Sometimes the best moves are sporadic (impulsive?), and stepping off the London treadmill to live in Paris during my late twenties was one of them. My father had been ill for many months and when he died at home in Ireland, I needed head space that I couldn’t possibly have found if I had stayed in my PR job, no matter how much I loved it. When a close friend suggested I move to Paris and rent her apartment, I jumped at the opportunity, even though I had no idea what I would do there. And it’s hard to explain, but when I walked into my pretty Parisian kitchen, bright yellow with tall windows, I felt utterly compelled to write. I sat down at the rustic wooden table and began. As the days went by, I played the saddest possible music, from La Bohème to soulful jazz. I can remember tears pouring down my face as my characters began to discuss their lives, make choices, contend with dramas and find love. It was pure therapy but that was how The Inheritance began.
When I returned to Ireland, I was still writing. It was 2004, the year Cecilia Ahern published PS I Love you, and I can remember thinking quietly to myself … maybe one day my own novel will be published. But reality was knocking on the door and, having indulged in my eight month ‘personal sabbatical,’ it was time to get back to work. Moving to Dublin to work for a PR agency, I quickly met Turtle Bunbury and, with marriage and two daughters, life just got better. And what of the book? Well, I certainly thought about it, but I had returned to my frenetic life in PR, Absolutely Fabulous darling. The Inheritance was always there, nudging, hinting, urging me to get back to it … and then one morning, ten years later, I opened my French laptop … and said hello to Anna Rose.
Anna is an Irish girl, who goes to work in London for the fabulous “PR Queen” Gilda Winterbottom. She goes to an absurdly opulent party in Kensington hosted by the Hollywood actress, Sofia Tamper, and meets George Wyndham, a dashing art dealer and heir to his ancestral estate in Scotland. Anna and George very quickly fall in love only to find themselves cornered into an impossible situation involving the ravishing but utterly spoilt Sofia. With his inheritance under threat, George is forced to make a terrible choice. The story takes place in London, Paris, Ireland, Scotland and LA.
The major difference between writing in Paris, and completing the book in County Carlow, where we now live, is that I am now a mother. I also run my own PR business, so writing a book in ‘my own time’ was certainly challenging – especially when a room of one’s own is the kitchen! However, working in a large open plan office during my PR agency days stood me in good stead, as I find I can sit down and write when the children might play Twister or built an obstacle course for their hamster, Mr Nibbles.
If there is one piece of advice I’d love to pass on about writing a book, it is this from Marian Keyes – ‘If you want to write a book, don’t watch television.’ And it does require discipline, as sinking into a deep sofa to indulge in a Netflix binge after a long day can be unbelievably tempting, but once you get into the habit of instead settling in behind your lap top with a glass of wine or a mug of steaming tea, it is another form of relaxation.
I feel like the stars aligned whilst I wrote The Inheritance. A number of conversations with my close friends, including my husband, made my book happen. The feeling of people being behind you, holding you up, really can make good, and even great things happen. I had always known the power of friendship was strong but, before The Inheritance came to be, I hadn’t realized just how much other people’s belief can fuel your own self-belief. After ten years of marriage, and the arrival of two gorgeous daughters, now that I have started writing again I feel as if a strong flame has been lit inside me and I couldn’t be happier about it.
(c) Ally Bunbury
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!