“The Labour of Love,” by Sean Fallon

Apr 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

The novelist sighed. Romance is the hardest genre, she thought as she stared at the white screen in front of her. It made her furious when people and so-called critics told her that romance was a genre reliant upon tired tropes and clichés. They were wrong. It was an art-form, a science. Scaring people? Easy! Making them laugh? Child’s play. Making them swoon with love and have horny dreams about being stolen away by pirates or marrying a billionaire? The most challenging task of all.

The novelist—Morgana St. Claire, author of forty bestsellers (birth name: Deirdre Jones)—looked over at her bookcases. She had two: one for other people’s books, one for her own. The one for others was from IKEA and hastily assembled. The one for hers was a huge, ornate creature of flamboyantly designed beauty. Made from a single piece of oak it was the perfect way to display copies of her books such as The Secret Billionaire, The Billionaire’s Secret, and The Mystery of Billionaire Bluff AKA the Misty Benoit trilogy AKA how Morgana St. Claire made her fortune.

She always drew inspiration from her own books. She knew that if she could do it, then she could do it. She had always thought of herself as her own heroine after all. She also found solace and guidance in the awards she had won.

She had sat them all on a shelf that she could see from her computer seat, and they were all polished to a gleaming shine. Her favourite was the Not A Flavour of the Month award, which she won when her second book—Alicia’s Illicit List—was published to critical acclaim. The award, which looked like a gold ice cream tub with two spoons, sat in the middle of the shelf flanked by her Best Use of a Prop award (a golden feather) and Best Plot Twist (a golden positive pregnancy test).

She turned back to the blank page. What lovers would she bring to life? What combination of disparate personalities did she want to create and then smash together? A straight-laced marine biologist and a man who hates sharks? A pastry chef and a celiac? A billionaire and a person who isn’t a billionaire?

Her last book—The Sensual Selfie-Stick Soiree—hadn’t exactly flown off the shelves, something she attributed to trying to make it too hip, too relevant. She needed to get back to basics.

She cracked her fingers, took a deep breath and a sip of red wine, and began typing, reading the words aloud as she did.

‘Chapter One. Abigail Rochambuex looked icily at the man who had just handed her a drink. “I didn’t order this,” she said haughtily, her full, ample breasts pushed outward in annoyance.’

Morgana St. Claire sat back in her chair and looked up at her awards shelf. ‘I’m going to need to make more space.’ She sipped her wine and carried on writing.


Sean Fallon is a writer and film critic living in Melbourne with his wife. He has been published by The Big Issue, the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, Reader’s Digest, The Talk Film Society, Audience’s Everywhere, Writer Loves Movies, and Film Inquiry. You can, should you want to, learn more about him here: https://www.facebook.com/SWFallon/

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