"Five years ago, you would have called me the luckiest lady in Lucky Land. I was living three cartwheels away from the edge of Bondi Beach, with a ‘right hottie’ (quote, unquote) and writing all sorts of sordid nonsense for Cosmo magazine, Down Under, where I worked as their Features Editor. There was only one problem…I felt like I’d had a lobotomy. Starved of culture, good conversation and lively debate on anything other than low carbs v low sugar I sat down at my computer, determined to keep my brain sharp, and filed 700 words of what would be 92,000 of Bondi Blonde.
Cut to a year later and my life in the Zen lane took a swerve. I left the hottie, bringing my tan, and a gazillion pairs of Havianas, back to London, on the grounds that I couldn’t sign up for marriage and kids 23 hours and £1,200 of air travel from everyone else I loved in this world.
65,000 words were now under my very much tightened belt (that’s what endless beach runs, Bikram yoga and a body fascist boyfriend does for a girl) and I was stuck, unable to end in fiction what has taken such a turn in reality.
May 2010, I decided that I really wanted to revisit Cannes Film Festival so I pitched the following feature to the Daily Mail: ‘Can you get your film green-lit in 48 hours’ and the very clever Commissioning Ed told me to dry clean my best red carpet frock and go get ‘em. After some schmoozing at the British Film Pavilion, I invited Paul Brett, of Prescience Film Finance (co-producers of The King’s Speech), to see if he could eat £300 worth of lobster on the Daily Mail expense account. Fortunately, his appetite didn’t stretch beyond a Tuna Nicoise, and around our third wine, he challenged me to give him my best 30-second elevator pitch on the fictional film I had come there to finance.
My neurons perked up at this stage and fought the effects of the alcohol to come up with the Grand Plan: ‘Why not pitch the plot to your book, ya great drongo?’ And this is where the story really hots up. I will paraphrase here, but the general response was, ‘by golly I LOVE it,’ at which point I was whisked to the Australian Film Commission to regale said plot to the big cheese there, and for the subsequent 48 hours, I survived on a diet of bubbles and optimism.
But first things first: I had to finish the thing. So, summer 2010 was a blur of power-writing, fuelled on midnight snacks and encouraging emails from Paul, which were the equivalent of him waving poms poms at me from the top of a human pyramid.
After 20 years of writing the call came, and from Sheila herself…would I like her to represent me? Does the Queen like jewels? ‘Of course!’ Sheila was, and is, everything an author could dream up in their fervid imagination re the kind of glamorous, nurturing, terrifyingly smart expert/friend you long for in this process. Long may she reign.
Initially, we got half a dozen rejections, and some bang-on notes, from her A-list of editors at the big publishers. So, I went away and revised my latest draft to incorporate some of those suggestions, took some nail scissors to chapters and pruned it into a slicker shape, and decided to e-publish myself as a sort of dummy run to show publishers what the public think.
Luckily, Bondi Blondes around the world have bought the book to bring some candy to their Kindle and rad to their iPad and I hope that even more readers get to experience Bondi Beach the way I did. It’s an antipodeanly hot, LOL, read that explores some darker body issues along the way, so I do think it’s unique among summer romances. But, most of all, I hope my real-life story inspires writers to seize the day and know that connections and opportunities might come from the most unexpected of places. The trick is to say, ‘yes’ as much as you can, especially to new adventures."
Bondi Blonde is available from Amazon.co.uk/com.
For more info on Lucille, visit www.lucillehowe.com and www.facebook.com/BondiBlondeTheBook