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.
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.
Whether it's to escape or embrace the winter - C.J. Duggan has a winter holiday spot for you!