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The Inspiration for 'Among A Thousand Stars'

A guest post by Jo Bartlett, author of 'Among a Thousand Stars'

jay_bartlettI don’t know about you, but for me reading is all about escaping to another world. So when I decided to write my first full length novel, I wanted the story to take me and anyone eventually reading it to somewhere different, somewhere that most of us don’t get to go every day. As a result, my heroine had to have an exciting job – being a teacher, like me, just wouldn’t cut it. At the same time I wanted her to have a side that other women could relate to, with some of the insecurities and problems we all have, whoever we are and whatever it is we do for a living.

Ashleigh Hayes is someone who encompasses all that. She has a dream job as a photographer for celebrity glossy monthly magazine, Glitz, working alongside best friend Stevie. Yet not everything is as perfect as it seems. Add a mother with no boundaries whatsoever into the mix, a tricky new boss and a seven-times engaged rock star intent on making her fiancée number eight, and life is anything but smooth.

The inspiration for Ashleigh came from a lot of places, one of which was encountering a real life celebrity photographer on the school run. It’s not that the paparazzi regularly hang out behind the bushes at my children’s school – thankfully, it’s not the sort of place where I have to encounter supermodels as I pull-up to the gates, still trying to tame my hair in the rear view mirror – but we did have a little brush with vicarious glamour.

Perou is a photographer well known in fashion and celebrity circles, and our sons just so happened to be good friends at school. My working life revolved around teaching and marking, with the closest thing to excitement being the annual graduation ceremony. Talking to Perou’s wife at the school gates, I couldn’t help but compare his working life; jetting off across the world, photographing everyone from One Direction to Marilyn Manson.

Despite all that, there was another side. Bits of life that involved helping with maths homework, taking a poorly dog to the vets and, like the rest of us, elbowing to the front of the school hall to get the best seat for the nativity play. Actually, check out Perou’s website and you’ll see that he’s much cooler than that, but I’m sure you get the point.

So whilst Ashleigh in ‘Among A Thousand Stars’ might have the dream job, she has a very real life too, complete with real problems. As for the rest – the love story, the location, the incredible friendship with Stevie – all of that is drawn from experiences I’ve had, people I’ve met, places I’ve been and the melting pot of my imagination. So whilst being a teacher might not be the most exciting of jobs, I only have to open my laptop, and start to write, to escape to another world altogether.

book 3dBuy Now 'Among a Thousand Stars' by Jo Bartlett

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