Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman


The Paradise Guest House

Genesis of Novel:

Sometimes I go in search of story ideas and sometimes they find me. My husband and I went to Bali for a vacation. I wasn’t planning on writing while I was there and I wasn’t searching for a subject for my next book. But Bali captured my heart. I loved the spectacular lush landscape, and I was charmed by the people and their culture. And yet, Bali was struggling. Just weeks before we arrived there had been a terrorist attack – the second in a few years. In the first attack, more than 200 people were killed, most of them young tourists at two nightclubs in Kuta. In the second attack, 20 people were killed and over a hundred were injured. Nothing made sense about terrorism in paradise, especially this paradise.

I remember walking along the beach in Bali and imagining a character who might come to Bali on business. Something draws her to one of the nightclubs. She’s caught in the terrorist attack. On a hike with my husband one day, I imagined more of my character’s story: a man saves her. She’s drawn to him. And on the flight home I discovered another part of my story: the young woman has to return to Bali to find the man who saved her.

By the time I returned home I was eager to write Jamie’s story. The beauty of Bali had inspired me. But the tragedy of terrorism in Bali had moved me to create a story of one woman’s struggle to find peace, love and a home.