You Had Me at Merlot: Guest Post by Lisa Dickenson

So here we are, guys. Lisa Dickenson’s new novel is out and it’s gorgeous! (You can read my very gushing review here). BUT! Lisa sets her novel in the loveliest places all over the world and I always so wanted to hear how her research look like. You know, sun – bathing on the beach with a glass of prosecco or two, partying with all the celebrities… So Lisa has written a guest post about it, and I’m so very, very thankful! And thank you, Clara, for making it possible! And you, guys, sit back, put you feet high and enjoy!


Urgh, Christmas in New York, I hate my life.  Kidding!  Book writing is AWESOME!  Especially when you just ~happen~ to have set your latest book in another country…

                  For You Had Me at Merlot, my research was mainly in the form of spreading Italian holiday brochures out in front of me whilst drinking lots of wine and tapping away on my laptop.  But my next book, Mistletoe on 34th Street, I unknowingly researched before the novel was even a twinkle in my eye.

                  Shimmy your way back to 2010, when we were all six years younger; when Katy Perry was singing about Teenage Dreams, and Lady Gaga was walking about wearing bacon.  I was in New York City, soaking up the festive spirit following a year of travelling about the world with the man I now call Husband Phil.  On the last night – one week before Christmas Day – he popped the question.  We were all ready to head home and show off the sparkler to our friends and family, and then bam! – the next day the UK became snowbound, and we weren’t going anywhere.  The airports were closed, the trains were closed; most of Europe was closed.  I know, I know, NYC isn’t the worst place to be stranded at Christmas, especially when giddy from a recent engagement and a shit-load of mulled wine, but as the clock ticked towards the big day we couldn’t help but begin to wonder when we’d finally make it home.  At least I was with one of my favourite people in the world, right, holly-jolly Husband Phil?  Imagine if I was stranded at Christmas with the last people in the world I wanted to spend it with!

                  So that became the concept for Book 4, many years later, and it was only right to head back to the Big Apple for “research” – you know, see if it had changed, remind myself how tall the buildings are.  I returned in December 2015 and it was perfection, as New York always is, to me.  I re-accustomed myself with the sounds and the smells and the streets, and OH MY GOD ALL THE FOOD, and it made me so happy.  I can’t wait to travel to New York again with all of you this winter, when Mistletoe on 34th Street comes out.



Lisa Dickenson was born in the wrong body. She was definitely meant to be Beyoncé. Despite this hardship, she grew up in Devon attempting to write her own, completely copyright-infringing versions of Sweet Valley High, before giving Wales a go for university, and then London a go for the celeb-spotting potential. She’s now back in Devon, living beside the seaside with her husband and forcing cream teas down the mouths of anyone who’ll visit. She is sadly still not Beyonce. Lisa’s first novel, ‘The Twelve Dates of Christmas’, won the Novelicious Debut of the Year award. Her second novel, ‘You Had Me at Merlot’, is out now.


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