Friday, 22 May 2015

What Inspired Your Story? by Sophie Claire

I must confess that when I wrote Her Forget-Me-Not Ex I was reminiscing very nostalgically about my childhood summers spent in Provence at my grandparents' house. Not so much the place, though it's still very special to me, but the atmosphere. Let me explain.

My mother is French and every year at the end of July we used to pack up the car and make the two-day journey to the south of France and the house that Mum had known since she was a little girl. It must have been an emotional time for her because she didn't get to see her family during the rest of the year (air travel was expensive back then), and the main method of keeping in touch with my grandparents was by letter – handwritten and posted in air mail envelopes. My grandmother used to write to my mum, my sister and me individually every week, so despite the distance I felt very close to her and I loved the long summers we spent at her house. They were such special times that, come the month of August, I always find myself reminiscing, even now years later.

Although my family didn’t own a vineyard (I wish!) like Luc Duval, the hero in my novel, I have wonderful memories of sunshine and trips to the beach and delicious meals that stretched for hours with my extended family all around the table. With the wine flowing and everyone in holiday mode, there would be lots of stories told and joking and banter. It is a very special feeling to be surrounded by so many people who love you and have known you since you were born…

I drew on these memories when I wrote about Luc's large and noisy family in Her Forget-Me-Not Ex and it wasn't difficult to make my heroine, Natasha, wish she belonged at Chateau Duval. Natasha doesn’t have any family of her own, so she’s particularly envious of Luc’s loving family, and her feelings are made all the more complicated by the fact that she’s there under false pretences. As welcoming as the Duvals might be, she knows she doesn’t belong in this place that’s filled with children’s laughter, where there’s always someone who could use her help, and where the beautiful house and garden are enfused with centuries of tradition. At the end of the two weeks, she and Luc know she will leave and return to England.
But I'll leave it for you to find out what happens when she faces that dilemma...

Has a place inspired you?
How did you spend your childhood summers?
Leave a comment and you could win a free Kindle copy of Her Forget-Me-Not Ex!


Her Forget-Me-Not Ex is out now and available in paperback and e-book:
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

You can find out about forthcoming giveaways and news on Sophie Claire's Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Looking so forward to reading this Sophie. I just love the south of France too.
    Lets hope romance blossoms?

  2. Thanks for sharing your inspiration for a book I'm looking forward to reading. Like you, I spent childhood summers at my grandparents' house. That small Canadian town was a place of magic, and it's the place which still inspires me, and where I feel truly 'me.'

  3. I spent my summers at my aunts house on the Isle of Wight. We used to walk to the station then catch the ferry over to the island then a bus across to the village she lived in. We spent days on the beach, in the sea catching crabs one of my special memories is of the tall ships race round the island sitting on the beach looking at the silhouette of one of the ships against the red and orange of the sky at sunset.

    1. What a vivid description, Teresa. Must have been beautiful.

  4. I used to spend summers with my grandmother in a small seaside town in Suffolk. She used to take me for country walks as well as down to the sea front. Golden memories...

    1. Sounds lovely Annie. LIke you, I treasure the memories too.x

  5. Hi Johanna, Just wanted to say I have just finished Her Forget-Me-Not Ex.I really enjoyed it.I found it a real page turner.

  6. The winner of the giveaway is Teresa Starr! Teresa, please email me at and I'll arrange for your free Kindle copy to be sent to you. Congratulations!


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