I’m a bit behind with Anni Rose’s ‘Recipe’ series so am pleased she’s joining me today to talk about using imagination in her romantic fiction novels. Her latest novel, Recipe for Mr Super, was published by ChocLit at the beginning of the month. You’ll find buying links near the end of the post.
RECIPE FOR MR SUPER – GUEST POST
Write about what you know? Thankfully fiction writers don’t take this literally and turn out endless boring autobiographies. They use their imagination to create fictional worlds, in some cases historical, or sci-fi, or crime, far removed from real life. Take crime, for instance, writers of that genre are not (well, not all at any rate) psychopathic serial killers.
So, I think, perhaps more important than saying writing what you know, would be to say use your imagination. The one thing I would say every fiction writer needs, apart from the pen, computer, and vast quantities of tea, obviously.
My ‘Recipes for Life’ series are set in Redford; it’s a fictional town that only existed, until I started to write about it, in my imagination. Now it is one I feel I understand better than anyone else, so am totally qualified to write about it.
I write romantic comedies, that’s what I love to read. As a family, we laughed a lot. Most things in life have funny sides and I try to inject an element of humour in to all my books. Oh, and they must have a ‘Happy Ever After’. As a child, I used to love the final line of any book provided it ended, ‘… and they all lived happily ever after’. As a writer I know there are better ways to finish a book, but the sentiment is the same I want my characters to have their own happy ever after so I make sure they do.
There is a little bit of me or someone close to me in all my characters, it might be an outfit, a saying, or a habit even they don’t know they have. What I don’t know, I create. During the writing process, it has been known for some of my minor characters to develop to such a point they write themselves into the next book. That’s why I love my characters so much, enjoy going on their journeys with them, confident in the knowledge the book is going to end happily.
Where I am lacking knowledge, I research, but I know in the interests of a flowing story, including every little nugget of information you’ve researched, slows things down considerably and usually gets edited out. For story purposes, things need to happen for characters to achieve their goals, sometimes rules need to be bent, changed completely, or ignored.
I find inspiration comes from so many sources, and often when I least expect it. Once an overheard conversation on a train, had me considering staying on a train, way past my stop, because I wanted, no, I needed to hear how the conversation ended. I didn’t and felt quite bereft at not knowing, but it triggered an idea for a novel. I was sitting behind the caller, so if I bumped into him again, I’d never recognise him. If I did, I could hardly ask him. By the time I got to my destination I had the premise for another book. I’d had to use the Notes app on my phone to make notes. Not completely fleshed out, but almost there. What I’m trying to say is that there are elements in most books writers may not know about, or get slightly wrong, it shouldn’t matter. It is not their job to know everything, but to tell a good story.
In Recipe for Mr Super, my heroine Autumn Rigden, having been involved with horses all her life, is forced to think about a career change so decides to try her hand at heir hunting – something I did for nearly six years. Having always loved genealogy, I’d researched my father’s family name quite extensively. One day, and I can’t remember how I found out, but a distant relative appeared on the bona vacantia list. I knew of much closer relations, contacted them and helped them make a claim for the estate that they were entitled to. It was nerve wracking waiting to see what the Government solicitor made of the claim, but they finally accepted it and paid out. It wasn’t a fortune, but they were delighted, and I decided that maybe I could do heir hunting on a more serious basis. The Heir Hunters programme was on television at the time and attracting record numbers of viewers. More and more people were becoming interested in this line of work for a career. I took several courses and started researching unclaimed estates. It was an extremely cutthroat business, but it did introduce me to my own next career change – that of being a registrar of births, deaths, and marriages – and gave me several great ideas for stories.
All my books so far have had dogs in, but in Recipe for Mr Super, I’ve been allowed to indulge my love of horses. A quick disclaimer – all horses in this book are based on horses I’ve known, but, except for Charlie Brown, the Shetland Pony – that was his real name; names have been changed to protect the innocent!
Actually, the names weren’t the only thing I made up; okay, I’ll admit I never evented. I have acted as groom, helped at cross country events, been a dressage writer for many – many dressage tests including some major competitions over a long period of time – but I just couldn’t face competing. So, it’s fair to say the eventing world in Recipe for Mr Super is entirely imaginary, except that one event is held at Tweseldown – a real place, and my absolute favourite eventing venue; a place I have spent many happy hours, helping, or watching, some talented riders compete. I’ve even gone cross country schooling there on my own horse a number of times and loved the experience, but never had any desire to compete at any level.
About the Author
Anni lives in Wiltshire with her husband, her sister, two dogs, a cat and a grey speckled hen. She has had a number of short stories published in various magazines and her work also appears in a number of anthologies.
She has wanted to write for as long as she can remember. As a child, she produced reams of stories. Thankfully most of them have been lost over the years, although the ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’ did resurface recently! And when not writing, she read voraciously.
Work might have got in the way for a while, but writing was a love that never died and she loves it as much now as she did back then.
These days, she writes modern day romances with – spoiler alert – a happy ending and a healthy dollop of humour thrown in.
Away from writing, Anni can usually be found behind a camera, walking her dogs, enjoying her husband’s curries or one of her sister’s bakery treats.
Find out more about Anni here
About the book
Where’s a hero when you need him?
In Autumn Rigden’s case, enjoying semi-celebrity status on the other side of the world. Although Nick Flynn is no superman – talented horse rider and Super Sportstar of the Year he might be, but he has a habit of leaving Autumn in the lurch when she needs him most.
Anyway, Autumn is too busy with her new career to care about Nick. Okay, so she’s had to give up her OIympic dressage dream, her childhood home and beloved Shetland pony – and all to the benefit of Gordon, Nick’s money-grabbing father. But Autumn’s new ambition is to become an heir hunter extraordinaire, and with a promising commission and only a few weirdos demanding she prove they’re related to royalty, she’s all set.
But when Mr Super returns, will Autumn find that forgetting about horses and the Flynns is harder than she could have ever imagined?