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Always catch the bus! You never know where it might take you. 

On our first day in London in the summer of 2015, we woke up to a traditional, full English breakfast. The sun was shining, we had an entire day of adventure planned, and I remember looking over at my husband – without having to say a word you could just tell we were in a state of absolute euphoria. It was while travelling on a London bus when I first thought of the Heart of the City series. Little did I realise the very idea would take me on the greatest adventure of all. I had gone from simply admiring all the beautifully bold street names to thinking about what it would be like to write the story of a character that was experiencing the wonders of a city for the very first time – a real fish-out-of-water story.

London BusI instantly retrieved my notebook from my bag and, much like a mad scientist, started scribbling some character notes, feeling a new excitement as I realised this was actually going to be something.

Australia has such a rich, unique culture that even with all its slang and colloquialisms, it still manages to bridge the cultural divide for my international readers. I get fan mail from all parts of the world from people who confess they might have to Google the odd word here and there, but I love that – I love sharing my culture, and I love how, at the crux of it, everyone understands swoon, no matter where they’re from. The settings in all my books have become an extra character, without intending for it to be that way.

Now writing my new series in such iconic foreign cities, the settings just take on such a life of their own. The voices were loud, the story was clear: Paris – New York – London would be the beginning.

One of the biggest compliments to an author is evoking that feeling in a reader to want to travel to a place they have never been before; of course, another joy is being able to transport readers around the world without ever having to leave the comfort of their chairs. Imagination is such a beautiful thing.

I often wonder what would have happened if I had missed the bus that day. With the release of my fifth book in the series at the end of this week, I am so very glad I didn’t.

  • Hollywood Heartbreak - C.J. Duggan

    The fifth addictive standalone novel in C.J. Duggan's sassy and sexy HEART OF THE CITY series from the internationally bestselling author of New York Nights, Paris Lights and London Bound. Hollywood isn't all sunglasses and autographs. Aussie girl Abby Taylor is heading for the hills - the Hollywood Hills. All she has to do first is exorcise some old demons, namely Cassie Carmichael, the character she's been playing on Australia's number one television drama for the past three years. Abby is in desperate need of a change. With a new city, new friends and a sweet new condo in West Hollywood, it's time to take her career to the next level. But with disastrous auditions and countless rejections, Abby is going to need to numb the pain in the hope that her next big break comes along soon, and it does. She just never dreamed that her big break would be in the form of waiting tables at one of the hottest nightspots on the strip. Action-packed late nights and VIP parties are a sure distraction, but nothing distracts her quite like her brooding new boss, the infuriating Jay Davis. Suddenly living the dream takes on a whole new meaning, but when something in Jay's past is revealed, Abby has to question, who is the greatest actor of them all? In the land of broken dreams, all Abby can do is hope that hers is not going to be one of them. A fun, sexy and light-hearted romance from the addictive HEART OF THE CITY SERIES that will have you falling in love with the hilarious Abby, the handsome Jay and Hollywood itself!

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