Friday Five: Amanda Knight

2796Author: Amanda Knight
First Published with Escape: April 2017
Favourite Romance Trope: I do love the redemption trope… can’t go past a good military/protector one either!
Ideal Hero: a man strong of mind and body, and who displays honour, integrity and loyalty in action and thoughts – he is a man of his word, knows what he will and won’t stand for, and doesn’t waver, unless it is to protect someone he loves. He has well developed EQ and IQ, and has a non-arrogant self-confidence. He is fiercely protective of those he loves, intensely passionate and if ever he can give his heart (I do love a bit of a tortured hero!) it will be deeply and a one time only thing! My perfect hero also loves a strong, smart woman who makes him want to be the best man he can (even if it takes him a while to realise it!) someone who can push his buttons, make him ask the hard questions of himself, and have him always want to get back to her when they’re apart… above and beyond anyone, and anywhere else.
Ideal Heroine: She is a strong, smart women who also has a vulnerable side (that isn’t evident at first.) There’s something about her that allows others to feel safe. My ideal Heroine isn’t perfect, but can hold her own amongst her peers (with men and women), but doesn’t see it as a male/female thing, simply a ‘person’ thing to be the best she can be. She doesn’t let anyone treat her any less than she deserves, no matter the circumstances. She holds people accountable for their actions, and also allows him to redeem their mistakes, with their dignity still intact. She’s gutsy without being reckless, and has the courage, the tenacity to do what needs to be done, even when she is terrified. She can say she’s sorry, and admit to her mistakes. She’s not afraid to be real.
Latest Book: Situation Critical

What came first: the plot or the characters? What did you find more difficult to write?

It’s always different for me… but for Situation Critical – a character came first! My initial inspiration was for Finnegan, and then, the skeleton of a plot came to life which in turn inspired Nate, then Beth and lastly my villain, Lawson. I find the plot points the most tricky to write, because I usually know my characters, and have an idea of where they’re going… it’s just figuring out the vehicle I am creating to get there, it sometimes doesn’t come to me as quickly as I’d like!

Where do you like to write? How do you write?

Where do I like to write… hmm, ideally, it would be in either a cabin in the mountains, where it is perennially winter, with an open fire and endless piping hot tea (during the day) and a good shiraz (in the evening!) OR in an Hampton-esque modest home with huge verandahs and luscious lounges, close to the ocean… also in winter with the beverage preferences as per the cabin! But seriously…

Writing Space (Amanda Knight)

I write in my office, at my desk (where I can close the door when the family are home) or at the dining table (big windows, lots of light) when there’s no one else around. I also write on the train heading into work (that’s usually scribbling ideas in my notebook), at the library when my home is just too busy for concentration, and sometimes, at my local café where the comings and goings become a little like white noise, that somehow helps me immerse in the words. Although, once, I had a fellow guest tap me on the shoulder, and ask if I was alright – I’d been writing a scene where my villain killed someone, and it seems my facial expressions whilst doing so were a little alarming! Perhaps public writing isn’t such a good plan?!

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there? And/or what is some of the best writing advice you have received?

My advice for aspiring authors: Keep. Going. Don’t. Stop. I keep this picture on my wall… (the two men digging in the diamond mine) because I have experienced the ‘almost there’ so many times before Situation Critical was accepted. If you want it bad enough, if you persevere, keep honing your craft… listen to feedback, continue to learn, work out how it all ‘works’ best for you, your voice, your circumstances, and do it all with respect and dignity for both yourself and those you’re working with… success will come. I truly believe that! Also, behave like a published author no matter where you are on your journey… be kind to people, build your networks, be gracious.

What drew you to contemporary romance?

What draws me to writing contemporary romance? In essence, I think it is the hope that romance inspires in the reader. I love the possibility, that we as writers, can maybe encourage someone to take that step, make that call, seek that help, follow that dream – and truly make a difference to their lives. I think as writers, we have the gift of being able to show that people can be in bad circumstances and still remain good souls. That people can overcome the most hideous adversities… that someone can be broken, bitter and incapable of giving or receiving love… but when the right person comes into their lives, anything is possible, and hearts and souls can mend… I believe that a deep and soul stirring love is the most glorious of feelings, and that kindness, and the gift of caring for another being, allowing them to be ‘good enough’ no matter how bruised and broken they appear at first, brings rewards that cannot be measured… and as writers, we have the wonderful opportunity to capture all of this, and share it, within the pages of a book.

What are your favourite books/authors to read (maybe pick 3)? Romance or otherwise? What draws you to those books?

I have quite an eclectic taste in books. I don’t actually have a distinct favourite genre… Outside of the works of my author friends, I’ve a number of books by Honey Brown, JT Ellison and Sandra Brown, as well as Diana Gabaldon, JR Ward, Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin… amongst SOOO many others. I have a very special place on my shelves for authors D’Arcy Niland, Ruth Park and Dymphna Cusack – Australian authors who greatly inspired me when I was younger, and first started writing seriously.

