Gateway to Romance: Louise Forster

by Louise Forster

What drew me into the romance genre?

Gosh, where do I start?

I’m quite sure I’ve been a romantic all my life. I lived it, but it never occurred to me that I could write within the genre. And then a friend said I could … and should … so I did.

Music is huge in out extended family. On weekends we’d play out favourite albums, turn up the volume and dance and sing all over the living room. Christopher Cross’s song, ‘Sailing’ was a biggie. If my sister, a fine arts painter was around, she’d would join in. On one occasion our Burmese cat prowled out and bit her in the ankle. Maybe sis’s pitch was off.

I used to sit with my ear to the speakers and sway and quietly sing along to love songs. I don’t press my ear to the speaker anymore, which is probably a good thing. Old favourites will always remain close to my heart, nevertheless I have moved on from bands such as Bread, Deep Purple, and Prince and others. Now I listen to artists such as Gwen Stefani, Pink, Adele and more. Did listening to them draw me into reading and writing romance? Probably, but having said that, anything that has to do with the arts: music, movies, concerts, fine art, fashion … oh yes … and guys on horseback mustering, and guys saving animals; you name it, I’m drawn in and will use my experiences to write. Hold on, not that I’ve had experiences of guys on horseback; but my guy does save animals, birds, reptiles, insects …

Escape published my first book, titled: Finding Elizabethwhere Jack takes Katherine to a Christmas Eve dance. The music flows and he takes her hand for a sensuous, slow dance her across the floor.

Music is a powerful medium. I’m moved by a melody and lyrics, and when they come together, it’s magic. Some can bring me to tears, while others make me swoon or laugh. There are so many writers and singers of brilliant songs way too many to name. But some of the most moving, and romantic lines, I find, are in lyrics. A whole love story is sung in 3minutes 28 seconds. The song by Bread titled ‘IF’, has powerful, touching lyrics that will arouse your emotions in about two minutes forty-three seconds.

Because Chris Isaak comes across as a cheeky bad boy, and many would say Hot, I’ve added an oldie … well, maybe not that old.


The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do
I’d never dreamed that I’d meet somebody like you
And I’d never dreamed that I’d lose somebody like you

The song below is not in the least bit romantic, but it’s the first time I’ve been able to really listen to the lyrics. Is it because the singer is awesomely hot, his voice, his expressive face or the powerful music and lyrics?

From Jonathan Zalman, a staff editor, runs The Scroll, Tablet’s news blog.

“As one YouTube user put it: “I came for the metal, I got feels.

People writing songs
That voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

28381In the sequel to Home Truths, Louise Forster returns to the sleepy country town of Tumble Creek with the story of a cop, a teacher and a mystery that will bring them together—or tear them apart.

Art teacher and occasional life model Sofie Dove wants to know what’s up with Brock Stewart. Everything about the ex SAS soldier turned police officer seems to scream passion—and it’s all for her—but he just won’t express it. All she knows is that he has a past that still keeps him up some nights.

After a semi-trailer crashes through Sofie’s house and the driver disappears into thin air, Brock insists he’s the only one who can keep her safe—but can he, when they can’t seem to trust each other?

While Sofie works on figuring out why this man keeps giving her mixed messages, Brock is determined to find out who’s out to get her—as they both find out why falling in love is a bit like being hit by a truck.

Gateway to Romance: Kerrie Paterson

by Kerrie Paterson

I have to admit to being a bit of a late starter when it came to reading romance. As a tween I was more interested in reading Trixie Belden than anything “soppy” (although there was the whole Trixie – Jim romance subplot so maybe that’s where it began!) On a side note, I have just found out there is a whole world of Trixie Belden fanfiction shipping Jim and Trixie or “Jix” as they are known! My mind is blown…


The first “real” romances I remember reading were the Wildfire and Sweet Dreams series from our high school library – which was hard to believe in a Catholic all-girls school. I was a chubby, nerdy kid who did well academically and I remember sidling up to the shelf when no-one was looking, grabbing one and taking it to a far corner to read – possibly hidden behind a more “serious” book. I have memories of being teased for reading them – obviously smart kids weren’t supposed to read romance.


I devoured those books from both the school library and my local library. Even looking at the covers now makes me happy. Over the years I’ve actually come across some of my favourite titles again in second hand book stores and snapped them up.

From those I moved on to Mills and Boon and Silhouette romances, but I have to admit to still reading them surreptitiously in public.

However, I’m pleased to admit that now I’m “out and proud” with my love of romance!

28510A pastry chef returns to her roots and discovers that the flavour of first love improves with age.

Twenty-five years ago, Polly and Matt were in love—but their relationship came to a traumatic end following the death of her best friend.

Now Polly Chappell has moved back to her home town to open a patisserie and care for her elderly parents, and the last person she wants to see is Matt Enright. Until she actually sees him, that is…

Their attraction turns out to be stronger than ever, but both have their reasons to resist rekindling their romance—until someone attempts to run Polly out of town with escalating threats and vandalism, and Matt’s protective instincts surface.

Will the secret she keeps bring them together—or get them killed?

Gateway to Romance: Elisabeth Rose

by Elisabeth Rose

Fifteen by Beverley Cleary was the first book I read that had everything a young teen wanted and I loved it. It was published in 1956 but doing a search today reveals it as still available and ranking well.


