Friday Five: Amy Andrews

646Author: Amy Andrews
First published with Escape: 2014
Favourite romance trope: Small town
Ideal hero (in three words): Funny. Handy. Laidback.
Ideal heroine (in three words): Spunky. Quirky. Mouthy.
Latest book: Limbo

What began your romance writing career? Why do you write romance?

The need to not get off my electric blanket in the midst of a freezing cold English winter… (sorry, not very romantic!) I write romance for the happy sigh and because it privileges women’s experiences and sexuality.

Amy Andrews (2)

What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?

I plough through. Even if its shite – I can fix that in rewrites.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for a book?

I’ve recently Googled bonnet (hood) heights for pickup trucks to figure out the logistics of my hero going down on my heroine…..never did that in my old job!

Amy Andrews (1)

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Or any cute quirks in general?

I am boringly un-quirky. I save that for my characters!

Favourite book covers? What draws your eye to a romance cover?

I’m drawn to quirky or different covers. I really like the cartoony type covers (yes, I know, I’m the only one in the entire world….) because they can be really personalised/tailored to a book and are often quirky or different. Nothing quite like a hot man on romance cover or a really hot couple clearly into each other! And I really appreciate when the people on a cover actually fit the description of the characters in the book.


23731 (1)Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’  fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy.  So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

 

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Crossing Genres, Mashing Labels

Sitting down to write a book that mashes up genres isn’t something a career-minded author does lightly. Often these books are compulsions. I certainly ignored Joy and her story for two years because it was just too weird and beyond my scope of normal until I just had to write it. And it was a lot of fun – scary but liberating and I still love the world of that book so damn hard.

Unfortunately, a mash up book is often just as hard for publishers to grapple with even if they love it and the world you’ve created. Because how do you put a cover on a book that conveys romance, noir, comedy, urban family and a touch of paranormal?

How?

How do you cover Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum?

The answer was staring us in the face all the time. Embrace the quirk! The book is quirky as all giddy up – it has fornicating gold fish for crying out loud. And a brothel madam. And an ex-communicated priest! To name just a few of the eccentricities.

Embrace the quirk!

So, Limbo is getting a do-over and I cannot even begin to describe how in love with this cover I am. With Ralph there staring straight back at you, it screams quirky and I am utterly thrilled with it.

23731

For those who missed it the first time around, here are some reviews to entice you!

Roz from My Written Romance. Holy crap, that was so much fun to read. From the country-singing punk heroine and the ragged and rugged ex-cop hero, to horny goldfish, a brothel madam and an excommunicated priest, Limbo is everything I love about Amy Andrews, and like nothing I had expected.”

Marcia from Book Muster Down Under.  While Amy may feel she has gone out on a limb in breaking with her traditional romances and giving her readers something different to what they have come to expect from her by using elements she’s never attempted before (see an interview held with Amy at AusRom Today), after reading Limbo I can honestly say that, while she may feel that way, for me (a long time reader of romance and all its sub-genres), her combination of comedy, mystery, suspense and romance is an absolute winner and I’d go so far as to say that both Stephanie Plum and Erica Jewell may very well have a rival in their midst – believe me when I say you will not want to miss this!”

Carol from Reading, Writing and Riesling. In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real.”

I hope you love the new cover as much as I do and you’ll be tempted to one-click and give my quirky little baby a chance. Two more books are planned in the series. Book 2 – Neither Here Nor There – should be out early next year

Buy links: Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Google, Booktopia

Feed Your Readers: Workplace Romance and Rural Suspense

30495

She might be the biggest star in Australia, but she never forgot the small town she came from, or the man she left behind…


30494

A collection of full-length novels about what happens after business hours…

Romantic Book of the Year – Risky Business by Amy Andrews!

Photo courtesy of Ally Blake

Photo courtesy of Ally Blake

Photo courtesy of Amy Andrews

Photo courtesy of Amy Andrews

Photo courtesy of Amy Andrews

Photo courtesy of Amy Andrews

Click through to the Romantic Book of 2015


21489From USA Today best-selling author Amy Andrews comes a new single-title romance about putting pleasure before business, and the risks we all need to take when we find someone worth risking everything for.

Samantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother’s second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she’s good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.

After all, it’s not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He’ll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one.

Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn’t read to people who wouldn’t know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….

