Real life events that have inspired my writing

“Write what you know,” the experts will tell you. I was not one for good advice when I started writing The Guy from the Internet, but I somehow ended up going down that road anyway. And today, I’m going to tell you a bit about that.

Here are three real-life experiences that inspired elements of this book:

The many rowdy dinners I’ve had with my family

My dad’s got a loud voice and my mum’s got a piercing laugh. Together, they inspired Holly’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chee, especially their senses of humour at the family dinner scene.

Neither parent is an exact match for Holly’s parents, as I borrowed a few quirks from my uncles and aunties too. But both my ethnic and family cultural experiences informed many of the background elements of this book.

Dealing with creepy guys in the workplace

I’m one of many in the workforce who have had to deal with “creepy” people in the office. Sometimes it’s been colleagues who insist on standing too close for comfort when there’s so much space otherwise. Sometimes it’s handsy fellows who insist on touching you, even when there’s no call or social context for it. And sometimes it’s been unwanted, unwelcome attention during work social events, even after asking them to stop.

Without going into gory detail, I wrote an office creeper into this book. I felt it was important to acknowledge the existence and effects of such microaggressions in the workplace. Too many offenders get treated like a “missing stair”, tolerated but never remedied. By including this in my writing, I hope to offer some validation and vocabulary to readers who might be dealing with this problem in their own workplaces. Let’s normalise doing something about this kind of behaviour before a situation reaches crisis point.

Meeting real-life cinnamon roll heroes

For years, I thought just about every guy was an alpha male wannabe of some sort. That was until I happened across some new friends who were, for all intents and purposes, real life cinnamon rolls. They were sensitive, thoughtful, circumspect, good humoured, good natured, respectful, and very willing to commit to the lucky ladies who touched their hearts.

Florian is one such character (as is Chris from The Guy from the Flower Shop). The gift he picks for Holly early in the book is a testament to his thoughtfulness. And don’t even get me started on how he wrangled that HEA!