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    A love story or how life imitates art (kind of)


    Hearts AfireSo far in my books I seem to have incorporated little bits of my own life into the lives of the main characters. In Mr Right and Other Mongrels Allegra and I have that dog-phobia in common.

    In Hearts Afire Cassie found herself alone on a tropical island where she met got to know Jack. Well I met my own husband on a tropical island not at all unlike the one in Hearts Afire and we’re living proof that ‘holiday romances’ (as we call them in Australia) can last – because today we’ve been married for nineteen years. (Yes, yes I was a child bride!)

    So how did I end up alone on a tropical North Queensland island? I was not left at the alter, I can tell you that much.

    When I twenty two I got glandular fever. (It’s called mono in the US…or the kissing disease. Sadly I didn’t get it kissing anyone and I had already had it before and not even known about it, at least according to my doctor).

    I had it so badly it turned into chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS….(we pretended I didn’t have that because there was no cure and back then if you said you had that people thought you were nuts…but I guess that’s another story).

    Anyway, I had it pretty badly. After a couple of months in bed. I went back to work but only worked four hours a day for quite a few months. I literally got up, got dressed, drove to work and came home again. .That was my life. That and watching Beverly Hills 90210 on a Friday night. I was living at home and my mum threatened to hand out hospital masks to visitors. I’m happy to report visitors came anyway.

    That was my life.

    Still I had fantastic friends (one of whom is the model for Justin in Mr Right and Other Mongrels) and I started to get better although it was a rather slow recovery. One of my friends and I were also planning to go to Europe together back-packing the next year (refer to the bit about ignoring chronic fatigue above!) We planned to leave in about March and I was saving like crazy. If you ever find yourself sick make an audacious plan – somehow it always gets me through.

    In late September she called me and said due to job changes she’d decided to go to Europe right away with her boyfriend instead of going with me the following year.

    Of course I understood but to say I was devastated would be an understatement. You know how things hit your harder when you’re down? I didn’t have anyone else to go with. I needed a new plan and I desperately needed a rest.

    A few days late,r in my lunch break, I walked down the street to the nearest travel agency and asked the girl there where I could go alone for a vacation that was warm and wouldn’t be full of too many young families or people in love. Seriously, it’s scary enough going on vacation on your own so you don’t want to also pick the wrong crowd to hang with.

    She gave me a choice of three islands in northern Queensland and I chose one on the spot.

    A couple of weeks later I found myself alone on a tropical island and I do draw heavily from that experience in Hearts Afire. For example I did phone a friend crying and wondering what I had done and she did send me to the bar to get a cocktail of the day. I did sit at “The Joiners Table” for dinner and I did make some really fun friends that week as a result. I had a great time and unlike Cassie I had no desire to leave early.

    As an extra bonus I also met my husband…but that’s another story…and that part isn’t in any of my books…well, not yet anyway. And honestly if you hear him tell his version and I tell my version I sometimes wonder if it really was each other we met…it’s like we were on two different islands…

    So from experience I believe you can find love on a tropical island and sometimes your negatives can become gr
    Note: My friend and her boyfriend went to Europe and had a great time and they’re married now with three kids and we’re still friends.

    Hearts Afire is available here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009V2UKWQ



    Leighta Bennett
    3/11/2013 03:08:19 pm

    Love it! Well they do say ‘write what you know.’ And I love hearing stories that are based on fact, and ‘how we met’ stories.

    Hearts Afire was a great book and I’ve got Mr Right on my kindle. Looking forward to your next one Monique.
    3/11/2013 03:14:44 pm

    Thanks Leighta,
    I love hearing how people met as well…it fascinates me…

    You are on my TBR on the Kindle as well…glas you liked Hearts Afire.

    Patsy Collins
    3/11/2013 08:16:40 pm

    I think we need to believe that what we’re writing about really could happen, otherwise it’ll be hard to convince the reader of that. Using a little of our personal experience can help make a story believable.