Today we welcome poet and novelist Sallie Muirden to share what inspired her to write her new novel Wedding Puzzle.
Plus, we have a worldwide ebook giveaway to celebrate its 1 May 2019 release.
Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.
Sallie Muirden’s inspiration for Wedding Puzzle
I had been thinking about a wedding day as a romantic setting for a novel for a while, as I liked the idea of framing a novel around a rite of passage, a single day of drama and change. As a child I lived opposite a church and so on Saturdays I witnessed the ribbon-bonneted cars arriving and the brides stepping out in their fairy-tale veils. I was a wedding addict from an early age just like my central character, Beth.
In 2009 my family took a short holiday to Portsea beach and we stayed in the hotel there, a place I thought I’d never been to before. There was a wedding going on downstairs and I had a stick-beak. To my surprise the young bride was having an argument with her father just prior to walking down the aisle. I reflected that weddings put the participants under immense strain. Fear and nerves kick in. Couples have last minute doubts. People are “left waiting at the altar” more often than you would expect. I love the bride in the Anita Brookner novel who sees her fiancé waiting on the steps of the church and tells the driver of her taxi not to stop, but to drive on. Every wedding is different and sometimes people decide to marry for curious reasons.
I began the opening chapters of Wedding Puzzle after staying in the seaside hotel in 2009.
The novel begins with my character Beth driving down to Portsea on the way to her wedding. She has received a letter that completely changes how she feels about her fiancé. Only half of her still wants to marry him. She doesn’t know what she is going to do. What I had forgotten as I wrote my first draft was that I had actually been to Portsea hotel once before as a teenager. It was New Year’s Eve and I was sixteen. I went for a romantic walk along the beach with a boy that I was very keen on. We had left his friends at the Portsea hotel with hundreds of other revellers. At midnight we heard the eruption of screams and cheers from the hotel beer-garden. The boy suggested in a roundabout way that it was time for us to kiss, but I was too awkward and shy to respond and he was too respectful to push the issue. We didn’t kiss. The relationship petered out over the next few dates.
I had repressed this memory but it must have been the inspiration behind my character Beth walking along the same beach feeling inadequate and anxious on her wedding day. Beth has been a bit of a wallflower at school. Five years later she can’t believe that a guy as nice as Jordan would come back into her life and want to spend the rest of it with her.
As I writer I went back and traced the footsteps of my youthful past. I failed at love-making on that beach when I was sixteen and that failure was redressed years later in a novel about a couple who are older and wiser but who may still fall victim to the misunderstandings that can ruin an intimate relationship.
On the morning of her wedding, 24-year-old Beth Shaw drives down the peninsula to the Portsea Hotel. She is uneasy and confused because she has just learnt something devastating about her fiancé, Jordan, that completely changes her view of him.
As Beth’s old schoolmates and her relatives arrive for the big day at the bayside idyll, Beth contemplates her childhood in suburbia. She worshipped the school relay runners, one of whom was Jordan’s high school sweetheart. Painful memories of earlier disloyalties and betrayals resurface. Her dreams and wedding threaten to spin out of control. Will the truth ever be known? And must she make a fateful decision about more than just her wedding?
Award-winning author Sallie Muirden deftly evokes the contradictions of human behaviour, and growing up in the 70s and 80s. With its Austenesque feel, Wedding Puzzle is an astute, entertaining, and often tense comedy of manners, that considers our choice of partner and the decision to marry as the key moment in our lives.
(Transit Lounge Publishing, 1 May 2019)
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About the Author, Sallie Muirden
Sallie Muirden is a poet and a novelist. Her first novel, Revelations of a Spanish Infanta, won the 1996 HarperCollins Fiction Prize. Her second novel, We Too Shall Be Mothers,was published in 2001. Her collection of poetry, The Fable of Arachne, was published in 2009. Her third novel, A Woman of Seville, was published in 2009. Sallie was born in Melbourne and has lived there most of her life.
Worldwide eBook Giveaway
Thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing we have an ebook copy of Wedding Puzzle to giveaway.
- Open worldwide, entries close midnight 18 May 2019
- You can improve your chance of winning by:
- The lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on our Facebook Page.
SORRY, ENTRIES NOW CLOSED – See winner announcement