Another year, another book… by Paige Toon
Another year, another book, except that this time around, something feels different… The One We Fell in Love with is my tenth women’s fiction book and this is my tenth year of doing my dream job – I still pinch myself, I honestly do.
But The One We Fell in Love With feels different in other respects, too. This is the first time I have written from the perspective of three very different women, so it was a challenge to give each girl a unique voice and to make her stand out from the others.
There’s Phoebe, who is adventurous and free-spirited and who likes to climb mountains for fun.
There’s Eliza, an aspiring singer-songwriter, who, at twenty-seven, is still busking and waitressing to pay her rent.
And then there’s Rose, a nurse, who gives up her job to move home and look after her mother, later going to work in a bakery.
Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than climbing a mountain, but there was something quite thrilling about being inside Phoebe’s head and learning to appreciate what made her tick. I had to read a lot of rock climbing books and watch several films and I can tell you all about belaying and bouldering now, but you’re a hell of a long way off from finding me up your local climbing wall.
But as terrifying as the thought is of climbing one, the mountains do inspire me. Phoebe’s part of the story really came together in my mind in the summer of 2014 when my family and I went on holiday to Chamonix in the French Alps. Sitting on the balcony of our apartment with the mountains as a backdrop was absolutely breathtaking and I hope I manage to transport the reader to that same place with my writing.
However much of Phoebe’s story also takes place at the top of the Aiguille du Midi, a mountain almost 4,000 metres above sea level and not that far from Mont Blanc (unless you’re walking there, in which case, I imagine it feels pretty far away indeed). Phoebe works on the Aiguille du Midi cable car, and the first time I went on it with my family, I was as excited as my two small children. But we kept on climbing, up and up and up, and suddenly we were breaking through the clouds and the climb became almost vertical with a sheer rock face right in front of us. I’ve got to tell you, I started to feel a little terrified.
The scale of things up there was incredible and the scenery was out of this world, but I was so nervous walking along the walkways, while my two small children hopped and skipped around happily. We went into an ice cave and up ahead there were people stepping out through a barrier onto a ridiculously narrow ridge, trudging through a white blanket of summertime snow with steep drops to either side of them. I have to say, I was questioning their sanity.
I wish I’d felt as at ease as Phoebe does on that mountain – I certainly respect her for it – but in truth, I’m probably more like Rose these days. The research for Rose’s part of the story involved watching a local micro-baker at work, and I really do have a new appreciation for the skill involved in making artisan bread.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of The One We Fell in Love With. The One is Angus, by the way, but there’s so much more to this story than three women who all have ties to the same man. I hope to surprise you quite a bit with this one…
I’ve dedicated this book, not only to my brilliant editor of ten years, Suzanne Baboneau, but to you – my lovely readers, old and new, to say thank you for being so enthusiastic about my books. I can’t wait to hear what you think, so please do seek me out and tell me!