Just like becoming integrated into the Sevillano society, finishing my contemporary romance novel, Falling for Flamenco, has been a long, hard battle. But it’s almost ready for publication. Ole!
It’s been almost five years in the making. Yet again, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to write, so many versions, so many edits, and so much time thinking up the characters and plot. The sequel won’t take so long. In fact, I’ve already written the first draft.
Falling for Flamenco is almost ready for publication. Four close members of my family and a couple of friends have read it, checked it, and one even cried. But if a member of your family gave you a book they’d written, would you be able to criticise it fully? I guess not. This is why I sent it to a professional proofreader, who has done a great job checking grammar and typos. Now all I need is a book cover. I’m planning to self publish again, with a launch date in September.
The main reason I set up this blog, back in 2014, was to create a following for my writing, and also use it as a means to publicise my book. As you can see from my posts, I’ve written about areas which relate to my novel, such as what life is like living in Sevilla, about the city itself, what it’s like being a guiri, and also the way in which the culture has shocked me.
Charlie and Mercedes fall in love at first sight. They both know they do, and can’t do anything to change that hopelessly scary feeling. It happens one evening, in a tablao in Sevilla. Charlie is in Sevilla hoping to learn the flamenco guitar (he’s a genius guitar player) and Mercedes is dancing flamenco, but she’s scared, and empty, looking for someone who isn’t a mummy’s boy. When their eyes meet, they both have that odd sense of attraction that completely takes over their mind, body and soul.
But getting together is not easy, especially as Mercedes’ overly traditional father gets in the way, and Charlie takes the scenic route in making his move.
Their journey is rich in flamenco, love, passion, and involves scenes from Sevilla and is set around the famous festivals: Semana Santa, and La Feria.
If you want to read a romantic novel about how love between two foreigners, two completely different people, from two absolutely different parts of the world, can grow and smash all those barriers to pieces, then keep your eyes out for Falling for Flamenco.
Why have I written Falling for Flamenco?
Well, it all started when some mates visited a few years back. We were walking around Sevilla, doing all the touristy things, chatting about books we’d read set in Spain. We were chatting about The Return by Victoria Hislop, which has been a great influence to me. Then, for some reason, I went off on my own, I think they went back to their hotel or something, and I walked about the Jardines de Murillo, and began to think up my novel. I was sure I wanted it to show how love conquers all, and how two people, from two different backgrounds, can fall in love.
I wanted to show people that it is possible to fall in love with someone from another country, with different views, language, mindset, and religion.
When I met up with those friends later in the evening, we went to see a flamenco show at my favourite place – La Carboneria – somewhere I truly miss now that I live out of the centre – and the book just came to life.
It’s mainly a present to my wife, and for my kids, so we can remember just how our family was created, and why we are all here, in Sevilla.
Who might be interested in reading it?
To anyone who loves romance set in exotic locations. I guess this has been my hardest battle writing Falling for Flamenco. To be honest, I never thought I’d end up writing a romance book, but my sensitive, romantic side just wanted to get this story down on paper.
I know most romance readers are women, and most guys will only read romance if their wives or girlfriend force them at gunpoint, but I was keen to show the complications of falling in love, especially with someone from another country, through the eyes of both the male and female.
This is why I’m hoping my novel will appeal to both a male and female audience. Yeah, there are some soppy moments, I talk about love, the feelings of love, and falling for someone. But there is some comedy too, especially from Mercedes’ best friend Lola, and the people that Charlie meets on the way.
With Sevilla as the main setting, it should appeal to anyone who has visited, or intends to visit this wonderful city, especially if you have interest in flamenco, and Semana Santa.
Behind the scenes
The city itself has inspired me to write this novel too. I’ve included my favourite places, the squares around the cathedral, especially Dona Elvira, where Charlie works.
Triana features too. How could I have written about a book about Sevilla and not included Triana?
Mercedes lives in a flat overlooking the Jardines de Murillo, one of my favourite parks in Sevilla, and also, as I said above, where I first started to think about this novel.
I also include a lovely dance school along the river towards Puerta Delicia. This used to be mine and my wife’s favourite place to walk, back when we lived in the centre. She used to have ballet dance classes there, and often we would walk past and hear flamenco shoes tap tap tapping on the floor.
The Alcázar is also a special place in Sevilla. I’ve had various visits there, which is also why I chose this for one of the final scenes.
We also got married in Santa Ana, a church in Triana, which you can see from the River, so it holds a special place in my heart.
A lot of scenes also take place along the River Guadalquivir; an amazing spot to walk along. I’ve spent many hours there just walking with my wife, chatting about life, learning about Sevilla, picking up Spanish, and falling in love.
Love is powerful, bizarre, and life changing
The main premise is that you just never know when love will come along and change your life. Everyone wants to find their perfect partner, but it’s never easy. I certainly learnt the hard way.
Take for example Mercedes. She is desperate to find someone that will treat her with some respect, and not put their mother before her. She’s had it with the guys here and just wants to meet someone who isn’t a mummy’s boy.
Charlie, on the other hand, is sick of London and comes to Sevilla to learn the flamenco guitar. He is a genius guitar player, and luckily meets a flamenco teacher, Ramón, quite early on.
When he sees Mercedes performing in a tablao, he falls for her, just as she does for him, but getting together is far from easy.
When I came to Sevilla I wasn’t really religious, okay, I went to the scouts. My father is Catholic though, and since getting to know my wife, her religion, and the ways of Spanish people, I became Catholic back in 2010, just before our wedding. Mercedes is Catholic, but Charlie isn’t, which turns out to be quite an issue.
This festival has had a massive influence on me during my time here. At first I thought it was mental, weird, and just crazy, but thanks to my wife, and her family, and friends and students, I’ve really learnt a lot about this festival and look forward to it every year. This is why Semana Santa is also involved in my novel.
Again, a book set in Sevilla without including the Feria would just be odd. I’m not a huge fan of the Feria, but I do enjoy going at least once a year. Even if it is just to sample the odd glass of rebujito.
From the title you can guess it’s involved. Mercedes is a flamenco dancer, and Charlie wants to learn how to play the guitar.
Flamenco has been a huge influence on my time here. I’ve spent many a night in tablaos, watching with amazement at flamenco shows. I’ve done a fair bit of reading about it too and often listen to flamenco guitar music while writing.
A few of the places are fictional, but I’ve included names of some of my favourite places such as La Carboneria, and Los Gallos.
I’m an English teacher, so it‘s hard not to have characters who are teachers. Mercedes is a flamenco teacher, and she works for Lola in her dance academy. Also, Ramón, Charlie’s guitar teacher, is also a teacher, obviously. I’ve tried to show my passion for teaching in these characters too.
Me, my wife, and I
I’d like to stress the two main characters aren’t us, but there are a few similarities which only people close to us will really know. Our relationship was rocky to begin with, not as dramatic as theirs, and her family were a lot more welcoming, but the issue of getting attached to someone from a different country is definitely the same. This is why I was able to write with such passion, as I have experienced most of what Charlie has gone through, and I know my wife will bond with Mercedes, once she reads it, hopefully.
I’m not a guitar player, and she can’t dance flamenco either, but she is great at salsa (and I’m not only talking about her mean sauces – salsa in Spanish).
When can you read it?
If you enjoy contemporary romance novels set in exotic locations, or have visited Sevilla and would like to know what it is like to fall in love with someone from a different culture, then Falling for Flamenco will hopefully be out in September. Once I sort out a professional book cover and I’ll publish it on Kindle, and also via CreateSpace, so you can get a paperback copy.
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Thanks for reading.