This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Sunlounger 2 hit the shelves at the end of last month featuring 44 sun-kissed short stories from some of the hottest authors in women’s fiction – including our very own Rosie Blake, Poppy Dolan and Novelicious contributor Cressida McLaughlin. Comprised of delicious bite-sized women’s fiction chunks, this book is the perfect little volume to keep stashed in your handbag for long lunch breaks in the park, or your very own sunlounger sabbatical somewhere exotic.
We’re feeling pretty lucky to have ten of the Sunlounger 2 authors with us this month, sharing the inspiration and gorgeous locations behind their stories as well as their top summer songs, which are sure to you in the mood for the season. Welcome, ladies!
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My Sunlounger 2 short story – The Wrong Suitcase – is set in the South of France. My children have already been told that the minute they’re packed off to university Mummy is running away there. I LOVE the South of France. I first went as a little girl with my parents and my sister and there’s nowhere else I love more – the weather, the beaches, the glamour, the people, the patisseries, the fashion! I plan to get an apartment somewhere on the coast between Monaco and St Tropez – I can’t decide between Nice or Antibes at the moment (but my son is only seven so I have plenty of time to make up my mind). I’m going to have a balcony with a sea view, a ridiculously small dog, a ridiculously large wardrobe full of chiffon kaftans, silk head scarves and jewelled sandals. And, as I grow old disgracefully, I may also have a facelift and a tomboy.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Blondie Island of Lost Souls. My best friend Laura and I played it on loop in St Barts. (The setting for my first Sunlounger story – The Honeymoon Crashers.)
My Sunlounger 2 short story – Hinterland – is set in Indonesia. I chose Lombok, which is the island next to Bali. I knew it was going to be a story that largely took place in the protagonist’s head and so I wanted her internal restlessness to contrast with the apparent peacefulness of the setting. Also, I had a pretty disastrous holiday there with an ex-boyfriend many years ago and so the idea of a relationship quietly imploding against the idyllic backdrop really appealed.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: It’s a song by 4Hero – I don’t even know the name of it because it’s in my iTunes as ‘Track 4’ for some unknown reason. But I’ve listened to it on countless road trips – including my honeymoon driving around Patagonia – and it always makes me think of being in cars with the windows down and the sun shining on long, clear roads under blue, cloudless skies – perfection.
My Sunlounger 2 short story – A Singapore Fling – is set in Singapore! The real-life story behind the reason I wanted to set it there is so barking that people will think it is fiction so let’s just sum it up in a sentence and I can TOTES spill all if you buy me a Singapore Sling: In July 2013 I found myself midst rendition of 2 become 1 in the karaoke room of the largest suite in the Marine Bay Sands Hotel with three vocally-challenged men being told off by David Beckham. I remember three things about this experience: 1) I am an EXCEPTIONAL singer and pretty wasted talent so should probably pursue a new career as one fifth of a Spice Girl tribute act. 2) The views from floor to ceiling windows in the suite showed the entire city of Singapore stretched out before us. 3) DAVID BECKHAM WAS THERE.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: The entire Beach Boys Collection gets me singing along and KNOWING summer has arrived. (Normally just in my head as it is, naturally, raining outside).
My Sunlounger 2 short story – A Costume Drama – had to be set in Orlando, Florida since my story is based on the romantic lives of the people inside the the costume characters that parade every day at the theme parks. I used to work for Alton Towers and was lucky enough to blag a few work trips to Orlando to check out what was going on. I’ve been behind the scenes and I find it fascinating that there is this whole other secret world going on that the public never sees…hence my story!
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: World in Motion by New Order. Big football songs always remind me of glorious summers spent having our hearts broken by footballers!
My Sunlounger 2 short story – The Party Boat – is set in Dubrovnik. I chose Croatia because I have been on a cruise holiday myself and I fell in love with the country. I also thought setting it on a party boat would be very interesting!
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Life by Des’ree
My Sunlounger 2 short story – Connecting Flights – in set in San Sebastián – it’s in the Basque region of Spain. I went there once on holiday and fell in love – the food and scenery and culture are just gorgeous. AND I saw Mick Hucknall there. Fact.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Boys of Summer by Don Henley. Makes me feel like I’m a convertible with my sunglasses on, even if I’m in my Micra and stuck in grotty traffic.
My Sunlounger 2 short story – You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – is set in Venice. I chose that setting because to me Venice is the most romantic place in the world and I wondered what it would be like to be there with someone who was totally impervious to its charms. I’m so glad my partner loved it when we went last year!
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Len – Steal my Sunshine
My Sunlounger 2 short story – Earth, Wind, Fire & Air – is set in Frangokastello – a small seaside village on the south coast of Crete. I went there for the first time last year. It has a castle on the edge of the beach and towering mountains behind. We had lunch in a taverna that looked out over the sparkling blue ocean. It was a magical place and, as I discovered later, has its own ghost story.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Drops of Jupiter by Train. It was playing constantly when I was in Sydney over one Christmas and New Year (their summer). It transports me back to sunshine and fireworks and sitting on the beach watching the sun come up.
My Sunlounger 2 short story – Dreams of Pushkar – is set in India. It’s s a country I’ve visited many times and one which I find completely and utterly magical. I’ve travelled widely but there is nowhere quite like India. Stunning landscapes, delicious food, amazing history… India has it all and much more. Recently I spent a month travelling across Rajasthan, the Land of the Kings, and my experiences there inspired my latest book, The Love Detective. Pushkar, the setting for this short story, is a town which will forever have a special place in my heart as I met some wonderful people there and made many special friends.
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: Learning to Fly, by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I only have to hear that song and I’m transported back to an idyllic summer spent travelling in Indonesia. I remember listening to it on my ipod as we caught a little boat to a small island, feeling the spray of saltwater, the sunshine, and so gloriously free and happy I could burst.
My Sunlounger 2 short story – The First Last Dive – is set in Grand Cayman. One bleak January day, the kind when the wind is howling and the rain blowing horizontally down the street, I made the fatal mistake of searching for teaching jobs in the Caribbean. As you do! Within minutes I had found a vacancy at a school in beautiful Grand Cayman and, a couple of Google clicks later, I was looking at icing sugar sand beaches, gin clear blue sea and the sort of golden sunshine I could only dream about during an English winter. One application, several flights and five thousand miles later, and here I am living in the wonderful Caribbean. Life truly can be stranger than fiction. Setting my Sunlounger 2 story here was a no brainer and I enjoyed writing every word. The dive hotel, the sea and the intense heat in Tess’s story is now a part of my story too. Watch this space for my summer novella, The Little Caribbean Cafe, set on Cayman!
Song that gives me that Summertime Feeling: School’s Out for Summer by Alice Cooper. I’m a teacher – enough said!
Sunlounger 2 is out now.