I first got the idea for Thirteen Weddings after attending four weddings in one summer. I watched the various wedding photographers at work and thought, imagine what it would be like to do wedding after wedding. Maybe it feels a little like Groundhog Day, but it must also feel very surreal to be such an important part of two complete strangers’ Best Day Of Their Lives. Then, as it tends to do, my overactive imagination ran away with me and I imagined what it would be like to photograph a groom if you were in love with him.
No one knows better than my readers how much I like writing about characters who pine for people they can’t have. Of course, pining for a soon-to-be-married man seems like one step too far, so there had to be a reason for my heroine to find herself in this awkward position.
Thirteen Weddings sees Bronte meet Alex during the London-based hen night for one of her friends. They talk, they flirt, they end up having a night of incredible passion, and in the morning, Alex is contacted by his ex girlfriend. She claims to have made a mistake in breaking up with him, and as Bronte is heading back to Australia where she lives, so they say a difficult farewell before letting each other go forever.
Or not for forever, as it turns out. Eighteen months later, Bronte finds herself back in London with a job on the picture desk of a magazine (to find out how Bronte in linked to my other books, check out iheart-chicklit.blogspot.com tomorrow). Alex is her co-worker, and at first, things are awkward. Then Bronte gets a one-off gig helping out a wedding photographer called Rachel, and Alex and Bronte bond over tea and their mutual affection for photography.
On Bronte’s recommendation, Alex lines up Rachel to do his wedding, but then Rachel enlists Bronte’s help again, and again, until suddenly she finds herself working as a part-time wedding photographer. As Alex’s wedding draws ever nearer, it’s clear that Bronte’s feelings for him – which she tries to control – are not unrequited.
I had to write about a number of weddings for Thirteen Weddings, but the fated thirteenth was based on my own. Mainly because I could picture it so clearly. I got married in St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden and we could hear the sound of buskers in the plaza behind the church. The memory of the church is so clear, that I can easily imagine Bronte standing at the back with her camera, waiting for Alex to come in – or not come in. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it.
I also had an enormous amount of help from a couple of real wedding photographers, one of whom won a charity bid to win her name in my next book – she had no idea it was about a wedding photographer (read about this in loveofagoodbook.wordpress.com on 6 August). But what really warmed the cockles of my heart was the feedback I got from my readers when I asked for them to share their wedding stories. I included some in the book, like Sarah Abbott’s “fireman” moment. A couple were too shocking to print – one father-in-law’s awful speech made my jaw hit the floor! But all of the stories had me gripped. I hope Thirteen Weddings grips my readers, too.
A note from Paige: Sign up to my book club, ‘The Hidden Paige’, at www.paigetoon.com for free short stories, competitions and the chance to find out more about me and my characters and what we’re all up to.
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Many thanks to Paige Toon for taking the time to take part in the tour and also to Dawn at Simon & Schuster for organising it. Please check out the tour banner at the top of my page to see where this blog tour is going next!