The Inspiration of Museums
It was a stuffy day in central London, and I was flipping through the paper with abandon (okay, so I was clicking the online newspaper links with abandon, but that doesn’t sound as good). All of a sudden, a headline rushed out at me: Museum of Broken Relationships Comes to London. A Museum of Broken Relationships, I thought? What an interesting concept.
As I navigated through the pictures – from a garden gnome to a garish pair of Y-fronts – I couldn’t help constructing stories in my head. Where had those undies come from? What was the significance of the figurine? The more photos I saw, the more my brain raced . . . until I just had to write about it. And being the evil creator that I am, I thought up a situation to ensure maximum conflict: what if I placed a poster child for happy endings in a position of responsibility in such a museum? What would happen? Would she implode, or would she gradually become pessimistic? My main character of Rose was born.
When it came time for Rose to think about the logistics of setting up the museum, I called upon my experience at London’s Dennis Severs’ House, where there are ten rooms set to create ‘moods’ from between 1724 and 1914. As you weave your way through the silent house by candlelight, you feel like you’re interrupting the invisible occupants, an eighteenth-century French Huguenot family of silkweavers, in their dinner. Their presence eerily lingers through the smell of food and various objects strewn carelessly about. With every room, you feel as if you’ve stepped into a painting about to come to life. This is exactly what I wanted the Museum of Broken Hearts in my novel to feel like, so I had Rose create real-life spaces in which to place the objects.
Who says museum are boring? For me, they’re simply a starting point to tell another story.
Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now
lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Her debut novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller and shortlisted for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, and her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as a 2011 Amazon Customer Favourite. Build A Man is her latest release. Talli blogs here and can be found on Twitter here.