Ruby’s are red…Two nominations!

We are so proud and excited to announce our two nominations in this year’s Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (R*BY) Awards.

The winners will be announced August 22nd. Congrats to our Ruby Red Escape Artists, and all the nominees. Good luck!


Nominations in the category of Long Romance Novel…

21489From bestselling author Amy Andrews comes a new single-title romance about putting pleasure before business, and the risks we all need to take when we find someone worth risking everything for.

Samantha Evans’s life is going to hell. Not only has she rage-quit her beloved, high-powered job, but she is suddenly afflicted by hormones, free time, and an unavoidable, unignorable, undeniably gorgeous irritant in the form of Nick Hawke, her extreme sports star neighbour, who has come home to take over the reins of his grandmother’s second-hand bookshop. Sam needs something to keep her from begging for her old job back until she’s good and sure her boss understands how wrong he was, and taking a low-risk, low-stress job helping Nick at the bookstore might be just the thing.

After all, it’s not like Nick is the right guy to help her with her hormones. He’ll just be fun to look at while she searches for the one.

Nick has six months to get over an injury before Everest and a big, fat contract beckon. That means no sports, no danger and, above all else, no risks. It means playing it safe. And Nick Hawke doesn’t do safe. So he’s going to need something to stave off the boredom while selling books he doesn’t read to people who wouldn’t know a carabineer from a crochet hook. What could be safer than hiring a cranky, unemployed accountant to help run the bookstore? Sam is efficient and methodical and messing up her neat, post-it note world could be a fun way to pass the time….

Risky Business mixes the classic romance of Philadelphia Story, the humour and wit of When Harry Met Sally, and a strong, contemporary Australian setting to create a delightful, irresistible, utterly satisfying treat of a novel.


21183Jordan must save her farm from debt and sabotage – can she place her trust in a man from out of town?

Born and bred on the land, Jordan Windcroft is brave and independent. She’s had to be. Her life revolves around running her property almost single-handedly on next to no money, and waiting out her four years of probation — a rap that she took for one of her closest friends for a crime she didn’t commit.

Thankfully there’s an end to her problems in sight. Jordan’s probation period is almost up, and if she can just make the cattle sale, there’s a chance she can pull herself out of more than ten years of serious debt and keep her precious farm. The last thing she needs is for Reid Easton to start monitoring her.

Detective Senior Sergeant Reid Easton drives into Whitewater Creek on a mission to wrap up a three-year drug investigation; his only lead, Jordan Windcroft. The attraction between the two is immediate, but Reid is undercover and Jordan has a secret she can’t risk him discovering. Will either jeopardise their cause, for something as transitory as love – or will they keep their secrets to themselves?

This book is nominated under its original digital format title, Deadly Secrets.

May Titles Bloom Into Life

For your reading pleasure!

23731Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’  fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.


24128Revisit Swallow’s Fall in this beautiful short novel from Jennie Jones about an ex-military man, a single mother and the impossibility of dreams coming true.


24083From the author of the romantic horror debut Beckoning Blood comes the gripping sequel that mixes blood, sex, and magic.


Finally, all the Housewives are together at last – with four bonus stories…

24129Secrets Revealed! Bonus four epilogues, exclusive to this digital bind-up!

You’ve never met housewives as hot as these…They’re wealthy and glamorous. The elite of society. But appearances can be deceiving.

AusRomToday – Reader Choice Nominees!

We are thrilled to be super well-represented in the inaugural AusRomToday Reader’s Choice Awards! Voting is so simple, and we would absolutely love it if you found the time to support your favourite Australian authors by visiting the AusRomToday facebook page.

Here are the Escape Publishing nominees:

Best New Author21471Lisa Ireland


Best Established Author

21489Amy Andrews

22839Juliet Madison

22579Fiona Palmer


Author of the Year

21489Amy Andrews

8864Alissa Callen


Cover of the Year

21767Engaging the Enemy – Susanne Bellamy


What a Weekend!

Freshly back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference, Romance Rocks, this past weekend in Sydney, with our heads still spinning and enormous grins on our faces.

Here are the highlights:

  • Kicking off the conference with a Literacy High Tea, where librarian Vassiliki Veros charmed the pants off everyone in the room with her romance journey, her study of librarian-heroes and heroines, and the work she’s doing now for her PhD.

