Behind The Scenes
Okay, the difficult second novel. Starting to write on this one was hard. I’d spent so much time with Jack and Claire in Can’t Get Enough, and I knew them so well… then I started writing Marc and Anna and they seemed very thin and flimsy by comparison. But I grew into them as they grew, and soon I was lying in bed at night, unable to sleep because I wanted to keep writing. Originally this book was called Drive Me Crazy, but I suspect it’s a title that’s had more than its share of incarnations over the years.
I was very much working off an outline with this book, as I had to submit three chapters and a synopsis as a proposal. What surprised me was how often Anna and Marc seemed to want to, um, get jiggy with each other as the story progressed. Like rabbits, they were. I began to worry that there was too much sex. Was that even possible with a Blaze, I wondered? In the end, we did cut short one sex scene to add in more emotional content. But I don’t think Anna or Marc minded too much. They got to eat a club sandwich and drink some French champagne, after all…
The idea for the story behind Cruise Control came out of this image I’ve had in my mind for a while of a woman dressed in a chauffeur’s uniform. Don’t ask me why, but to me this is sexy. Further back again, I guess the vague inspiration for this was the romantic comedy, Sabrina. The Audrey Hepburn/Juliet Binoche character’s father is a chauffeur for a very rich family in both versions of that movie, and I started wondering “what if the daughter had to step into her father’s shoes to help him keep his job?” This evolved somewhat, and after discussions with the fabulous Wanda, I came up with the plot for Cruise Control.
It’s a bit more serious and sadder than Can’t Get Enough. But I still squeezed some fun bits in. And yes, the Bali scenes are based on real-life experiences. Excluding the sex scenes, of course. In real life, my sex life is far more interesting, exotic and athletic than Marc and Anna’s. Ahem. Anyway… the frog, the massage, the obsession with club sandwiches and buffet breakfasts – all true. Nobody bungied, however. And we didn’t have a private villa although I did do recon in one. Bali is a beautiful, stunning place to visit, and the Sofitel Semiyak was perfect. We were fortunately there between the two bombings, but it gave us a sense of how lovely the Balinese people are, and how vital to their lives the tourism industry is. And, of course, how truly terrifying it must have been for all those unsuspecting tourists. Let’s hope it never happens again, anywhere.