Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

How ‘After Wimbledon’ Came to Be

on October 10, 2013

Having finished my degree, I celebrated by taking six months off to backpack round Australia.  At some point –  I think it was in Sydney – I decided it was time to tackle a second novel.  Unlike with The Dr Pepper Prophecies, this time I knew I could do it.

I was very into tennis at the time (I still enjoy it, but don’t follow it as much as I did then) and had been in Melbourne for the second week of the Australian Open.  For the first time I actually went to Centre Court (the Rod Laver Arena there) and I saw Venus Williams and Roger Federer play.  I know there was a third match, but I can’t remember now who was playing.  Obviously, it wasn’t that good!  I spent much of the rest of the week hanging out in Federation Square, where they had a huge screen set up.  It was beautiful weather and the atmosphere was wonderful – definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

It was also one of the low points, because while I was there I broke up with my boyfriend.  We’d been together several years and I had agonised for months over whether I should break it off.  I hadn’t expected to meet ‘the one’ at that point in my life (I was 23 when we started dating) and consequently had managed to convince myself that he wasn’t it.  At 27 I married him, which just goes to show how much I know.

I sat on my dorm bunk bed (deeply luxurious this trip was) and wrote.  I can’t actually remember how long it took me – I shall have to dig out my travel diary – but I wrote quite intensively so I don’t think it was much over a month.  I had a cold during some of it, which helped since I didn’t want to go anywhere anyway.

The first draft of what I then called 30 Love was a lot different to the version that will be published.  A good chunk of it was more like therapy, with Lucy doing much agonizing over her decisions.  Good for me, but quite boring to read!  I also felt it had got a bit too dark in places.  Someday maybe I’ll type up some of it, so you can see what I mean.  The basic plot, however, remains the same.

Unlike with The Dr Pepper Prophecies, which I took out and edited several times over the years, After Wimbledon sat in a drawer until after I published TDPP.  I nearly abandoned typing it up (like with TDPP, I wrote the first draft in a notebook), as I felt it was taking too long to get going, but I found that once I got into the story I became eager to find out what would happen next (I couldn’t remember after all that time!).  Once I had cut quite a bit from the beginning of the story and left out most of the aforementioned agonizing, I felt I had a novel that readers would enjoy.  I hope you agree when you read it.

After Wimbledon will be published Nov/Dec 2013.

More posts about After Wimbledon.

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