Friday, August 03, 2007

Daydreaming over the Housework......

Writers are always being asked where they get their ideas from. This came up recently concerning The Belles Dames Club so I thought I would share it with you.

The first germ of the idea for the book came from doing the ironing! I find this such a chore that I have to watch TV at the same time, and by chance it was a programme about a stately home and its owners. One of the portraits in the house showed a gentleman with a squirrel climbing on his sleeve and the narrator exlained that the gentleman was member of a club set up in the early 18th century called The Honourable Order of Little Bedlam. Tts members were leading figures of the day, including the Duke of Devonshire, the Earl of Exeter, Sir Godfrey Kneller etc. Each member of the club took the title of an animal and their portrait was painted with the animal included. The legend goes that the animal titles were supposed to protect the member's anonymity! This started me thinking that ladies probably set up little societies of their own, and the idea began to grow in my mind until I had created a secret club for ladies where they could let their hair down and experience some of the freedoms enjoyed by their male counterparts. I decided to set the club at the end of the eighteenth century and then I let my ladies have their heads: they learned the secrets of the gaming hells, helped each other out of tight spots and also indulged in watching a spot of naked wrestling!

The Belles Dames Club was great fun to write and the characters seemed to dictate just what would happen. So, I suppose you argue that the idea came originally from the ironing (although it is still not a favourite chore!)

Melinda Hammond


Joanna Maitland said...

Just dropping by to say that I read The Belles Dames Club last week and really enjoyed it.

The plot is very cleverly woven with some excellent and surprising twists. I loved some of the situations, like the wrestlers in a lady's drawing room. What a picture that conjures up! There are some other very funny episodes, but I shan't indulge in spoilers by saying what they are. I couldn't imagine how Melinda was going to resolve some of them until she'd done it so I had to keep turning the pages to find out, and laughing as I did.

The Belles Dames Club is exactly how a romantic comedy should be. And it all comes to a very satisfying ending. Lovely.


Gillian said...

How excellent. I can't wait to read this one.