This interview is with author Belinda Jones on her newest book California Dreamers
Keira: If Stella, your heroine from California Dreamers, were to give women advice on love, what would she say? Would she share it in make-up terms?
Belinda Jones: The Stella at the end of the book would probably say that sometimes you have to set aside your ego and really try to put yourself in your man’s shoes and think of the situation from his point of view. It’s so easy to get hurt and reactionary when a man doesn’t meet your romantic ideals but sometimes a tantrum of emotions can obscure a deeper truth. Also, I think she would say, ‘Never give up hope. Life can always surprise you. Especially when it comes to love.’
In make-up terms… Hmmm. I don’t know about metaphors but I think she would dare you to share your make-up free face with your guy asap. It’s nice to be complimented when you are all glammed up but there is nothing better than feeling accepted and adored just as you are, flaws and all. It helps ease the crazy shame we feel for not being perfect.
Keira: Why does Stella want to transform herself?
Belinda: I think physical transformations are sometimes less about beautification and more about seeing yourself in a different light. If you can look different, you can be different – make different choices and have a different life. Stella needs a break from the lackluster person she has become. She wants to experiment with taking on the appearance of someone bolder and more daring. The kind of person a certain movie star might find attractive…
Keira: Good friends are important. What makes Marina such a good friend?
Belinda: I think fundamentally her word is good – if she says she’ll do something or promises something, however far-fetched or fanciful, she’ll find a way to make it happen. She’s definitely generous and open-hearted and pretty down-to-earth for a movie star! She may be hot-headed, even a little scheming, in her matchmaking but it is well-intentioned. I hadn’t thought of this until now but I would like her as a friend – I admire her appetite for life!
Keira: In a sentence or two tell us about the men in their lives!
Belinda: Well, the two women in the book have something in common in that they have both fallen head over heels in love with military men – sailors in the US Navy to be precise. The book takes a look at the other side to the Officer & A Gentleman fantasy though I shall never be able to deny the appeal of that immaculate white uniform! Plus there’s also actor/bon vivant Milo, offering rather decadent temptation…
Keira: What is your favorite scene in California Dreamers? Did you have to cut anything out you wish you could have kept?
Belinda: I think my favourite scene is when Stella first meets Milo in the lavender field in Ojai. There’s just something so dreamy about that purple haze! (Yet all decorum is lost thanks to those impertinent bees!) I also liked their banter – I didn’t expect the conversation to go that way but it took on a life of its own, which is really the most fun aspect of writing!
I don’t think I had to cut anything major this time. Sometimes I get carried away with ‘fascinating’ facts during my research and I did have to pare back an excess of Navy regulations on physical appearance. But it was nothing compared to the whole chapters I had to drop for On The Road To Mr Right – fortunately I could just paste them on my website as bonus material! (That said, I just checked my www.belindajones.com for them and they are no longer there. Jeez! I have to get more techno-savvy.)
Keira: What is your California dream?
Belinda: It’s actually very close to the book – that stretch of California coast from Los Angeles to San Simeon is just so magnificently uplifting, I’d love to be cruising along it right now with the real-life Jonathan and Bodie (the dog!), stopping off for romps on the beach at Santa Barbara and then ollalieberry pie at Linn’s of Cambria. The reach-for-the-stars dream would be to swim in the Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle. I wish I could have a book launch there and invite all my lovely readers, all dressed in Forties finery sipping vintage champagne!
Keira: What’s next for you?
Belinda: Good question! It looks like the next novel will be set in the ski resort of Cortina in the Italian Dolomites but I’m looking into a few fabulous twists!
Buy: California Dreamers (UK)