Sunday, February 26, 2012

Faraway Places and the Pen

Traveling has a way of leaving a lasting impact, little memories and vignettes seared into your mind. That tiny restaurant with the best noodles ever; the hidden courtyard with sweet-smelling blossoming trees; the abandoned rooftop with sweeping views across the city . . . everything you experience outside your comfort zone seems intense and vivid. For a writer, I supposed it’s only natural these heightened emotions find their way into novels.

They certainly do for me. In fact, my first ‘long’ non-fiction piece, ‘Disasters in Florida’, was based on a family trip to Florida when I was nine (the disaster being the key of our rental car breaking off in the trunk, not to mention our return flight being delayed – guess I had a flare for story-telling even back then!). As I grew up, my horizons broadened beyond Disney World, and I found myself living in Eastern Europe and then the UK. As a Canadian in a foreign land, even the most mundane task – like going to the post office – brought with it a whole host of challenges and struggles. The constant ‘fish out of water’ feeling was both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

That feeling inspired me to create Serenity, the main character in my most recent novel, Build A Man. An American transplant to London, she experiences many of the same feelings I did when I first moved to England.  She marvels at the obsession with tea; the sexy cut-glass accents; the almost fairy-tale architecture of Marylebone, her neighbourhood. Everything is so different and strange, yet exciting -- a whole new world of potential opening up.

For me, travelling doesn’t just open my eyes to different people and places, but it also provides the inspiration to build new characters and new worlds. It’s truly a win-win scenario!

Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction with just a touch of snark. 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. Talli’s debut novel The Hating Game was short-listed for Best Romantic Read at the UK’s Festival of Romance, while her second, Watching Willow Watts, was selected as an Amazon Customer Favourite. Her novels have also been chosen as top books of the year by industry review websites and have been bestsellers in Britain and the United States.
Learn more about Talli here:


Build A Man is her latest release. 


  1. Nice guest post! "Build A Man" is such a cute title. Makes me think of those build-a-bear stores in the mall. (Watch out -- the accessories are expensive!)

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me, Marita!

    And Dalyamoon, thank you. I had the same concept in mind as Build A Bear!