Introducing Elsa Simonetti.

I know, this is Disney World, not Disneyland Paris. But it’s my favourite Disney picture!

I’ve been quiet for a while, largely due to the uncertainties of lockdown, and the problems of having a house full of teenagers most of the time! Now they are back to school and college I’m working hard again.

I’ve got a new Disneyland Paris-set novella entitled Mistletoe and the Mouse coming out soon (date t.b.c. – Coronovirus has held up publication) and a new persona! My pen name is “Elsa Simonetti”, as I wanted to keep these new, shorter and sweeter romances distinct from my other novels. “Simonetti” was my grandmother’s maiden name – I think it’s so pretty – and I chose Elsa as it’s another possible variant of Elizabeth.

Here is a sneak preview of “Mistletoe and the Mouse”:

Can a magical Christmas melt a frozen heart?

Join Belle and James as they visit Mickey Mouse for a sparkling holiday season at Disneyland Paris.

Belle has been numb since her mother died, and she can’t face Christmas at home without her. Instead she books a surprise holiday to her “happy place” – the Magic Kingdom. But her boyfriend James has problems of his own. He doesn’t “do Disney” and what will his mother think of him missing their family Christmas to go to Disneyland with Belle?

A festive romance with a sprinkling of pixie dust.

This IS Paris.

Happily Ever After – what a trip to Disney World did to my creativity.

I had an unusual experience at the beginning of the year. Usually I find my main inspiration for writing is the places that I visit, but for the first time, I found myself totally demotivated by having the best holiday ever!

We went to Disney World in Florida at Christmas, and it was the most fantastic holiday. We ate some wonderful food, we went on some thrilling and spectacular rides, we were awed by the amazing customer service, the ambience and the design of everything we saw. Everything was done for us, it was so easy it was positively magical. Like living in a fairy tale. Really! And I’m one of the world’s biggest sceptics! We came back with a mountain of photographs and memories, and I came back totally demotivated. Nothing in reality could compare with the magical escapism of Disney World, it was like holidaying in the legendary “happily ever after”.

DSCN0783.JPG

 

I’d like to say that I came back buzzing with ideas for new writing, but in fact the opposite was true. Everything had been too perfect, too fairytale, too pretty. Because  stories and life need a little imperfection to be interesting. Even in Disney films, the prince and the princess might meet and instantly fall in love, but something needs to get in the way of that perfect love to make it a worthwhile story. If there isn’t a wicked stepmother, or a curse or a poisoned apple there isn’t a story to tell. It’s the conflict that provides the story. And that’s what happened with Disney World; the happily ever after isn’t an interesting part of the story.

So it’s back to British reality. Cold, miserable weather, home-cooked food that at least one child will refuse to eat, laundry and cleaning and definitely no fireworks at the end of each day. But, as I keep trying to tell myself, at least there are story possibilities round every corner.

66924C11-7270-42A2-809D-9D4EBBE0476B.JPG

(Photos all taken by myself or my husband. No Disney material was used in the production of this blog post.)