Jennifer Gilby Roberts

Women's Fiction/Chick Lit Author

The Inspiration for After Wimbledon

on March 25, 2014

This was written as a guest post for Lipsyy Lost & Found.

Naturally, for a novel by an English writer about the Wimbledon tennis tournament, After Wimbledon was born in Australia.  For the tennis fans: it is the Laura Robson of chick lit novels.

I was taking some time out after finishing my degree.  Having fried my brain by studying physics, a light-hearted romance was all I was good for.  I arrived in Melbourne halfway through the Australian Open and spent most of the next week hanging out in Fed Square watching the action on their big screen.  That was fabulous because it was right in the middle of the city and anyone could just wander down.  I even sat in the Rod Laver Arena (the equivalent of Centre Court) for one day.  Since I was travelling alone, I managed to grab an odd seat right in the front row.  I heard Roger Federer swear, that’s how close I was.

At the same time, I was struggling with a decision.  I’d been dating someone for a couple of years before I went away and had left him back home.  In a twist on the classic tale, he was sure we were for keeps and I was uncertain.  I was only 23 when we started dating and wasn’t expecting to get serious.  Marriage was something for my thirties, if it happened at all.  One morning, in a shower stall at the hostel, I broke it off over the phone.  It was Australia Day, but the fireworks seemed rather out-of-place.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to write another novel.  My first, The Dr Pepper Prophecies, had been completed five years earlier.  Suddenly, I had something to write about again: tennis and major life confusion.  And out of those things After Wimbledon was born.  The first draft contained much angst.  I reckon I cut out about 30,000 words to get to the final version.  I’m just counting that bit as therapy.  It’s a much better read without it!

And the boyfriend I mentioned?  Reader, I married him.  Only happy endings here…

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