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it...

    Nobody knew this book existed, and now everyone is desperate to read it…

  • The Harlequin Author dinner where we celebrated with our Harlequin family, including lovely international guests Flo Nicholl and Malle Vallik
  • We also celebrated with our lovely (shirtless) guests for the evening, Marco and Jeremy.

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and I, you know, hanging out, talking

    Marco, R*BY nominee Juanita Kees and Managing Editor Kate Cuthbert, you know, hanging out, talking

  • Escape has had an amazing year, so it was fantastic to be in one room together, sharing our highs, and supporting each other.
  • The Leather and Lace opening cocktail party was a chance to catch up with people we haven’t seen for awhile (or have never actually seen in person!) While the lighting was decidedly purple (very strange), the food was great, the costumes inspired (hello Ros Baxter!), and the good times had by all.

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

    Managing Editor Kate engaged with Engaging the Enemy author Susanne Bellamy!

  • Cherry Adair was an absolute delight and joy as an international guest. She was present, hilarious, generous with her time and her expertise, so very personable, and swore like a sailor when she realised we weren’t going to get offended. What a treat it was to spend time with her and listen to her speak.
  • The Saturday workshops were also really well-run, and we have to offer congrats to everyone who stepped up to share their expertise and teach what they know to others. This kind of resource sharing is a hallmark of RWA and one of the reasons that the conference and organisation is so successful, so should never be downplayed.
  • The day sessions also allowed for more chatting with less ambient noise, so a greater possibility of having a conversation with someone, rather than just a yelled greeting.
  • The Australian Romance Readers Association held their annual book-signing event on Saturday. This in an incredible (and incredibly well-organised!) organisation, and they do amazing things for the romance community in Australia. They also have a new website: www.ireadromance.com.au,so check them out if you are interested in talking about romance (yes), meeting other romance readers (yes), and attending fab reader-focused conventions (yes!).
    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison's first book with Escape - Lord Somerton's Heir

    Alison Stuart and Kate Cuthbert at the ARRA book signing with Alison’s first book with Escape – Lord Somerton’s Heir

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

    the fabulous Amy Andrews and gorgeous Sandra Antonelli at the ARRA book signing

  • Saturday night – WHAT A NIGHT. First we have to offer the biggest, hugest, most enormous congrats to our three Escape nominees: Julie Mac, Juanita Kees, and Kendall Talbot, and also to all the other nominees, including Amy Andrews, who was nominated for a book with another publisher.
  • Emma Darcy had us all in laughter and tears as she accepted her induction into the Hall of Fame. No one, and I mean no one, will ever forget her Five Fs.
  • We also have to congratulate Kat Mayo on her Romance in the Media Award (ROMA) for her article on ABC’s The Drum: Dear Columnists, Romance Fiction is not your bitch. We’re pretty much sure she’s the only person to ever have the word ‘bitch’ etched into a glass award.

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

    Seriously, the pink lighting was very, very odd

  • Then this happened:
    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    Kendall Talbot wins the R*BY for Best Novel with Romantic Elements

    OMG!

    OMG!

  • We are so so so so beyond thrilled to congratulate Kendall on her win – the first win for her book after countless award nominations, and the first win for Escape Publishing.
  • I’d like to show you photos of what the rest of the night looked like, but what happens at the Escape After Party (and the after-after party), stays at the Escape After Party.
  • Except these photos. These totally get distribution:

    Frickin' A, man!

    Frickin’ A, man!

  • Sunday was for recovering, and more learning from generous and talented presenters. Malle Vallik’s presentation on building an author brand was very well received by those brave enough (and smart enough) to be up at 8:30am.
  • The conference for next year has been announced, with very exciting new partnerships, and a beautiful venue in Melbourne. International guests are a bit hush-hush, though the Friday workshop instructors have been lined up.
  • Finally, the conference close with Anne Gracie’s now legendary Stand-Ups, which always leaves attendees feeling engaged, excited, and downright warm & fuzzy.
  • We cannot give enough props to Shannon Curtis and her crack team of conference organisers for a well-organised, well-run, fantastic conference, and to all the attendees who made it an amazing experience all around. We’ll see you all again next year!

Urban families with Amy Andrews

When people ask me to describe Risky Business, I tell them it’s an urban-family rom-com which is kinda guaranteed to get me a blank look.

