Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Guest post - My three-day trip to LA and how it inspired the chapters of I Have Never set in Hollywood by Camilla Isley


Title: I Have Never Author: Camilla Isley Release Date: July 13th, 2017 Genre: Chick Lit


My three-day trip to LA and how it inspired the chapters of I Have Never set in Hollywood

The main setting of I Have Never is New York City, but I gave my characters a short Californian gateway in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to visit the city earlier this year with my husband and took some inspiration for the locations my characters visited. Here are all of them.

Santa Monica
In the book, I made Richard and Blair stay in a hotel in Santa Monica with a view of the peer and the beach. I think this is one of the nicest spots to stay while visiting LA. The city itself isn’t exactly “walking distance”, but Santa Monica is a little walkable paradise within LA. You can start your day with a stroll down the beach, or run if you’re the athletic type like Blair, and reach all the way down to Venice Beach. And in the evening if you’re tired from all the touring of the day, you can simply walk the promenade of Palisade Park—finally no need for a car. There’s the park and the view of the beach on one side of the road and a large selection of restaurants on the other. Sunsets here are a thing to watch.

Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard

Ah well, of course your first time in LA you’ll want to take a stroll down the stars-paved road… I always found these to be the most underwhelming parts of the city… There really isn’t much to say. Go there, have a look at the stars, and move on to Beverly Hills…

Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive

I have three words for you: shopping, shopping, shopping! This is a neighborhood filled with shops, nice restaurants, and cafès. It’s nice to take a walk around, do some window shopping, and maybe a drive among the perfectly kept townhomes of Beverly Hills. This is where Blair and Richard do most of their “shopping research” for Blair’s article One Day Shopping Spree in LA.

If you’re fans of Pretty Woman here you’ll find the famous hotel Julia Roberts and Richard Gere spend their nights at. Right at the beginning of Rodeo Drive, impossible to miss.
Traveling tip: From N Beverly Drive and N Canon Drive in the block between Dayton Way and Wilshire Boulevard, you can access an underground parking lot where the first two hours are free. Yeah, you heard me correctly. Two-hour free parking in Beverly Hills!
Traveling tip: If you’re in for a light lunch break, try a salad from Sweet Beverly. I loved them. And it’s super nice to eat sitting in the sun in Beverly Canon Gardens.

Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory

As Blair says in the book, the view from Griffith Observatory is the one view not to miss in LA—and admission to the building and grounds is always FREE. From this vantage point you have the city’s skyline on one side and the Hollywood sign on the other. The observatory is set amidst a park with many walking trails, you could even hike 8/9 miles to the Hollywood sign. Now, if you want to get closer to the sign driving… that’s a whole different story. (See traveling tip)

Traveling tip: The locals really hate tourist trying to get closer to the Hollywood sign with their cars. You’ll find many obstacles on your path including a series of fake road blocks—real “LA City Authority” looking, but still fake—and other impediments like flashing signals “no access to Hollywood sign”. We were lucky enough to stumble on a particular road block surrounded by city workers who assured us it was fake and was put in place by the residents to discourage visitors. So if you really want to get close, you’ll have to study ahead and check current city traffic limitations. Avoiding Saturdays and Sundays may be a good idea, as parking seems forbidden everywhere near the sign at weekends.

Downtown and Disney Hall

In recent years the transformation of downtown LA has been incredible and Disney Hall shines in the middle of it. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the building as soon as you set eyes on it, and I immediately knew I wanted this to be the setting of the fairytale ball where we see the first sparks of attraction between Richard and Blair.
The rooftop Blue Ribbon Garden is truly enchanting and the perfect set for a romantic evening.

Traveling tip: Access to the concert hall is free. It has visiting hours and it’s possible to take self-guided audio tours and guided tours most days, also free. Unless you’re in a numerous group, 14 or more. All tours are about an hour long. Even if you don’t have time to take the whole tour, it’s worth to take the stairs up to the rooftop garden and walk its magical winding paths.

The Studios

This part is not in the book, as Blair and Richard stay in LA for a very short time. But since we’re talking Hollywood I thought the studios deserved a mention.
Probably the most famous spot for studios-goers in LA is the Universal Studios theme park, but my husband and I wanted to have a more “real” feel of what a cinematographic set really looks like, so we chose to tour the Warner Bros Studios. The visit lasts about two hours and it’s fantastic. On board of golf carts, visitors are shipped across outdoor and indoor real TV and Movie sets with a guide explaining how a little patch of land in LA can be made to look like an entire jungle on screen. Also if you’re fans of Harry Potter there’s an entire floor dedicated to props from the movies and you can sit under the sorting hat and be assigned a house. At the end of the visit you also get to sit in Central Perk… the actual set of Friends!

Traveling tip: If you want a chance to spot celebrities, don’t go during the weekend.
Traveling tip: If you can plan your visit to LA a bit in advance, you should visit this website and explore the possibility to be part of the audience during the taping of an episode of your favorite show. While we were visiting The Big Bang Theory set, the guide explained that all the laughing you hear on TV is recorded in real time from the audience as the actors shoot each episode.


 Twenty-nine-year-old Blair Walker is a girl with a plan, or more a girl with a list. A list of dos and don’ts to live the perfect life, land a dream career, and marry Mr. Right. When Blair loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend all in one day, she starts to wonder if she’s had it all wrong. And what better way to find out than experience everything the list forbade? With hilarious consequences, Blair will discover some items are trickier to tick off than she’d thought… A laugh out loud romantic comedy perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella, and Mhairi McFarlane. First Comes Love is a series of interconnected romantic novels. However, each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband in an adventure abroad. She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.
Check out the full tour-

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July 14th
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July 15th
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July 16th
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July 17th
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July 18th  
July 19th
Kristin's Novel Café - Book Excerpt Simona's Corner of Dreams - Author Guest Post Bookish - Book Review
July 20th
TheBlossomTwins - Book Review Grass Monster - Book Review Chick Lit Central - Author Q&A Living Life with Joy - Author Guest Post
July 21st
ItaPixie's Book Corner - Book Review Rae Reads - Book Review Novelgossip - Book Review Whispering Stories - Book Review Ali - The Dragon Slayer - Book Review A Daydreamer's Thoughts - Book Review Steamy Book Momma - Book Excerpt
July 22nd
BookLoverWorm - Book Review Pretty Little Book Reviews - Book Review Book Lover in Florida - Book Excerpt

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