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Five things that inspired my book by Catherine Bennetto
2016/11/18  |  By:   |  Features  |  

How Not To Fall In Love, Actually is my first novel. It’s about love in all its shades of grey (not in the ‘whip me now’ sense – if you’re looking for that you’re going to be sincerely let down) and family, with all the affection/recipe demanding/comments on weight that come along with one such as the main character’s.

Five things that inspired the story:

 1) Love.
The relationship in my novel develops during an unconventional time. They meet while Emma is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby. And even though I love a good romp I wanted to see how a romantic comedy would fare without the ‘he threw me over the counter and had his wicked way with me while the contents of the fruit bowl tumbled to the floor.’ But don’t worry, if this absence of fruit maltreatment is making you think ‘No sex? No moments of urgent shirt ripping or button popping? Not interested lady.’ – there is and there are. And no produce is harmed.

2) Family.
Sisters mainly. And I’m lucky enough to have two. At present the WhatsApp chat topics are: the suspect clothing choices of my youngest sister’s new amour, the fact we can sometimes hear our neighbours fart and a competition over who can be more vegan (a phase we’re going through).

3) TV.
When you work in an industry where you talk seriously and routinely about when to slip on the fake willies, where to place the severed leg, or you ring and request 4 doctors, 3 gang members and 2 amputees in a perfunctory manner like you would a Friday night curry, it is endlessly inspiring. I wanted to show that the behind the scenes reality is far from a glamorous industry. Locations can range from a Caribbean beach (yay!) to a council estate in South London (less yay).

4) Pregnancy.
It isn’t all cute maternity wear, lusty busts and naturally flushed cheeks. It can be a difficult, ugly time which requires a strict pee schedule and limited water intake if you ever need to tackle the London tube system.

5) Crazy old people.
I love old people. My grandmother was one and she was super cool. She was at that stage of life where she gave not one fig what other people thought of her. I’ve always coveted that freedom of action so I made my older character, Harriet, even freer with her behaviour and she’s ended up being one of my favourites.

Disclaimer: If you do read my novel (thank you very much) you might notice that I’ve dedicated the book to my grandmother, Helen. And then you’ll come across a rather ‘loose’ character named Helen. Loose Helen is in no way a reflection of my grandmother’s persona. As far as I know…

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