Today it is my stop on the blog tour and I have been extremely lucky to be able to get a guest post from Ella, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I also have a giveaway at the end of the post, so much sure you enter that!
Every flower tells a story …
From the window of her shop, Blossom and Grow, Lara watches those who’ve bought her flowers head off to face all manner of life-changing occasions.
Bridal posies, anniversary bouquets, surprise deliveries from secret admirers, new-baby bunches – Lara arranges them all. And then there are the sadder occasions – the memorial wreaths, the ‘I’m sorry’ flowers.
No stranger to heartbreak herself, Lara knows that flowers can say more than words ever can. Beneath the twinkly fairylights, surrounded by buckets filled with cooking water and heaving with flowers, customers spill their secrets, the things they want to say, the things they wish they’d said. Lara can always find a way to bring their message to life.
Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy, Ella brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to the comings and goings of a little Irish flower shop.
Were any of your characters based on people you already know?
My characters aren’t really based on anybody in the real world. Though by the time I’ve finished writing a book, they feel as real to me as most of the people I know.
I usually start creating a character with a photograph. Once I have a face, a personality seems to be drawn to it. If I get stuck, I’ll open a blank document and ask one of my characters to tell me a secret. It's amazing what comes out!
Who was your favourite to write about?
Lara, the florist who is at the heart of The Flower Arrangement. I saw her so clearly that I didn’t need to consult the photograph in her file. Tall with narrow shoulders and a dancer’s body. Long dark hair shot through with the first strands of silver. Hands red and raw from stripping thorns from roses. Deep set brown eyes brimming with kindness and a touch of sadness too.
I couldn’t wait to get her down in paper
I always knew that she would be a florist but I didn’t want this to simply be career choice. I needed it to come from her heart. So I worked out her back-story.
When she was twelve, her mother died and flowers played a really important part in helping her to survive the grief. In her early thirties, she lost the baby she was carrying at six months. She was so broken that she couldn’t go back to her job as a graphic designer. And that was when decided to open a flower shop.
She knew that flowers healed her when she was a child who had lost her mother. And she hoped that they would heal her now, when she was a mother who had lost her child.
I loved flowers but I didn’t know the first thing about the reality of being a florist, so I had to do a lot of research.
I lost whole days making Pinterest boards of the bouquets that Lara would arrange. I haunted all of my favourite Dublin flower shops. The florists I met told me so many sad and beautiful stories. Joyful new arrivals, spontaneous proposals, romantic weddings, tragic funerals. The best ones became part of The Flower Arrangement.
The thing that helped me to understand and write Lara's character best was working behind the counter - actually being a florist. Immersing myself in her world. Imagining what she would say to each customer I met, which flowers she would choose for them.
I found out something then I hadn’t known when I first saw Lara in my mind. That she was more than just a florist. That her past pain had made her into a healer who knew intuitively what each customer was feeling. Who could read their emotions and translate them into flowers.