I was living in Paris, alone by choice, a twentysomething year old, who had stepped out from a searing PR job in London before becoming a burnt-out statistic. I was in a muddle. At a crossroads, with no plans. But I was lucky and, through a combination of instinct and serendipitous encounters, I found a pretty apartment to rent, a hair’s breadth from the Eiffel Tower, and I gave myself eight months to ‘get back on track,’ although I wasn’t entirely sure what that actually meant.
One afternoon, I walked into my small Parisian kitchen and there was Anna Rose, the heroine of my debut novel. Not exactly in person, but she was very much in my head. Next came George Wyndham, with whom Anna had fallen in love. Within minutes, I was seated at my kitchen table and, with light pouring in from a tall window, I started writing. Further characters arrived – Gilda Winterbottom, the uplifting PR Queen; the beautiful, venomous Sofia Tamper – along with peacocks and dogs, horses and houses … a world was rapidly taking shape in my apartment; no planning permission had been sought and none was needed.
Eight months was a long time to spend on my own in Paris, where I had almost planned to be unhappy, but maybe that was the key. It now seems almost decadent to spend time feeling miserable but in Paris there was no pressure to face an office of demands, to put on a smile or attend a party. Without that pressure, I enjoyed a kind of anonymous bliss and unexpected freedom, and whilst the loneliness that came with it was often hard to endure, I knew I had to go through it in order to find my way out.
As I wrote, I took my characters on adventures from Dublin to London, LA to Paris. No air tickets or passports were required; we could travel anywhere from that small wooden table. In addition, spending time walking along the Seine, around galleries, perusing markets and speaking French with strangers, I could feel my head clearing, the mist rising, the anxiety lifting. At last, I felt a surge of optimism for the future.
Returning to Ireland, providence led the way again as I fell in love and married, leaving city life behind to live in the countryside. Soon two gorgeous little daughters arrived and I was plunged into a haze of adoration and parental sleeplessness. Over a decade had passed since my time in Paris when I found myself sitting with my wonderful aunt, who was in the final days of her life. She told me to follow my dream, or words to that affect, and that was the moment when I realised I had left George and Anna’s romance in a state of limbo. As my aunt drifted into an ever-deepening sleep, drawing closer to her end, or her new beginning, I sought out Anna Rose, George Wyndham and their entourage, again. My characters hadn’t aged but I had another decade of experience under my belt and now I found that I could nudge them along with a little more wisdom then I might have had in Paris.
The Inheritance is about Anna Rose, who was brought up in a rambling, chalky yellow Georgian house in Ireland, a sanctuary far away from her high-flying PR life in London. When she bumps into George Wyndham at a socialite’s party, they quickly fall in love but George’s childhood estate, the only link to his beloved mother, is under threat and he is forced to turn his back on Anna in order to save it.
When I received news that The Inheritance was to be published, I cried floods in my Irish kitchen. This time I was not alone as my little girls clutched their arms around my legs and I beamed a huge smile through tears of utter happiness.
I am so hugely grateful to George Wyndham, Anna Rose and all the characters in The Inheritance for coming into my life when I needed help, twice, for leading me forward to turn a new chapter.
I began writing The Inheritance a long time ago, with no idea that a book was in the making. I completed the story as a wife, a mother and a forty year-old. It makes me believe that life is magical when you can take a chance and follow your instincts.
(c) Ally Bunbury
Born in 1976, Ally Bunbury was brought up with her three sisters, and a menagerie of animals, in County Monaghan, Ireland. Following a serendipitous encounter at a dinner party, Ally landed a dream internship with a PR agency on New York’s Fifth Avenue, which, in turn, led to a flourishing career in London and Dublin. Ally now writes from her house, overlooking the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, and lives with her husband, the historian, Turtle Bunbury and their two daughters, Jemima and Bay.
About The Inheritance:
When Anna Rose arrived in London to start a career in PR with the fabulous Gilda Winterbottom, she hadn t banked on falling for the city s most eligible bachelor, art dealer and heir to a fortune, George Wyndham.
But as love strikes, fate plays a brutal card in the form of Sofia Tamper, a ravishing Hollywood actress, who serves up a dish of ice-cold revenge.
And with the inheritance of his ancestral Scottish estate under threat, George is forced to make a terrible choice one with devastating consequences.
Set in a world of opulence and privilege, where sex and money go to battle with tradition and romance, The Inheritance is a fast-moving, plot-twisting story packed with characters you won t want to leave behind!
“Pitched as The Devil wears Prada meets Bridget Jones this sparkling debut novel embodies the best of both.”
The Sunday Independent
“With threads linking the London party scene, Anglo-Irish family life and a sprawling Scottish estate … there are private jets and Porsches pitted against old money and family tradition. The elite are up to their usual tricks, with sex, booze and back-stabbing aplenty.”
The Irish Times
The Irish Examiner
“Jane Austin spiked with a dash of ‘Made in Chelsea’.”
The Irish Independent
Order your copy online here.