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An ongoing series of steamy, women's fiction novellas about friendship, romance, ambition and betrayal... 

Chances Are

'Bold of you to assume I like men.' Maeve chucked the axe and it hit the bullseye dead on. 'I'm a straight woman, I like willies. I tolerate men.'
Dark of Night meets Dynasty.

How a train being on time  led me to become the Jackie Collins of Shawlands

Long-distance train travel in the US is not for the faint-hearted. You have to reeeaaally hate flying. 

Amtrak trains quite impressively manage to feel like out-of-control rollercoasters while going about 60mph. The food can be great, it's fun to watch parts of the US you'd never visit trundling by, and you always meet fascinating people. I'm just saying, don't count on a decent night's sleep.


So it's fair to say I was more than a little zonked, having neither slept nor showered when my train from Savannah, Georgia, pulled in to New York City's Penn Station. Elizabeth and Nitza, who run The Writers Lab, a mentoring program for female screenwriters over 40,  pretty much scraped me off the floor and took me for coffee and cake. In less than an hour, we managed to squeeze the most incredible chat about the film industry, being a female filmmaker, the history of Hollywood, depictions of authentic Scottish culture on screen, and writing steamy romance as a feminist.


A few hours later, I sat on the top deck of the Queen Mary 2 with a cup of tea, watching the sunset as we left New York behind.


We sailed under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to begin our TransAtlantic crossing — and Chances Are downloaded in my brain.


It had percolated for years, with disparate ideas, characters, and themes swirling in thick fog in my mind yet stubbornly refusing to take shape. For a while, I had tried to make it work as a straight-up romance series, focusing on the main couples — but those early drafts ended up feeling one-dimensional. I'm not at all saying the romance genre in general is one-dimensional, simply that those early iterations only scraped the surface of this story.

One of my favourite books is Jackie Collins' Hollywood Wives. 


I read it as a teenager and I'm not saying it was part of what made me aspire to be a filmmaker, but it didn't hurt. I knew I wanted to capture some of that Hollywood insider vibe, but I didn't want to write about the wives adjacent to film industry power.


I wanted to write about the world of female filmmakers. 


Chances Are is about female friendship, romance, ambition and secrets. It's a family saga and a workplace drama, examining the industry and what it takes to survive in it, and of course plenty of adventures and romance along the way. While it's not directly autobiographical, it is by far my most personal work to date.


It is steamy women's fiction, but more accurately, a prime-time soap in fiction form.


It has more in common with Desperate Housewives, Dynasty and Greys Anatomy than any book, and given my background as a TV writer, it is deeply daft it took me so long to grasp that. Somehow, that chat in the food court of a New York train station, about every theme that drives and preoccupies me — working in the film industry as a woman, early Hollywood history, Scottish culture, feminism and romance — finally brought it all together. 


Luckily, I then had seven days at sea to scribble and brainstorm and build! By the time we docked at Southampton, I knew I had something special on my hands.


Meet Eden and Maeve…

About me

Claire Duffy, Fikabooks, Glasgow

I’m Claire and I write steamy women's fiction with a Glasgow twist.

Follow the journey>>

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