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A BRIT ON THE SIDE -- a glance behind the scenes

Brenda St John Brown

A BRIT ON THE SIDE is out in the world! I keep saying I loved writing this book and, hopefully, if you're reading/have read it you can tell. It's lower on the angst than my previous books, although I did have one reader tell me she cried at the end. But I'm pretty sure they were happy tears. I mean, with this as my real-life inspiration for Castle Calder, angst was pretty low on the agenda:

Augill Castle

Augill Castle

And Jasper. I've always wanted to write a "hot nerd" type of hero, although my original inspiration for him might have been a bit far on the nerd side. This was one of the original ideas I tossed around for a cover, but feedback was along the lines of, "You know a hot nerd actually has to be hot, right?" 

Jasper. Ish.

I still say he has a certain appeal, but I can understand why he didn't make the cut. Sigh. 

And Bea! Bea isn't a skinny size two. She's a UK 16, which is a US size 12. In other words, she's normal, but she has body-image issues. (Also normal, sadly.) This was a SUPER important part of Bea's character for me and one lots of readers can relate to, I think. Hell, it's one I can relate to. Looking at you, thighs. Do you think I could find a stock photo for Bea? Yes, but only if I search for plus-size models (which makes me all kinds of crazy). I ended up channelling Ashley Graham, but without the body confidence. 

Ashley Graham

Speaking of Ashley Graham, if you haven't read this article in the Huffington Post, it's pretty fab. Also, here's the link to the original Lenny Letter, Graham's letter re body shaming in Lena Dunham's newsletter. Everything I could say on the topic, she says. Better. 

This was the first book I've written set in the UK, even though I've lived here for almost 9 years. I had lots of conversations with friends that started with, "Would you say this?" Hopefully I got it right! I did make sure to include lots of tea. Because, well, I'm not sure you can live in this country and not drink tea.

Last but not least...British summer. According to friends and family, much of the US is sweltering. Not so much here. This is the actual forecast for my little corner of the world for the next week. A high of 64. In August. The hoodie Bea's always wearing -- necessary!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and enjoy the balmy day we're having. :)