My new novel: I Want You Back

It’s been a long time between novels – almost 2 years in which life well and truly got in the way. To say that I’ve lost my creative mojo a little (especially this year) would be an understatement – and one that I’ll talk about freely in another post.

The wait, however, is almost over so allow me now to introduce you to Calliope Jones and my new novel I Want You Back.

This story has been in my head since I finished Baby, It’s You. Callie, you see used to go out with Jamie, the bad boy in Baby. While we only see Callie in the shadows in Baby, It’s You, I always knew that I had to tell her story, that she too had something to say. 

Callie though is shy – the most introverted of my characters to date – so I wrote Big Girls Don’t Cry while I waited for Callie’s voice to come through. 

Then, just as I thought I was ready to begin I Want You Back, along came Max Henderson and Wish You Were Here. Callie would need to wait a bit longer. She didn’t seem to be phased by that.

I finally sat down with Callie and her two best friends, Tiffany Samuels and Alice Delaney, in November 2016. (As a side note, we’ve also met Tiff and Alice before too – Tiff appeared briefly in Big Girls Don’t Cry and Alice made a cameo appearance in Baby, It’s You.) I Want You Back would, I decided, be an ensemble piece. 

The problem, I soon discovered, wasn’t that Tiff and Alice had stories they wanted to tell – it was that their voices were louder than Callie’s was. In order to hear Callie, I needed to promise Tiff and Alice their own books. I’ll pause at this point and just say that if you’re a writer you’ll know that this isn’t as weird as it sounds – characters really do have a habit of taking over, especially if, like me, you’re not a plotter.

To be honest, I think I needed to get to know Callie and her motivations before I could really hear her. I also had to get past some pre-conceived ideas I had about her. Once I could see her inner strength and understood her better the words flowed.

Okay, that’s the back story, but what about the book? I took the liberty of asking myself a few questions…

What genre is I Want You Back?

This novel is a chick-lit – or contemporary romance. While it is a stand-alone title it takes place at the same time as Baby, It’s You and Big Girls Don’t Cry and is book no. 3 in my Melbourne Girls series. If you haven’t read Baby, It’s You, you can get it here for just $0.99 USD.

(Book no. 4 in this series – Tiff’s story, Careful What You Wish For – will be published later this year. The links are at the bottom of this post.)

Where did the title come from?

All the novels in this series have their own playlist comprising mostly of super daggy pop songs – my favourite. The inspiration for this one was Bananarama’s “I Want You Back.” The lyrics could have been written for Callie.

And what about the name Calliope? 

Do you remember the movie Xanadu? The one with Olivia Newton-John where the muses all jump out of a mural and come to life in time to a song by ELO? No? That’s okay, the soundtrack was way better than the movie once seen you can never forget ONJ’s really awkward hand over the face awakening thing. 

Anyways, In Greek mythology Calliope was one of the daughters of Zeus and a muse – the chief of all muses – and Callie’s mother was studying Greek mythology when she was born. Her sister Clio is also named after a muse. Thankfully by the time their brother (Angus) came along she’d moved onto family history.

Oh, and a calliope is also an instrument like an organ but with steam whistles and other paraphernalia – like the ones used on showboats. It’s featured in Manfred Man’s “Blinded By The Light” – which is also on the playlist for this novel. (Fun fact – “Blinded By The Light” was actually written by Bruce Springsteen.)

Where’s this story set?

Mostly in Melbourne. Callie lives in Fitzroy and works for a call centre in the CBD. Her family is in Brisbane and we also get to visit the Sunshine Coast. 

What else can you tell us about the story?

It just so happens that the blurb is below…

Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it

Even after he trampled all over her heart, Calliope Jones knows for sure that Jamie Aldridge is the love of her life and she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to win him back. 

But when she impulsively signs up for a belly dancing class, she wasn’t expecting to have her life turned upside down. 

Before long Jamie is back and telling her that he made a mistake in leaving her. Callie knows she should be ecstatic – all her dreams are coming true. 

Then a blast from her past reappears and seems determined to sweep her off her feet. 

Callie knows that she’s way out of her depth. Can she shimmy her way to true love?

I Want You Back will be published on September 30 and is available for pre-order now from Amazon. The link is here.

Careful What You Wish For will be published on November 14 and is also available for pre-order now from Amazon. The link is here.