Belinda Williams has been a guest on my blog before and I am delighted to welcome her back as her latest book MODERN HEART is a contemporary romance written from the perspective of an Asian heroine and it is fascinating to read how she went about researching this book.
My current WIP crosses cultures and I find it very challenging!
Getting to the cultural heart of Modern Heart
While Modern Heart is not primarily focused on the cultural elements—Scarlett is very much Australian—her relationship (or lack of relationship) with her mother is key to the story. Without giving away too much, Scarlett’s approach to life as an adult has been coloured by the expectations placed on her as a child. Expectations which were very high.
To get a sense of this I read The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. To say this book was illuminating would be understatement! This story was both fascinating and a little scary. For example, in real life Amy’s girls had to practice violin or piano every single day, regardless, and this included being on holiday in Europe. If they had a full day, no matter! She’d rouse her girls at 5am for an hour of practice before they set off for the day. I drew a lot Scarlett’s mother’s negative traits from this book!
I also read Tiger Babies Strike Back by Kim Wong Keltner which offered a more balanced insight into life growing up in a Chinese immigrant family in the Western world. Unlike Amy Chua, she argued for a move away from a strict parenting style and this was something I was able to explore with Scarlett, who is a very modern Australian woman.
Writing a character with a cultural background different to your own can be daunting and exciting, and I certainly found it to be both. It was research that got me through in the end though!
About MODERN HEART
Scarlett Wong has a reputation for toughness. A talented and often feared Creative Director at an award-winning Sydney advertising agency, she doesn’t do relationships, she doesn’t invite men home, and she never stays the night. The only people who see her softer side are her three closest girlfriends, and they’re finally convinced they’ve found her perfect man: John Hart.
Scarlett’s never been one to back down from a challenge and she’s not going to start now. But when John secures Scarlett an invitation from one of New York’s leading galleries to exhibit her artwork, it means putting herself out there like never before. Scarlett’s perfect man wouldn’t interfere in her life like this – would he?
For a woman who thinks she’s not scared of anything, Scarlett is about to discover she’s not as tough as she thinks. Will she take the chance to turn her secret passion into a career, risk the safety of her advertising career and let John in? Or will old habits die that little bit too hard?
Purchase links available here: http://momentumbooks.com.au/books/modern-heart-city-love-3/
About Belinda Williams
Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda’s eclectic music taste forms the foundation of many of her writing ideas and her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.
Belinda lives in Sydney and blogs regularly about writing and reading here: www.belindawilliamsbooks.com