What draws me to a book? If I read a review or blurb that interests me, or have been recommended a book (and it generally interests me), I’ll give it a whirl (I am partial to investigating a book due to liking its cover too!) Once I’m inside the pages, I’ll keep reading if the characters weave their way into my heart, or have me asking questions I want to know the answers to, quickly. I also like to see evidence of the development potential of the character within the first chapter or two… especially the characters I want to dislike but can’t quite, yet. I love clever mystery/suspense/intrigue plots, with enough setting that I can hear, see, smell where I am. Sharp witty or heart-wrenching dialogue grabs me, as does triumph of the human spirit stories such as The Help, To Kill A Mockingbird and The Book Thief.

My favourite part of reading is immersing in other lives, moments, and sometimes, historical events… I love the notion (and believe to my core) that words change lives… even if it’s only momentarily… and when I read a book that captures me, the entire world outside the pages doesn’t exist… pure escapism!

So I read in your bio that you have some adorable pets… do they hinder or help you when you write?

Bonnie’s a constant, no drama, positive presence whenever I am writing… so good to have around! Definitely a ‘helper’ when I’m writing!

Vincent - superior and aloof (Amanda Knight)

As to my cat – well, he’s no Bonnie, but not really a hindrance! He’s a standoffish, super superior and very vocal Blue Point Ragdoll named Vincent… or as he’s known most of the time around here, Puddy. He’s not super snuggly or friendly, and mostly only hangs out with me if his belly or nature is calling! He will meow out a near sentence, with tone and intense stares if he needs feeding, or wants to be on the other side of whatever door he’s closest to! He rules Bonnie with a cat 1-2 slap and a ear flattened glare if she’s too overzealous when he’s deemed it a suitable activity to come out and hang with (near!) her. Interestingly though, when Bonnie was away a few days at the vet, he spent a lot of time walking in circles around her bed, and bowls, did a lot of meowing, and slept in her bed (actually, that’s a norm – poor dog sleeps on the floor, whilst the cat sprawls out in her bed!) – he was clearly missing her! Maybe he cares about others after all?!


31096

A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are,  Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

 

Feed Your Reader: A soldier, a submarine, and a one-night stand

31643

A submarine, a one-night-stand, and a forbidden workplace romance…

Kurt Garland is at a crossroads: sign for another two years as a submariner or leave and rejoin civilian life. With only weeks to make up his mind, he’s torn between the financial stability and mateship of life in the Navy, and the freedom and balance outside of the military. With big life decisions on the line, Kurt needs space to think, so a one-night-stand with a sexy stranger is all he can commit to. Until his sexy stranger shows up on his submarine…

Getting accepted into the Submarine Corps was an enormous career goal for Rainy Miller, and she has no intention of screwing it up. A Marine Technician for the last eight years in the surface fleet, Rainy craves the new challenges of a submariner. With her training complete, she’s about to join a boat for the first time, and her career relies on a good impression. When her one night stand shows up in the galley, she has to shut it down, walk away, pretend it never happened. But all submariners know that secrets don’t stay secret for long on a sub.

“the writing style was amazing and this book came together perfectly” – Aresha’s Book Corner

“Shona is a new author for me, so I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her” – Jennifer, Goodreads

Available today!

Exclusive Excerpt: Diving Into Trouble by Shona Husk

31643

A submarine, a one-night-stand, and a forbidden workplace romance…


This was turning from potential hook-up into a possible date rather too quickly. He wanted to scrabble around and find something to grab onto as the ground shifted and tilted, yet a date would be nice. He hadn’t been on a real date in a while. But even as he smiled and watched the play of light on her cheek and lips, he knew it wouldn’t last.

They’d break up before he sailed. That’s what he did; the long-distance thing never worked out. He’d seen too many failed relationships on the boat. Joining the navy had scuttled his dating life and reduced it down to mini relationships of three months tops. He’d pretty much resigned himself to not having a serious relationship until he rejoined civvie street.

His looming decision raised its head. He was running out of time. He had to sign on for another two years or get out. He’d stayed in last time, and started seriously saving, putting away money for when he got out. This time he wasn’t so sure he wanted to do another two years, nor was he sure about being a civilian again since it hadn’t gone so well the first time. But when Rainy looked at him she wasn’t seeing a sailor, she was seeing a cook. Because he’d told a half-truth. He liked the idea of testing out being a civilian again.

She released her glass and turned her hand so their fingers touched. Her skin was cool and dewy and her touch sent a shiver along his skin.

And what happens after the pizza?’ It was possibly the wrong question to ask, but since she was the one putting out the suggestion he wanted to know how far she was willing to go.

She stood and for a heartbeat he thought he’d gone too far, then she walked around the table and sat next to him. ‘That depends on two things.’

Two?’ His heart was beating harder than it should be, echoing the beat of the music.

Firstly, do you remember my name?’

Of course he did. ‘Rainy. Your eyes are like the sky on a rainy day.’ A beautiful soft blue-grey. He wanted to take that back as soon as the words had fallen off his tongue. It was too obvious and too much of a pick-up line.

