I have a confession to make. Dear Julia is not original. In fact, many elements of this story have been ‘stolen’ from some of my favourite books. I believe I’ve worked these elements together into a unique story, and in doing so paid tribute to some of the great writers who’ve preceded me.

My heroine, Rosalie, owes her existence to my favourite Georgette Heyer heroine, The Grand Sophy. Sophy is a larger-than-life young woman with an unconventional upbringing. An army brat, raised by a single Dad, she’s spunky, energetic, and resourceful woman who likes to ‘fix’ people. And that’s Rosalie.

Rosalie’s hero, Commander William Cavendish, and his sidekick Peters, have also been directly lifted from a favourite novel, one I read often as a youngster: The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden. In The Diddakoi, a reclusive former navy man lives alone in a big house with his lone man servant, eschewing all contact with women. Their names and stories may have been changed but I’ve always been a little in love with Admiral Twiss, which made it very easy for me to fall in love with Commander Cavendish!

Another favourite Heyer novel, Venetia, provided the inspiration for the closing scene in Dear Julia. Without too many spoilers, the rakish hero of Venetia is drunk when the heroine finally accosts him in his home and declares her love. I can only imagine how Heyer, writing in the demure 1950s, enjoyed writing her sozzled hero, but I can tell you this was the most fun scene in the book for me to write.

Finally, there are odd lines inspired by EM Forster’s Room with a View and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. If you spot them, leave a comment on this blog post telling me what they are, and I’ll send you a free copy of my first novella, Let’s Misbehave.