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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Elephant, Pinky Moon and Hairy P****s

I seem to be drawing very heavily from my own personal experiences when I write, which has come as a bit of a surprise with my second chick lit novel. I wrote Under the Cherry Tree (now retitled Sunshine at Cherry Tree Farm) when my sweet little dog died and I felt kind of compelled to commemorate her in some way, but I thought that was the end of including personal stuff. Wrong!

Elephant and Pinky Moon started with the title. Maybe that's the wrong way round to write a novel, but let me explain. Actually, before I do, Under the Cherry Tree started with a title too… my dog is in our garden and I planted a cherry tree next to her grave.

Anyway, back to Elephant and Pinky Moon. A few years ago my husband and I had a holiday in Turkey. One of the excursions was to Ephesus and Pamukkale. When I told my hubby where we were going, he thought I'd said Elephant, and by the time he realised what it was really called, the name sort of stuck. And he never could pronounce Pamukkale (not really sure if I say it correctly myself, to be honest) but kept calling it “that Pinky Moon place”.

No, Flossie isn’t based on him, not even remotely – the only connection between them is his malapropisms. Actually, there is another I could have put in the title, but thought I’d better not! You’re just going to have to read the book to find out what Flossie called Hierapolis…

The names stuck all the time we on holiday and beyond, and I may not have been aware I would write a novel about these places a couple of years in the future, but I do remember saying at the time that Elephant and Pinky Moon would make an unusual title for a book. And so the idea grew…

But that's where the similarities between my personal life and the book stop. Honest! I haven't got a grandmother who flashes her knickers whilst dancing on a bar, though my grannie did have an impressive set of false teeth and an unsettling propensity to say things how she saw them, no matter how much it made everyone else cringe! She was a bit of a teetotaller, unlike Flossie, except when it came to Christmas when she’d have a drop of port with lemonade – and I do mean a drop. You couldn’t drown a gnat it the measly amount of alcohol she had in her glass (not that I’m advocating drowning gnats, by the way).

Just to put the record straight, I'm nothing like Nina – she is pure imagination and so is Leo, but maybe I'll let my hubby keep thinking the sexy, gorgeous hunk in Elephant and Pinky Moon is based on him – bless him!

As for Ephesus and Pamukkale, they are both well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in that neck of the woods. Best not to go in the height of summer though, because the heat (at about 40C) is truly formidable!

The Roman toilets at Ephesus

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