Protecting her is one thing. Saving her is another.
I'm told they don't know how old I am, where I came from, or if I even have a home. All the doctors know is that I was hit by a car three weeks ago, lost my memory, and no one has tried to claim me since.
Not one person in the whole damn world knows who I am.
The social worker, Lillian, wants to put me in a shelter since I'm homeless. And nameless.
I prefer to be on the street than in a shelter.
Somehow, Lillian convinces me to live at her place. With her brother.
Billy isn't nice.
Billy has been told to protect me.
He's given Lillian six weeks to get me out of there. But I refuse to be at his mercy, and I will do everything I can to discover my identity before my time is up… or die trying.
Until I find out who I am, he can call me Lucy.
Question: What originally inspired the idea of Call me Lucy?
Rania Battany: At some point"and I'm not quite sure when"I came up with the idea of writing about a woman who gets hit by a car and loses her memory. That was the premise that got the book started. I am, what they call in the writing industry, a 'pantser'– which means I don't plan or plot my books. I start with an idea then write the story as it comes to me. The only two things I did know when I began writing Call me Lucy was that the heroine would have amnesia and the romance will be interracial.
Question: Are the characters based on anyone you know in real life?
Rania Battany: Not in this book. However, while the characters are not based on anyone I know in real life, the cultural aspects of Billy's family are based on my own family.
Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?
Rania Battany: No one character is ever fully based on one person. Instead, I incorporate snippets of my personality and that of people I know in my books, then embellish it for the sake of the story.
Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from Call me Lucy?
Rania Battany: My main intention at the time was to write an interracial romance without making the 'interracial' part a primary driver of the plot. I wanted to represent an aspect of romance in Australia I seldom saw in romance novels. After all, I'm an Australian-born Lebanese woman married to a white Australian man.
When I wrote Call me Lucy, I focused on the love story rather than emphasising the fact that it was an interracial romance. The heroine, Lucy"a white Australian woman"has amnesia and knows nothing about herself. Without giving away the story, she somehow comes to live with Billy. She suspects the language Billy and his family speaks is Arabic, but I intentionally didn't highlight that as a significant part of the plot. Instead, I wove elements of his culture into the story, purposefully not revealing his ancestral heritage until the second last chapter. This was very important to me, as I didn't want any preconceived judgements or stereotypes formed around Billy being a Middle Eastern man. What I wanted was to normalise Australian-born Middle Eastern characters in romance novels.
Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Lucy?
Rania Battany: I love Lucy's character. She is strong yet vulnerable. She still sees the best in others, even when it's hard to find something good in them. As Lucy has amnesia, she is like a blank slate, and she absorbs the world around her without any bias, which works well with the interracial aspect of the story.
Question: What or who inspired your love of writing/reading?
Rania Battany: I have always loved reading and writing. I still have the 'books' I created when I was five years old, complete with illustrations, and bound with ribbon. My dad was an avid reader. Every single night, for as long as I can remember, my dad would grab a random book from his extensive encyclopedia collection and read. So I was always exposed to reading, and that may have inspired me.
Question: What book are you reading right now?
Rania Battany: Right now, I am reading Autumn at Blaxland Falls by fellow Aussie author and friend Eliza Bennetts.
Interview by Brooke Hunter