Three fabulous Escape Authors are finalists in the prestigious Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year Award (R*BY): In the Romantic Elements category: Lost in Kakadu, by Kendall Talbot and Under the Hood by Juanita Kees, and Julie Mac in the Short, Sweet category with A Father at Last.
I had already interviewed fellow Escape authors and superstars Juanita and Kendall on my JennieJRomance Blog, just before the R*BY finalists were announced and felt pretty superstar-ish myself at having done so. Therefore, I decided to track down superstar Julie Mac and ask her a few questions about A Father at Last because otherwise, I’d kinda feel left out!
This is what I discovered: Julie had a career in journalism and PR but these days she relishes the freedom of writing fiction. She lives north of Auckland, New Zealand (I lived in Auckland for 18 months but I didn’t meet Julie Mac, more’s the pity). But more importantly, guess what? A Father at Last is Julie’s debut novel!
How brilliant is that? (Now I really wish I’d met her in Auckland so that I could say ‘I knew her when’.)
Julie – let’s get straight in because I love the cover and we need more information on how A Father at Last came to life, to print, and to the finals of the coveted R*BY Awards.
In your wildest dreams, who would play your characters when it’s made into a movie?
When I sat down to write A Father at Last, about five years ago, I had a picture in mind of my hero, Ben. He had black hair, caramel coloured eyes, dark olive skin and a shadowing of black beard. He looked like Liam Connor on Coronation Street — a young Irishman with a devilish glint in his eyes and a hidden streak of darkness. Liam was played by actor Rob James-Collier, who more lately had a role in Downton Abbey. So … in a perfect world, Rob would be my Ben. I’m sure he could manage a Kiwi accent. And for Kelly, with her golden-red hair? I’d go for lovely Aussie, Isla Fisher.
Tell me when you came up with the idea for your R*BY nominated book.
I remember clearly the moment of inspiration when I knew I had to write a story about Kelly Atkinson: I saw an image — on TV or in the newspaper, I can’t remember — but the image is still imprinted on my brain. A woman was walking into a prison to visit her husband, and a little girl held her hand. What, I wondered, would it be like for a little girl to have her much-loved daddy locked up in prison? How would it change her way of thinking as an adult? And so A Father at Last was born.
Tell me where your story is set.
New Zealand: Auckland’s pretty beaches, a romantic country garden (with a honeymoon suite), a windswept cemetery — and the Auckland District Court. It’s at the latter that young public defence lawyer Kelly and bad-boy Ben Carter’s lives collide again after a gap of nearly seven years. The last time they met, they shared a night of passion which left Kelly with a broken heart, a myriad of memories and, a beautiful legacy that will last a lifetime.
Tell my why you think your story is a R*BY finalist?(Sorry to throw such a difficult question your way, but I bet readers will want to know how you feel about your story getting such a wonderful response.)
I wish I knew. Then I’d do it again next year! Obviously the readers liked it, and to tell you the truth, I liked that story too. Even having read it countless times in the writing/editing process, some passages still manage to bring a tear to my eye. Some make me laugh. So I guess you could say I wrote it from the heart, and I’m humbled to think it touched other hearts too.
Julie, the cover touches me, the storyline touches me, and your answers to these questions touch me. So go ahead and write from your heart because it’s working! And will you please come on my blog when your second book is released so that I can continue to bask in your glory?