It seems too good to be true. The most popular boy in school has asked Jane out — and she’s never even dated before. Stan is tall and good-looking, friendly and hard-working — everything Jane ever dreamed of. But is she ready for this?

Suppose her parents won’t let her go? What if she’s nervous and makes a fool of herself? Maybe he’ll think she’s too young. If only she knew all the clever things to say. If only she were prettier. If only she were ready for this…

With her usual warmth, perceptiveness, and humour, Beverly Cleary creates the joys and worries of a young girl’s first crush.

That book made me want to be fifteen so I could have all those exciting experiences Jane was having. I must have been about thirteen when I read it, way back in the early sixties and it kindled a desire to read more books about romance. I can’t remember any other titles but I’ve never forgotten Fifteen.

At about the same time my cousins introduced me to Georgette Heyer. I stayed with them for summer holidays and they had all her books which I devoured pretty much non-stop. My uncle was mighty peeved when we all went to the Davis Cup tennis tie at White City and I took Devils Cub with me and read during a match. Since then I’ve always loved historical romance.


We didn’t have romance books at home although there were plenty of books in the house and everyone read. Mum and Dad preferred crime—books, not the activity—and we belonged to the library where I discovered to my delight that almost every book I read had a romance in it somewhere. A few years later, as a student, I found piles of old Mills and Boons at a friend’s coast house—the perfect summer holiday reading. And romance was front and centre.


One honeymoon, one vanished husband, one desperate wife—and the cop who is tasked to help her, but can’t seem to keep his thoughts on the job.

Honeymooner Nikki Spenser emerges from the surf at Surfers Paradise and can’t find her husband, her towel, or her clothes on the beach. Carlos has disappeared from her life as suddenly as he entered it.

In despair, Nikki returns to Sydney where she is contacted by Detective Luke Emerson, a reminder from her past she thought never to see again. Luke informs her that the man she married so recklessly in Las Vegas three weeks prior doesn’t exist. Everything she knew about Carlos is a lie, and Nikki realises she knows nothing about her husband—not where he is, not even who he is.

As Nikki and Luke chase down tenuous leads, they soon find themselves plunged into an ever-widening sea of international crime and violence, and Nikki is faced with the hard questions—how much of her love is based on lies, and how much is true?

Gateway Romance: Ainslie Paton

The romance in my reading life is of the twisted type. There was no HEA in my house. There was a good deal of misappropriation.

There was no certainly Mills & Boon. I went from Black Beauty to what I could sneak off my mum’s shelf, all age inappropriate sexy stories: Jackie Collins, Taylor Caldwell, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, Susan Howatch and Colleen McCullough.

Black-Beauty-book-cover-black-beauty-27648301-956-1201 (1)

They were read under cover by torch and snuck back into place. She’d have been horrified. Shhh, because she could still hurt me over that.

People did dreadful things to other people in those novels. They cheated, slept around, stole things, plotted and connived, wrecked their families and died, sometimes in vaguely historically accurate ways. They didn’t fall in love and stay that way.

I gobbled them up.

Later, Mum got into crime and murder mysteries and I got a library card and spent everything I earned from part time jobs on books. None of them were traditional romances. I didn’t know there was such a thing, and the Austen and friend’s classics were just hard work I associated with school, not reading for pleasure.

I stole a copy of Gone With the Wind from a holiday house one summer. It rained the entire week we were away and I’d run out of books from my own stash. It would have to do. I’d just read through James Clavell: Tai-pan, Shogun and Noble House.

Gone with the Wind

I was very bored and it was very wet and there was no bookstore in town. Gone With The Wind would have to do.


Controversial I know. Not the part where I stole the book from the holiday house, where someone else had obviously abandoned it, but for the whole is it a romance if it doesn’t have an HEA question.

Bookthingo is now shouting at her screen and will likely never read another of my books again.

Scarlett and Rhett crash and burn, but I fell for the sweeping, epic nature of the story, the heroine’s perspective and the kissing bits that were more of a conversation than an act of masculine power.

GWTW was a far more feminine read than the Clavells, Micheners, Irvings and Uris’ that were in my TBR. In that way it was a subversive read like the first Jackie Collins had been an eye-opening wild ride for a twelve year old. It stuck with me. It didn’t necessarily change my reading habits, but it made me want to create my own romances.

Took a while before I tried, but somewhere between GWTW, a long list of literary fiction with unsatisfactory conclusions, and my first novel, I learned to appreciate the value of a happy ending, because what a way to go.

Ainslie Paton might write twisty romances, but it’s not her fault, it’s the way she was brought up. Luckily, despite a host of bad influences and running with the wrong literary library crowd, she saw sense and all of her novels are HEA assured. Her latest release features a voice artist and a sound engineer. 


Love can be a great healer, except when it hurts…

As voice actor royalty, Damon Donovan is trouble.  He’s professionally intimidating.  He’s confident. He’s charming, funny and genuinely talented. And he triggers the nurturing instincts newly separated Georgia Fairweather has sworn to ignore.

Damon Donovan is used to three types of women: those who fawn, those who mother and those who want to fix him. So a reticent, prickly engineer he can neither awe nor charm triggers his interest.

A recording engineer and a voice actor should be a match to sing about, but the thrilling rhythm they create is soon drowned out by static. Georgia doesn’t know who she is, and Damon doesn’t know who he’ll become.

Can a man facing his insecurities and a woman afraid of her own instincts harmonise, or are they destined to sound good in theory, but be out of sync in life and love?