Nov 3, 2017

A Peony Rose by Any Other Name...

All kinds of things can inspire a writer.  A snippet of overheard conversation, the note of a song, a flickering memory of a dream, a person’s name.
The series I’m writing right now, each story has found inspiration in a flower.
The first book is set in Vallemont - a make-believe principality in Europe somewhere.
Writing one day the Palace of Vallemont cast a rosy hue when the sun hit it just so. From this came the country’s official colours of pink and rose gold. A wedding is set to take place in the story.  Much excitement has gripped the land.  Peony petals are tossed in the air with abandon and now cover the village streets.
Yes, peonies.
Since my muse tossed them into the story in a seemingly random way, I have become obsessed.  Googling images till my vision turns dusty pink. Getting a little heart flutter every time my laptop turns on and the abundant loveliness of my peony wallpaper hits my eyes. Are they not the most soft, pretty, elegant, flower there is?  Lush (with all those softly curving petals) yet vulnerable too. Easily bruised.
They are now seriously nudging at gardenias (my wedding flower) for the number one spot in my exclusive list of favourites.
Now onto the next book in the series; set in the rural central coast of Australia. The first lines of the book my heroine stepped out of her shack and blinked sleepily towards the sunrise casting a misty glow over the acres of wild lavender carpeting the hillside.
Not my favourite flower.  As someone with a strong sense of smell I struggle with lavender.  But oh, that field outside the heroine’s front door. When the wind creates waving tracks in the weave, it looks like a single living thing.  And my muse is a happy fellow.
These things aren’t often planned. Not for me. They happen organically.  Arriving like a speck of glitter thrown by my muse.
Yet that speck can inform so much of the story.
From the peony petals stomped into a mud puddle when the royal wedding doesn’t go as planned, to the heroine despairing that the field of lavender outside her front door will be lost if the land development goes ahead.
Those small details can give a story colour, life, scent, earthiness, grounding.
As for the author?  She gets to google pictures of pretty flowers and call it research.
Do you have a favourite flower?  Is there a story behind how it came to be so?


  1. Hi Ally

    I had carnations at my wedding and that has a lot to do with the fact that my Nanna grew them and I have always loved them but I love roses as well and my Mum grew roses I do not have a green thumb so I can't grow them very well but I do love them :)

    Have Fun

    1. Carnations are so pretty. Love a flower with lots of petals.

  2. I love Lily of the Valley. The smell is divine, and is the base for my favorite perfume. My mom planted some lily of the valleys she dug up from my grandmother's garden, who had gotten hers from my great grandmother's garden. When I bought my first house I became the 4th generation to plant tubers from the "family" lilies. When we sold that house and moved to Florida, I was so sad that Lily of the Valley doesn't grow here. I do have a bouquet of silk Lily of the Valley that my mom had, it was one of the things I wanted when she passed away. Not the same, but it brings back great memories.

    1. Oh how lovely that is has such a backstory, Laurie. What's your favourite perfume?