It starts as a trip to paradise. Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white sand beaches. Yet three days after her arrival, she is caught in Bali’s infamous nightclub bombings, which irreparably change her life and leave her with many unanswered questions.
One year later, haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Most of all, she hopes to find Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks. She hasn’t been able to forget his kindness – or the spark between them as he helped her heal. Checking into a cosy guest house for her stay, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who improbably becomes crucial to her search. Jamie has never shied away from a challenge, but a second chance with Gabe presents her with the biggest dilemma of all: whether she’s ready to open her heart.
Praise for French Lessons:
‘A wonderfully warm and sexy book … we loved it!’ Bella.
‘A delightful novel, full of joie de vivre’. Women and Home.
My best friend just read The Paradise Guest House, my latest novel. “Jamie’s just like you,” she said.
I was floored. Jamie’s nothing like me. Jamie’s the young woman I wish I were when I was in my late twenties. She’s daring, independent, tough, vulnerable, and a little bit reckless. She travels the world for her job. She summits mountains, rafts class 5 rivers, heads fearlessly into new cities.
When I was in my twenties I had a job and a husband and I had not yet traveled the world.
So when I invented Jamie I gave myself a chance to create the alternative version of myself. Jamie knows the right thing to say to a guy – I was the kind of young woman who would come up with the good response a day later! Jamie says yes to all adventure – I was a little too responsible, a little too frightened of the world beyond my scope. I think that being a guide for an adventure travel company would be one of the best jobs a twenty-something could have. So Jamie got the job. I taught school instead.
What similarities did my friend see in me and my invention? Now, years later, I do travel the world. I am gutsy. I am independent. I’m even a little reckless. But back in my twenties, I was not yet ready for prime time. I could only have dreamed of the things that Jamie gets to do.
It’s a funny life we writers have. We create characters out of thin air – or we find them inside ourselves, tucked away, just waiting to emerge.
A BIG thank you to Ellen for her wonderful guest post! You can check The Paradise Guest House out on Goodreads here. I adored French Lessons (you can see my review here), and I can’t wait to get stuck into The Paradise Guest House – I’m just a bit behind at the moment. -Carly