Although there’ll be a lot less travelling this World Tourism Day, we still want to help our readers reach exotic locations between the pages of a good book! Read on to find out how Michelle Douglas was inspired by a trip to Singapore last year to write her new True Love book, Singapore Fling with the Millionaire.
Every book has a different evolution. Some take a long time to emerge while others arrive overnight with a thunderclap and a flash of lightning. In July last year (2019) my ideas-well had run particularly dry. I’d recently submitted my PhD and it felt as if every brain cell had been sacrificed on the altar of that enterprise.
I had a couple of the tiny ideas for stories, mere fragments, but nothing that fizzed and popped…nothing that made my writer’s heart beat harder and faster. And I needed to start a new book in August!
When I had an opportunity to spend a few days in Singapore I leapt at the chance, and in true ostrich fashion I decided to put all thoughts of writing out of my head for the duration of my stay.
Prior to this trip all of my travel aspirations had been centred on Europe, but Europe is an insanely long flight from Australia while Singapore is a mere eight hours. Which made it an entirely different proposition as a short-stay holiday destination. Bearing all of this in mind, it meant I had very little idea of what to expect of Singapore.
From the moment I stepped off the plane, though, Singapore exceeded my every expectation. And I mean that literally as the airport itself is amazing—the tropical forest garden that spans five storeys and has the tallest indoor waterfall in the world is breathtaking. We hadn’t even reached the city centre in our taxi before I knew I had to set a story there (uh huh, the ostrich thing didn’t work for too long).
I arrived on the 11th of July and this is a snippet I wrote in my travel diary two day’s later on the 13th: “Over drinks in our club lounge we were playing around with ideas for a romance set in Singapore—and I woke with an idea and have written 4 pages of notes—will be such a fun story to write.”
My ideas-well had started to fill up.
Christy and Jamie didn’t fall onto the page fully formed, but it only took a few days of playing the what-if game for them to come to life. What if my hero was the CEO of an iconic fashion brand? What if he was opening a new flagship store in Orchard Road? What if my heroine was a designer who makes amazing beach accessories? What if she has a social conscience and her company is known for its ethically sustainable practises…and his is not?
What if she needs to sell and he needs to buy, but she refuses to sell to a company that has such an appalling record on issues of social equity? What if he’ll do anything to prove himself and change her mind?
The more I explored Singapore, the more the story in my mind emerged and developed. I started to visualise scenes on the rooftop terrace of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. I could see my heroine and hero standing in front of the Merlion, their mouths dropping open as they fell in love with it. I imagined them walking beneath the Supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay, awed by their majesty.
Singapore is an amazing place. Blossoms flourish, the scent of spices drift on the air from the myriad food halls, and with an average temperature of 32C it’s always summer. All of this colour and warmth transported me to a place that felt magical and full of promise. This book would never have drawn breath if it weren’t for Singapore. I’m truly grateful I had a chance to visit, and I hope I’ve managed to bring a tiny bit of that magic to life in the pages of my book. I want everyone who reads it to have a chance to experience just a little of the glory that is Singapore.