Just after I moved to the area where I now live (New South Wales, Australia), I checked out possibilities for classes as I’m always interested in learning new things. Finding a six-week evening course on making silver jewelry, I asked if it would be suitable for a complete beginner; assured that it was, I signed up. Well, it wasn’t. The tutor preferred to work with the seven others all of whom who had done a course with her previously. She started me off cutting silver, and only later did I realize she hadn’t given any occupational health and safety information surely essential in a studio with sharp tools, soldering and electrical equipment, and a gas-heated dish. I pestered her with “Is this OK?” and “What do I do next?”, and filled a notebook with instructions. After the six weeks, I ended up with a ring, two pairs of earrings and an unfinished pendant. The ring was too small, one pair of earrings too heavy while the other, on which I etched a simple design, was definitely wearable.
But I did come away from this unsatisfactory experience with something worthwhile: an idea for crafting a story involving a silver jewelry designer. My contemporary romantic comedy, Silver Linings, was hatched. I’d recently completed Hot Ticket, which is located in tropical Darwin, and I wanted to set this new romance at the other end of Australia, in an isolated area with harsh winter weather. I love researching, and if it involves travel, so much the better! So I explored southern Tasmania, conceiving a wild island on the edge of the Southern Ocean. I also spent time in Hobart and nearby areas visiting galleries similar to where my characters could sell their creations, and inventing a funky bar where Alistair takes Cassandra after he almost runs her over. No one almost ran me over but I did get to a funky bar…
He almost runs her over, she breaks a shoe in a drain…what can he do but play Prince Charming? This near accident caused by Alistair is Cassandra’s introduction to life in the fun lane. Both fresh out of inappropriate relationships and jobs, each is novelty value for the other. But their exes are pulling tricks to be reinstated, offering lifestyles where income is guaranteed. So can Cassie’s passion for fashioning silver jewellery and Al’s for re-purposing driftwood timber keep them fed?
Friday, bloody Friday. Why did it always rain on Fridays?
Waiting at a red light, Alistair drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. Might as well rain forever. No job, retrenched this sodden morning after four years, downsizing they called it. No girlfriend, ditched last soaking Friday after two years, upsizing Toni called it.
By the time the light condescended to turn green, he could have become fluent in Urdu. He flicked the wipers to fast, the heater to high, and the headlights on as he joined the five p.m. traffic crawling towards Hobart’s Tasman Bridge. July in southern Tasmania made a man hallucinate about a tropical Queensland beach—and yet he loved the island. Which was why he’d fallen onto the singles trash heap. And why he’d probably be jobless until the South Pole’s icecap melted and drowned them all. He didn’t need to open the window to feel the chilly winds of a miserable future.
Jeez! He stamped on the brake. Why the hell didn’t the damn fool woman look? Glancing in the rear view mirror, he sucked in his breath. She was standing in the roadway. Thank God he hadn’t hit her. A bus behind him honked as he skidded to a halt. Just his luck, he’d pulled up at a stop. He inched forward, pushed into park, toggled the engine off and rummaged for his umbrella. He should clean up this post-Toni mess of newspapers, chocolate wrappers, apple cores, and—hey, was this lottery ticket as winner? Nah, nothing in his life was a winner. His fingers located the recalcitrant umbrella. He swung out of the car in time to see the bus driver make a rude sign at him. He returned it and was rewarded with a shower of slimy spray as the bus pulled out.
Cassandra had no desire to do a Cinderella and leave her shoe in the gutter, so she stumbled onto the kerb on one and a half heels. She glared in the direction of a silver bullet of a car. Not satisfied with half-drowning her, that maniac had ruined her shoes. She hobbled to a streetlight to lean against it, took off her left shoe and examined it. She’d felt it catch in a drain as she struggled to save herself from annihilation. Tatters of leather were all that connected the last two inches of heel to the first four.
The sight of her poor battered shoe crushed the last straw holding up her life. Straws had been crumpling for months, and after today’s incendiary stuff in her office, and terminal exasperation with her serial date-cancelling fiancé, she might a well drop out of civilisation. Ex-office, since she’d left her boss in no doubt that she would ever go back. And fiancé? Ex too? Her engagement ring, tossed among the clutter at the bottom of her bag two hours ago when Jeremy had cancelled tonight, was emitting persuasive return-to-sender signals. Then he’d couriered the theatre tickets for this evening, suggesting she took her brother. Getting run over was almost a preferred option to going anywhere with Gordon.
She sighed, regarded her shoe with displeasure, and pushed her foot into it. It would have to get her home, if she could ever manage to cross the road to her bus stop.