madcap cab ride from Newark Airport to New
York City. I too ordered cannelloni from the French only menu at Café
Procope in Paris only to end up with huge tubes of raw salmon.
then half the fun of this job is writing the made-up bits; the what-ifs
and wouldn’t-it-be-wonderfuls. I was never serenaded in Paris by a guy
who looks like Johnny Depp in Chocolat, more’s the pity. I never
attended a party at Chateau Marmont in LA. I’ve never been kissed ‘til I
saw stars on the top deck of a double-decker bus.
that's where Jack came in. Great romance hero name Jack – strong,
masculine, a bit of a lad. Funny that in twenty-three published books
I’d never written a Jack. Arabella clearly had dibs.
imagined Arabella having more than one romance on her adventure, and she
acquits herself nicely on that score. And yet Jack - the big, gorgeous,
impossible, untouchable, workaholic colleague she plans to keep well and
truly in her rear view mirror, is never completely out of her thoughts.
Or, as it turns out, her life.
was a dream, this project, from start to finish. The ad and PR creatives
uber-talented and great fun. And I so enjoyed watching Arabella’s
story unfold in my own Facebook news feed. With over 1000 likes in her first
5 days seems I wasn't the only one!
the explosion of social networking as a promotional tool, I wonder if we
won’t see more and more writers unleashing narratives unto the world in
this manner. It’s free, and it’s instant, with a seductive tease built
in. “Like” this? Click one little button and from that moment on,
oila, the story comes to you!
nice little aside...the girl who plays Arabella Rose in the photographs
and the guy who plays Jack have ended up having a real life romance
because of this project! Must say, it does make me feel a little like a
Arabella Rose - did she have a happy ending in store?
just have to “like”
her to find out.