Blessings in Disguise – Finding Writing Inspiration and Romance in Unlikely Places

This week fellow Romantic Novelists’ Association member and Yorkshire lass, Rhoda Baxter, is releasing her contemporary romance Girl in Trouble. Rhoda has come up with a brilliant idea to celebrate, which is to ask her friends to write posts all based on the same theme and publish them on the day of release. I love this, and I’m right chuffed to be a part of it (as we say in Yorkshire).

Here’s Rhoda’s theme: In Girls in Trouble, both Olivia and Walter undergo changes that they feel are bad, but end up being positive. Have you ever had a blessing in disguise?

Yes, I’ve had many! Here are some blessings in disguise that turned out to be inspirational – in writing and romance…

When a boring commute provided writing inspiration

One cold and rainy day a few years ago I was sitting on a grimy commuter train, my wet clothes steaming in the fug, thinking I would rather be anywhere else but

helena fairfax, the silk romance
From unlikely beginnings…

here. The carriage was absolutely packed with pale, exhausted commuters, and I was on my way to my job in a factory, to face another day of deadlines, awkward customers and production disasters.

I began daydreaming about where I’d rather be instead. A sunny day in the south of France seemed like a lovely place, and my train of thought took me to Lyon, where I’d once worked as an au pair many years before. From there I started thinking about the silk industry in Lyon, and how much more glamorous I imagined it would be to work there than my own factory. And so from this train of thought my whole book – the setting in Lyon, and the hero and heroine were born. Jean-Luc Olivier is the dashing, hot-blooded former racing driver who now owns a silk mill and Sophie Challoner is the young woman who arrives to take up a job working with him.

Every day from then on my commute became a blessing. I spent the time thinking about my hot hero and my lovely setting, and scribbling down my story in my notebook. The Silk Romance eventually passed through the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme and was published by MuseItUp Publishing.

Out of a boring commute, a novel was born!

Rejection doesn’t mean the end of your dreams

Rejection is one of those things that’s very hard to see as a blessing in disguise at the time it happens. You put your heart and soul and dreams into something – a job interview, or the book you’re writing, or your relationship – only to find your dreams rejected. This is a bitter blow for most of us and very hard to come back from. But one great thing about getting older is that you realise rejection isn’t the end. It’s the beginning of something else. There are many times in my life when rejection has hit me very hard, but now I just think that when rejection happens, it just means is your life is turned in a different direction – and quite often it’s a better direction than the one you’d planned and hoped for.

From a writing point of view, rejection has made me rethink my writing career and it’s ended up being a positive. I’ve made plans that are different to the ones I had a few years ago, and I feel I’m going in a more interesting direction. Other doors have opened for me that would never have opened if I’d been accepted at that first publisher. And I’ve learned a lot, which leads me to the next blessing in disguise.

Rejections can help you get better and stronger
Image courtesy of Pixabay

This blessing in disguise is often a bitter pill to swallow. We’d all love to do everything perfectly every time and never, ever suffer from rejection. But what sort of people would we be if we never suffered a rejection?

I love watching Strictly Come Dancing, and one of the things I love about it is that the judges tailor their comments to the personalities involved. With some celebrities they give a gentle, encouraging critique, and with others, they tell them bluntly they didn’t perform well and they know they can do better. I’ve noticed quite often it’s sporting personalities who respond well to the blunt criticism. They become absolutely determined to prove these judges wrong, and they work harder. These are the sort of people who succeed, and I really admire them.

If I have a manuscript rejected, I try to follow this example. I accept any critique – no matter how blunt – and I become determined to make that book better. If no one had ever rejected my books, I would never have thought so long and hard about how to improve my writing.

Sometimes your best relationship can come from unlikely beginnings

When my husband and I first got to know each other I can’t say we hit it off immediately. It wasn’t love at first sight. We worked in the same factory, and we worked together because we had to, and not because we loved each other’s company. I suspected he thought I was all lah-di-dah, and I thought he was a grump. We did a lot of glowering.

One night there was a do for my husband at work and afterwards we all went to the pub. Everybody else had to leave early and one by one they left. I could tell my husband was disappointed. I felt for him. Even though he was a grump, he’d worked there a long time and it wasn’t good his friends couldn’t take the time to celebrate. I bought him a drink. We played a game of bar football in which we both tried to show our superiority. (He likes to remind me he won.)  I began to think perhaps he wasn’t such a grump. He began to think maybe I wasn’t quite so lah-di-dah. If anyone had told either of us when we first started working together that one day we’d be married and we’d be married for years, we’d have thought they were absolutely crazy.

So, I asked my husband to name a blessing in disguise, and he said that evening when all his friends left him… :)


Thanks very much to Rhoda for inviting me to be part of her release. I’m really looking forward to finding out how Olivia and Walter discover their own blessings in disguise! :)

Here is the blurb to Girl in Trouble

Girl In Trouble:
Grown up tomboy Olivia doesn’t need a man to complete her. Judging by her absent father, men aren’t that reliable anyway. She’s got a successful career, good friends and can evict spiders from the bath herself, so she doesn’t need to settle down, thanks.
Walter’s ex is moving his daughter to America and Walter feels like he’s losing his family. When his friend-with-benefits, Olivia, discovers she’s pregnant by her douchebag ex, Walter sees the perfect chance to be part of a family with a woman he loves. But how can Walter persuade the most independent woman he’s ever met to accept his help, let alone his heart?
Girl In Trouble is the third book in the award-nominated Smart Girls series by Rhoda Baxter. If you like charming heroes, alpha heroines and sparkling dialogue, you’ll love this series. Ideal for fans of Sarah Morgan, Lindsey Kelk or Meg Cabot’s Boy books. Buy now and meet your new favourite heroine today.
Buy link (should go to your preferred bookstore)
* * *
Have you ever suffered a disappointing rejection? Have you found inspiration in an unlikely place? Or romance…? :)
If you have any blessings in disguise to share, I’d love to hear them!
And best of luck with release, Rhoda!

2 thoughts on “Blessings in Disguise – Finding Writing Inspiration and Romance in Unlikely Places

  1. I think the most amazing story I have regarding inspiration is the time I got grabbed (psychologically, anyway) by a Drusilla (from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) desperate for her story to be completed, while I was on a train heading into the West Highlands in January 2009…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think train journeys are great for inspiration, James. JK Rowling was apparently hit with the inspiration for the Harry Potter books while stuck on a train. Did anyone ever find inspiration while driving a car, I wonder? Would be interesting to know.
    Thanks for your great comment!


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