Monday, April 6, 2015

How to write about something you know nothing about...

All That Sparkles revolves around the fashion industry and I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about it! My fashion sense can be described as casual at best. I blame it on growing up in the 80s and 90s when I think it’s safe to say, fashion was not at its peak – oversized T-shirts, baggy jeans and high-waisted shorts – everything possible to hide the shape of your body! :) Today, when I’m writing from home you can find me in a light dress in summer, or tracksuit pants and jumper in winter – not really the high end of fashion.

But I’m not one to let a little bit of ignorance stand in the way of a good story – I just needed to learn. 

I debated getting a full season of Project Runway and watching it back-to-back, but I’m not a massive fan of reality television, so the idea made me cringe. Putting that idea aside, I did what is always my first step of research – I googled. How much could I find out about the fashion industry, from concept to on the rack?

There was quite a bit. I read through articles on fashion association websites, I looked through blogs on the responsible manufacture of clothing in poorer countries and I checked out all I could find on fashion weeks around the world. It was a good start, but there was nothing that really got down to the nitty gritty. 

I put a call out on social media for anyone who had contacts in the fashion industry to no avail. It’s always fantastic if I can find someone who has experienced what I’m writing about – there’s nothing better than anecdotes and first-hand experience. 

Then I looked for some books which is where I hit the jackpot. I found a fantastic book called, “The Fashion Designer Survival Guide: Start and Run Your Own Fashion Business,” by Mary Gehlhar. It was an immediate purchase for me and I waited impatiently for it to arrive. I also ordered a book called “Vintage Fashion” so I could get a good idea of fashion through the ages and so I could get an idea of the changing trends and the type of designs Imogen and Tour de Force would have. 

When the survival guide arrived, I started reading and discovered all the information I needed about starting a new label. It was so wonderfully comprehensive and just the type of information I needed for my story. By the time I finished reading it I felt I could write an authentic portrayal of the fashion industry. 

And you know the funny thing – while the backdrop for the story is the fashion industry, I probably used only about five percent of the things I learnt in the story!


Imogen Fontaine is living every girl's dream.

She is a fashion designer for her family's haute couture label, lives in a mansion, has a great circle of friends and is the apple of her father's eye. Everything is perfect.

Until the day that Christian, the boy at the center of her childhood heartbreak, walks back into her life.

From there her life starts to unravel, as long-kept secrets are revealed. Imogen learns that her past was built on lies and betrayal, shattering the illusion of her perfect existence. She must seek out the truth if she has any hope of forging a new path for herself and discovering true freedom.

But can she convince Christian that there is a place for him in her new life?

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