Just what the hell is an urban family?

Oh, I’m so pleased you asked!  🙂

I guess I can give you the long answer – a group of people – some could be related but not necessarily – from different places, coming together to form a community within an urban setting.

But, personally I’ve always found a picture is worth a thousand words….

bridget jonesThe first time I ever heard the term urban-family was in Bridget Jones’s Diary and her three besties are absolutely the epitome of this modern cultural phenomena. Jude, Tom, and Shazza are Bridget’s family in the city. They’re not related in any way but as a bunch of London singletons they’ve formed a close-knit, “family” unit.

Another classic example of an urban-family is the gang from Friends.

Friends, set in New York, has more complex relationships going on between its characters. Ross and Monica are siblings. Monica and Rachel are old school friends. Chandler and Ross also went to school together. Joey lives with Chandler in the apartment across the hall from Monica and Phoebe forms the 6th member of the family whose daily lives revolve around each other and their friendships.

A more modern example is the brilliant Big Bang Theory.

Big Bang is set in Pasadena starring a bunch of geeks (none of them related to each other) and one hot blonde coming from cities and towns all over the USA and finding their tribe.

All these shows have an urban family at their core. The other thing they all have is a common place to meet, which I believe is another important element in the urban-family dynamic. In Bridget Jones it’s their local pub. In Friends, it’s Monica’s apartment or maybe the coffee shop Central Perk. In Big Bang its Sheldon’s apartment.

In my urban-family rom-com Risky Business the 21489hub of the community is a second-hand romance bookshop. An injured Nick comes home to recover and, for something to do, takes over the reins of his dead grandmother’s bookshop. Samantha, his brainy, curvy neighbour and romance novel devotee needs a job so she ends up there too. Then we have the regulars that come into the shop. Old Dulcie Reardon. Sal the office worker who got dumped by her boyfriend for “getting too fat”. Kelly whose initial crush on Sam morphs into a lovely friendship. Vonnie who likes her books hot and spicy, Dora who likes a spot of romantic suspense, and Bernie who pops into buy historicals for his mum and her friends at the nursing home.

Then there’s Sam’s sister, Bec, who, although isn’t there in person until the end, is as much a part of the community consciousness as any of them.

So here we have another bunch of people from different walks of life coming together to form a community and the shop is their hub. It’s the place where books are read, lamingtons are eaten, and a campaign to save their favourite iconic tea shop from the wrecker’s ball is run. It’s the place where Nick and Sam fall in love.

I love these kind of stories. I love their urban, contemporary feel, but I also love how they have a sense of “small town” about them despite the broader cityscape. Urban-family stories are, above all, community stories with all the heart and quirk and richness that brings to a book.

I think they deserve their own sub-genre and I’m going to be writing a lot more of them!

 

Brr…it’s cold in here – Must be some July Releases in the atmosphere!

Guaranteed to generate some heat on those long, cold, winter nights 🙂

21489From best-selling author Amy Andrews comes a fabulous, funny, flirty new single-title romance about putting pleasure before business, and the risks we all need to take when we find someone worth risking everything for.


21471Lisa Ireland takes a city girl country in her debut novel: when a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, local grazier Luke is the last person who wants to notice…


21473Escape releases its first short story anthology this month, an erotic collection with a spirited twist from Elizabeth Dunk. Follow the journey of four remarkable women — Luisa, Anna, Cara, and Jan — and the four spirits that set them on a new path to sexual freedom and boundless pleasure.


21474From Escape Publishing’s Queen of historical Australian romance, Téa Cooper,  comes an adventurous new story about a privileged member of Australian’s colonial squattocracy, a bushranger, and a very special horse.


21470Discover beautiful South Africa (and a very handsome set of brothers!) in this sweet, heart-warming Cinderella story about a blogger, a billionaire, and one chance meeting.


21488The second in the fresh, exciting, romantic fantasy Shroud trilogy takes up where Tearing the Shroud leaves off — with the lives, the loves, and the mythical world beyond the veil (also 80s music).


21472NM Harris makes her debut with Escape this month with a sizzling, sexy, surprisingly sweet short story about a special anniversary. Traditionally, leather is an anniversary gift. One couple is about to take that in a very non-traditional way…