What sparks inspiration?
Well, anything really.
An item in the local newspaper, an overheard conversation on the daily commute, a trip to a museum or an art gallery, a holiday to an exotic location, an interest in a certain subject or period of history, a chance encounter with a stranger.
I’m a people watcher, and I’ve always been fascinated about the way people meet their partners; walking in the park, exercising at the gym, dancing at a mutual friend’s wedding, taking a cookery course in Tuscany, relaxing in a hammock on a Caribbean island, lingering over a latte at the local coffee shop, or maybe on a blind date or an internet site. However, what truly intrigues me is what makes a couple stay together, through thick and thin, for better or worse as they say.
A Year of Chasing Love is a story about a divorce lawyer, Olivia Hamilton, who has recently celebrated the questionable milestone of bringing to a close five hundred divorces, and within days gets the surprise of her life when she is served with her own divorce petition. The irony wasn’t lost on her, and the heart-breaking event turned out to be the catalyst that sends her on a global pursuit to find out what causes some marriages and long-term relationships to endure and others to fall apart.
I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the research, all of which was eye-opening. As I wanted to write a novel that would leave the reader with hope in their hearts and a smile on their faces, I didn’t want to dwell on the depressing statistics that recorded how many marriages end in separation. Instead, I wanted to focus on those partnerships that succeeded, sometimes against the odds, and, more interestingly for me, the reasons why.
Was it luck? Mutual interests? Similar backgrounds? Something else?
I started by spending some time cataloguing my own family’s and friend’s relationships – don’t tell them – talking to those that had been together for a long time, like my parents, and those who had divorced quickly, like my best friend and her husband. I asked myself a number of questions:
- What was the glue that kept them strong?
- Were there any common factors that drove them apart?
- Did the couple possess any unique characteristics, or were there any particular circumstances present, that meant they had a better than average chance of avoiding divorce?
I then moved on to gather information from more formal sources, and again what I found was illuminating. I had already decided to concentrate on countries where the divorce rate was low, believing that would be where I would find the most useful evidence of lasting relationships. So, I sent my protagonist to Malta, a country which has one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe, then, as this was a global pursuit of love, I turned my attention to America and I was astonished at what I found.
Who would have thought that New York, along with Massachusetts and Hawaii, would feature in the top five states with the lowest divorce rates in the US? I chose to send Olivia to Hawaii, though, a place I have visited and absolutely fell in love with; the swaying palm trees, the famous surfing beaches, the ‘pink palace’ hotel, the fragrant leis, the brooding volcanos, the delicious food, the friendly people, the lilting Polynesian music…
However, the most surprising revelation I came across in my search for Olivia’s ‘lessons in love’ was finding out that the country that has one of the highest divorce rates in the world was also bestowed with the accolade of topping the World Happiness Index!
How could that be?
Did divorce make people happy?
I knew I had to delve deeper, otherwise my intention of writing a feel-good story about a women who is spending A Year of Chasing Love around the world, collecting anecdotes to email to her two best friends back home so they can put them into practice in their own love-lives, would not have a happy ending. Fortunately, there was an interesting explanation for the anomaly, but I don’t want to spoil things for those who would like to join Olivia in her quest to find out the answer to the question What is love, actually?
I loved writing A Year of Chasing Love and I was sad to say goodbye to Olivia, not to mention drooling over all the fabulous photographs and recipes from the locations she visited. However, my second book is already brewing in the cauldron of my mind, and images of beautiful Bali have replaced Hawaii on my screensaver, and I’ve swapped my surfboard and fresh pineapple juice for a sarong and hiking boots.
Anywhere can spark inspiration, but give me an exotic location any day!
(c) Rosie Chambers
About A Year of Chasing Love:
One moment can change a lifetime…
The last thing top divorce lawyer Olivia Hamilton ever expected was to be served her own divorce papers! To escape her marriage troubles, she agrees to go on a year-long trip to find the ultimate guide to love.
Travelling the world, surrounded by stories of love and happiness, it’s not long before her thoughts turn to Nathan, her soon-to-be ex-husband, and she starts to take note of her own lessons in love…
But with Nathan over a thousand miles away, will it be too late?
Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Philippa Ashley and Caroline Roberts.
Order your copy online here.