Author: Lena Dowling
First Published with Escape: March, 2013
Favourite Romance Trope: Marriage of Convenience
Ideal Hero: The only non-negotiable qualification is that he loves the heroine more than life itself (even if he doesn’t know it yet).
Ideal Heroine: Determined, resourceful, feisty, and fiercely loyal. She doesn’t need a drop dead gorgeous hero but she sure deserves one.
Latest Book: Convict Heart (Book 3 in the Convict Series)
What began your writing career? Why do you write romance?
Inspiration came reading a Mills and Boon romance set in the South Island of New Zealand (on the wild and rugged Otago Peninsula in Dunedin) when I was a teenager. Up until then all the books I’d ever read were written about impossibly far away places by American and British authors. That book made the setting and characters hyper-real. Writing suddenly seemed like something someone living at the end of the world could do. And it is truly the end of the world – there’s not a whole heck of a lot of land between Dunedin and the Antarctic. Sadly I can’t recall the name of the author or the title of the book. It would have been written in the nineteen eighties and if any reader recognises it, I’d love to know who I owe my writing career to.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
Be mean to your characters, put them through the wringer and then build them up so they can pull themselves out of it. Agonising to do when you care about your characters, but it makes for the best stories.
Which book written by someone else do you wish you had written?
Any of Jane Austen’s books but particularly Persuasion. Some say it’s semi-autobiographical and its the thought that perhaps Jane was giving herself the HEA that she never got in life that makes it so poignant.
If you could cast anyone for the movie/stage adaption of your book and characters who would they be?
Clare Bowen – who plays Scarlett on the television drama “Nashville” to play Nellie in Convict Heart the third book in my Convict series. Clare is Australian, but she is also brilliant with accents so she could do Nellie’s Irish accent beautifully, plus she has a wonderful singing voice and when she wears her hair long she’s Nellie to a “T”. And then there’s the fact she works on “Nashville” – love it, love it, love it.
Snacks while writing, yes or no?
There are people who don’t eat snacks while writing? Who are these people and what sorcery do they use to fuel their muse with thin air? Potato crisps, salted peanuts, salted cashews, milk chocolate, white chocolate… during the day… segueing to evening… which includes all of the above plus wine.
All of Sydney knows she was a convict and a prostitute, but Nellie Malone is now the manager of the ‘Tullamore’ Inn, a respectable businesswoman who makes her living on her brains and hard work – no longer on her back.
But when gentleman Harry Chester, fresh to the colonies, shows up at the Tullamore with papers of ownership and plans to collect rent, Nellie’s carefully controlled world is sent into a tailspin. She has barely enough money to keep her doors open, let alone pay an owner the rent he is demanding.
The Tullamore is Nellie’s home, her hope, and her freedom all tied up into one, and she will do anything to save it. Now, she has to decide what she is willing to sacrifice to hold on to the dreams for a future she’s only just beginning to realise.
Convict Heart is available now!