My top 5 writing influences by Lisa Dickenson – Guest Post

Today I’m pleased to welcome Lisa Dickenson to the blog. Lisa is the author of The Twelve Dates of Christmas, Catch Me If You Cannes and Mistletoe on 34th Street. Her serialised ebook You Had Me at Merlot was published as a paperback complete novel by Sphere on 16 June 2016.

Lisa has written about her writing influences. You can read my review of the funny and heart-warming You Had Me at Merlot here.

My Top 5 Writing Influences

1.       Places – I love writing stories in different locations, so as I start to fall in love with a new corner of the world, ideas start forming in my mind.  It’s a way to keep me going back there, I guess!  So places are a big influence in my writing, as they’re often how my story is born.

2.       TV – I don’t tend to read a lot while I’m writing the first draft of a new book, as I don’t want to copy the style of the book I’m reading, but TV helps focus my mind.  If I’m having a bit of a block, watching my favourite comedy shows gets me in the right headspace.

3.       Jackie Collins – I may not write much like Jackie Collins, but she’s always been a big inspiration and influence for me.  Before I signed my first book deal, whenever I needed a bit of motivation to carry on with writing I’d listen to ‘meet the author’-style podcasts with Ms Collins (being such a star, there are lots out there).  Her soothing voice, confident messages and incredible work ethic always influenced me to turn back to the laptop and carry on.

4.       Conversations – Sometimes the smallest snippets of funny conversation in real life can influence a whole scene in a book.  For example, I was recently hanging out with good friends and one was describing in all earnestness how boobs feel when breastfeeding, but how she compared it was the funniest thing, and I know exactly how it’s going to fit into the next book.

5.       Rooms and buildings – along with larger locations, like cities, counties or countries – a simple room or building can stimulate all sorts of ideas.  Who lives here?  What is this room for?  Could romance happen behind that window?  What secrets are in there?

About the book


“Romantic, funny and wine-fuelled, You Had Me at Merlot will have you crying with laughter one moment and nodding your head in agreement the next. Perfect for fans of Giovanna Fletcher, Paige Toon and Mhairi McFarlane.

Elle and Laurie are the last ones standing: they’re single, they’re not having babies any time soon and their weekends aren’t filled with joyful meetings about mortgages. For Elle, this is fine. She likes her independent life, but Laurie wants love and she wants it now.

So when Laurie begs Elle to come with her on a singles holiday to a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany, Elle is reluctant. She has no intention of swapping her perfectly lovely life for someone else’s idea of her Mr Perfect, but ten days under the Italian sun with her best friend and lashings of wine? How bad could that be?

Full of sultry summer nights, hilarious moments and plenty of adventure, You Had Me at Merlot will warm even the most cynical of hearts and have you believing in the magic of romance (and the power of a decent glass of wine).”

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