THE SUMMER WITH LUDMILA is a romance story about a young man who has become disillusioned with life in the City and goes to live and work in Oxford. Everything is fine for him in Oxford except that he is unable to find a girlfriend. He then unexpectedly meets a beautiful au pair girl from Eastern Europe. So has he found the girl of his dreams and will it be true love and happiness ever after?
The inspiration for writing romance came partly from real-life experiences and from observations both of mine and of friends of mine. In particular, I was keen to write a love story through the eyes of a young man. Rather than writing about his fantasies and his exploits on the proverbial drunken Friday night out, I wanted to concentrate on the hardships a young man faces once he has reached a certain age and finds himself somewhat isolated and outside his comfort zone. This is particularly the case when starting a new job as well as living alone in a new town. As a consequence, a young man will not have many opportunities to meet young ladies with a view to forming a serious relationship. It was these hardships and how they impacted on the daily and working life of a young man that I wanted to explore in detail.
The second key element of the story is the still relatively new topic of personal relationships between English people and Eastern Europeans. I was aware that this topic had not previously been explored in any great detail. I was very keen to look at what potential cultural and social barriers a young Englishman would have to overcome to woo an Eastern European girl and how she would respond to his courting her. Equally, where their relationship was not straightforward, whether the strain and the slow place would affect the young Englishman to the extent that he would not wish to continue the relationship. It was the unusual nature of Ben and Ludmila’s relationship which provides the flavour for the story.