WIP Me Inspired
Sara Donovan

Love By Numbers follows the struggles of career girl, April, as she tries to transfer her man-crush on an unavailable co-worker, Ryan, to her ‘just friends’ bestie, Nathan. Her experiment involves subjecting herself and Nathan to romantic and sexy experiences known to trigger the brain’s natural ‘love drugs’.

I was inspired to write the story after reading “The Brain That Changes Itself” – a non-fiction book about how ‘re-trainable’ the brain really is. This led to a lot of reading about the ‘brain in love’, and resulted in the Seven Steps – a list of seven experiences that can significantly increase the chances of falling in love and lust with someone you choose (so long as you’re not turned off by them in the first place).

  1. Get emotional while watching a movie
  2. Share a major adrenaline rush
  3. Be competent at something cool, but don’t make a big deal out of it
  4. Have him provide food from the hunt (a good restaurant will do)
  5. Eye-gaze until it doesn’t feel weird
  6. Fulfil each other’s primal fantasies within reason and without judgment
  7. Sleep together like stacked spoons

But it wasn’t just the fun and games of April and her bestie following the Seven Steps to fall in love that fascinated me. I also wanted to explore April’s journey as she deliberately tried to fall out of love with Ryan by kicking him off the pedestal she’d put him on – something that turns out to be much harder than just making a list of his fatal flaws.

For me, it was this psychological angle of the story line that interested me the most and was inspired by the work of many wonderful teachers on the subject of attracting an equal partner (Katherine Woodward Thomas and Patricia Albere to name a couple).

The most magical experience for me when writing Love By Numbers was discovering underlying themes and symbols popping up without me planning them – the condom box with Ryan’s name on it, the various strategies characters employ to over-control their emotions and the dilemma of whether you can trust your strong feelings, all kept showing up unexpectedly as I typed. It’s such a buzz when your fingers know what’s happening in a story before you do!

My book had a wonderful launch early July, thanks to the support of not only my favourite publisher, HarperCollins (such a buzz to be in partnership with them), but also because of the support of the online book stores. Love By Numbers debuted at #133 and made it to the top 50 on iBooks, was listed on Kobo’s Best Reads of July and was also featured heavily on Google Play. I couldn’t have hoped for a better kick off.

My most meaningful experience since being published has been meeting readers who’ve not only enjoyed my book, but who have also learnt something about handling perplexing infatuations because of the story. That floats my boat as much as the joy of writing.

The book I’m now writing is about a female film maker, who is being pursued by her long term nemesis (the cameraman) while she pursues the guy at the centre of her documentary – a polyamorous social activist. My story explores different approaches to monogamy, the concept of ‘unlearning’ jealousy and also how difficult and rewarding relationships with your “polar opposite” can be.



About the Author:
My dream job when I was fifteen was scriptwriting for TV or film, only I was a writing wimp. A few bad marks for English essays and I pursued a career in science instead of creative writing.

It took a few decades of writing non-fiction in my day job while living an accidental romantic comedy life before I was willing to manage the uncertainty and give my creative writing dream a go – and I’m so glad I did! Writing Love By Numbers, (a romantic comedy about love, lust and neuroscience), was one of the most fun things I’ve done.

It’s being digitally published by HarperCollins digital brand, HarperImpulse on July 1st, 2014.

In my day job, I run a small and busy Learning and Development Consultancy in Sydney, Australia, where I write and teach neuroscience and communication programs to very smart and talented clients.

My greatest blessing is my wonderfully supportive and inspiring family – my personal superhero husband, my two amazing children, three wonderful step children and my love-addicted dog.



Find Sara online:



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