Today the authors behind Ellie Campbell are here to tell us what inspired Looking for La La and share what they’ve learned from being a writer.
Ten Things I’ve Learned from Being a Writer
It happened…well, let’s just say it was a few years back. My sister, Pam, co-author of our Ellie Campbell novels, was having a peaceful breakfast with her family when a postcard decorated with scarlet lipstick dropped through the letterbox. Surprisingly, the sender, La La, was proclaiming impassioned love for Pam’s husband. Below you can read how it appears in our novel, Looking For La La. (What, us waste a great piece of material like that? Never! Particularly when this La La was clearly up to no good.)
“Not a sound is heard as it lands silently on the mat. No drums rolls, crashing thunder, shafts of light. The walls don’t start crumbling, the ground doesn’t vibrate with terrifying tremors and a yawning fissure fails to zigzag across the kitchen floor and separate my husband from his breakfast marmalade.
In short, I’ve no clue as to the impact it’ll have on our lives. Mayhem. Marital breakdown. Murder. It should at least have been written in blood or come in the beak of a dark-winged raven.
It is a postcard. “Love from London” blazoned above a giant pair of pouting lips kissing a cherry-red heart.
At first sight it appears to be one of those “Please Come to Our Rave” flyers which get thrust through my door periodically. Now the chances of me, a world-weary, put-upon mother-of-two, going to a rave are slim to none, but heck it’s nice to be invited.
I turn it over.
Dearest, sweetest Declan – it begins. My eyes widen as I take in the blue spidery handwriting and race to the signature. ‘Love from La La.’”
We never found out who sent the card, Pam’s husband claiming innocence of the whole affair. (More accurately that there was no affair.) Knowing her hubbie – and his friends’ questionable sense of humour – she wisely chose to believe him. It could have been end of story if we hadn’t used it to inspire our third Ellie Campbell novel. In it bored housewife, Cathy Rogers, goes slightly crazy searching for the identity of La La and discovering everyone around her is concealing secrets… including an alluring romantic admirer and a deadly opponent.
I guess we’ve learned that in life sometimes your gifts come in disguise. Which made me think of other important things I’ve learned from my journey down the author path. Here are just 10.
1. Writing is cheaper than therapy. And a lot more productive.
2. You will see countless pairs of reading glasses scattered around your house until the moment you actually need them.
3. Never forward an email chain to your publisher, agent, or person of influence, without checking for rude or personal comments further down the page.
4. Don’t send out anything in writing, be it angry email or lyrical piece of prose, until you’ve had a night to sober up and read it again in the cold harsh light of day.
5. Procrastination is an underappreciated art. Also known as ‘the creative pause.’
6. Google is specifically designed to suck all the productivity out of a working day.
7. Everything you take in, from childhood on, will leak out someday onto the printed page.
8. Don’t share your friends’ intimate confidences with the world. Unless you have an endless supply of friends.
9. The instant you’re faced with a computer screen and a deadline, you’ll be filled with an urgent desire to fold laundry and polish that ancient silver teapot you inherited and will never use.
10. Always disguise your sources. Unless it’s La La and then it’s open season.