Meet My Muse with Anna Clifton
My muse is a male. That much I know. For the purposes of this post, I’ll call him Bob.
Bob’s a kind of floaty, nebulous existence in my writing life. Yet despite his floatiness he enjoys nothing more than pushing and shoving me through my WIPs like the mind-controlling slave driver that he is.
The problem I faced when I sat down to write this post was that I knew I couldn’t describe Bob as simply a floaty, nebulous existence in my life. If I did that my post would be seven words long instead of the three hundred plus words it was supposed to be. It was then that I knew I had to dig a little deeper into this whole muse thing.
My digging revealed that muses first came about within some of the greatest minds behind literature, science and the arts that the world has ever known. These Ancient Greek super-humans were nearly all men, I’m sad to say. But women weren’t far from the picture because the inspiration for their super-human advances was Zeus’s nine goddess daughters.
Given that Ancient Greek civilization was charging ahead on a gigantic wave of male testosterone, you might wonder why these super-humans bothered to consult women about what to write, speak, invent, conquer and build. But perhaps they hoped that thinking like a female might take their incorrigibly male brains to new and unexplored levels of enlightenment. I certainly like to think so!
I also like to think that romance writers are the modern day embodiment of Greek super-humans. After all, some serious mental cross-dressing is required if we’re going to have a hope in hell of bringing the opposite sex to life in our books. Yet this gender flipping inside my head is one of my main inspirations to keep writing romance fiction. I actually get to live inside a male brain for a while, or at least try to. And that’s where Bob comes in.
Bob’s a kind of channel that helps me access the male mind. Not that he has an easy time of it. As I said, pushing and shoving me through my WIPs is his favourite pastime. But without Bob I’d be lost because in my last three books it’s my guys who’ve brought the lion’s share of emotional baggage into their relationships with my girls.
For Adam in Adam’s Boys, it’s his belief that he’s responsible for the death of his wife, Ellen, and his regret over the whirlwind affair he had with Abbie just weeks after Ellen died, when his son was just six months old.
For Justin in New Year’s Promise, it’s his conviction that if he and Ellie ever get together he will never be able to give her the one thing she will come to want more than anything else.
And in Portrait of Somer, Harry’s impasse is whether his thirty-something future lies with Freya, the mother of his children, or with a twenty-something Somer who has no idea of the mess she’s gotten herself into by agreeing to nanny his children.
But the bottom line is that I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Writing ‘men’ forces me to look at life from a totally different perspective; I adore that. But without Bob, my cherished muse, wrestling my guys into my stories would be about as easy as quantum physics or assembling an Ikea bookshelf.
Never easy. Then again, I’m pretty sure the only people who’ve ever said that writing romance novels is easy were those who hadn’t actually written one at that point.
New Year’s Promise
They’ve been colleagues, allies and best friends forever, but he wants more — and he’s not above using the magic of the Christmas season to get it.
When Business Development Executive Ellie Halligan is offered the job of a lifetime in Paris, it seems her chance to live a fairytale adventure has finally arrived. Her only hurdle is convincing legal eagle Justin Murphy — her boss and friend since childhood — to wave his boss’s wand and waive her four-week resignation period so that she can start her adventure by Christmas.
But Justin proves to be a demanding fairy godmother. He’ll let her go early, but not unless she spends time with him over the festive season up until New Year.
Ellie doesn’t know what to do. Is Justin finally looking at her romantically after all these years, or are far more threatening dynamics at play? Justin has a secret, and he seems to want to pull her back into a past she’d rather forget. But delving into that old pain might be the only way to move forward — and for Justin to finally be free.
Will doing this for Justin become Ellie’s final gift of love as she loses him forever?
About the Author:
Anna writes contemporary romance novels with a special focus on legal eagles and the modern urban family. Her third novel, New Year’s Promise, is out now and her fourth, Portrait of Somer (Harry’s story), is due for release through Escape Publishing on June 22, 2015.