She laughed and shook her head. ‘I’ve heard that so many times before.’

Yet she leaned closer. Close enough that he caught the faint scent of perfume. Something like spring flowers. He hadn’t expected that, for some reason he’d expected her to smell like grease and fuel. Then her hand landed on his knee, and there was a definite glint in her eyes.

That was when he realised he wasn’t the one doing the picking up. Rainy was.

He swallowed as a rush of pure lust shot through his blood.

That was sexy. As his jeans tightened around his groin, he was hoping he passed whatever the next thing was. ‘And two is?’ He was sure his voice was a little rougher, like he’d spent the night drinking and singing karaoke.

How well do you kiss?’


31643Kurt Garland is at a crossroads: sign for another two years as a submariner or leave and rejoin civilian life. With only weeks to make up his mind, he’s torn between the financial stability and mateship of life in the Navy, and the freedom and balance outside of the military. With big life decisions on the line, Kurt needs space to think, so a one-night-stand with a sexy stranger is all he can commit to. Until his sexy stranger shows up on his submarine…

Getting accepted into the Submarine Corps was an enormous career goal for Rainy Miller, and she has no intention of screwing it up. A Marine Technician for the last eight years in the surface fleet, Rainy craves the new challenges of a submariner. With her training complete, she’s about to join a boat for the first time, and her career relies on a good impression. When her one night stand shows up in the galley, she has to shut it down, walk away, pretend it never happened. But all submariners know that secrets don’t stay secret for long on a sub

Preorder now: Amazon AU, Amazon US, Amazon UK, Nook, Kobo, Google, iBooks, Booktopia

Friday Five: Fiona Greene

1d65948065817365d620cd57a5257f0dAuthor: Fiona Greene
First published with Escape: November 2014
Favourite romance trope: Returning home/the one that got away
Ideal hero: Sexy, strong and funny
Ideal heroine: Confident, capable and kind
Latest book: Home for Christmas

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

It was the eighties, and having discovered a box of Mills and Boons in my new stepmother’s house, I was instantly hooked. They all had exotic, foreign settings (lots of Betty Neels) and it wasn’t till I spent my first pay buying more romance that I discovered there was such a thing as Australian romance. Better still – Queensland romance. That’s when the dream was born.

This photo was taken in 2015 on a tour of the State Library’s Queensland Romance Author collection – a treasured experience, with so many familiar names and books.

Fiona Green

I’m drawn to romance because no matter what, there are compelling characters, places I may never travel to and a happy for now/happy ever after.

How did your latest book come to life? What was your eureka moment?

Writing Home for Christmas I had two very different critiques, and I credit them both with causing eureka moments:

  1. Theme = Family. This single statement, written exactly like it is here allowed me to take Layla and Tate’s story from a Christmas short story to a published work.
  2. I’m bored with this story, you should work on something else. I was gutted to hear this, a lone voice in a sea of “this is good”. Should I give up? Start something new? I pulled the story from my critique group, worked on it solo, and (eureka moment) learnt to trust my instinct about what it needed. In hindsight, it was the wrong book for that reader.

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

When I’m stuck, truly stuck, I take the point of view character, and flip their usual reaction to the situation they find themselves in, sending them one hundred and eighty degrees in the other direction. Then I change point of view and show the other character in the scene trying to figure it out. Chances are, what you write will end up in the bin, but the characters should at least be talking to each other, and sometimes characters surprise you with what happens next.

What’s the thing about writing that surprised you the most?

Writing is seen as a solo pursuit, but I’ve found the comradery in both my critique group and the wider romance community make it anything but. Knowledge and experience of what works and what doesn’t is shared, and there is always someone who will support you as you work through your “apprenticeship”. The friends I’ve made through writing are some of my closest, and I treasure each and every one of them.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any secret hobbies?

When I’m not writing, I split my time between my day job (in health) and an owner builder project on a rural block that will never be finished (or so it seems). I don’t have any secret hobbies, but my favourite escape is generally a run. Headphones and mobile free, I set off on a journey, and while my feet might be pounding the pavement in suburbia, my head will be deep in wherever my latest story is set.

In 2017, I’m doing an A-Z run of Brisbane – finding a different suburb to run in starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Next up: “E”.


22581What began as an impersonal-but-cheerful holiday gift for a soldier far from home becomes so much more…

Sergeant Tate McAuliffe, stationed in Afghanistan, opens his Christmas care package from Australia and is stunned by both its contents and the sender.

Fun-loving Christmas tree designer Layla Preston is a breath of fresh air for loner Tate. Although they’ve never met, their email friendship quickly develops and their feelings for each other deepen. But Layla knows the heartache that loving a soldier can bring and when Tate is injured, her deep-seated fear drives them apart. With their relationship in tatters, can Layla and Tate work through their differences, so Layla can welcome Tate home for Christmas?

Buy now!

 

Feed Your Reader: Military RomSus for Dog Lovers

31096 (1)

A taut debut novel about a wounded soldier, a courageous doctor, and a dog in desperate need of a rescue

Soldier, surgeon, traitor, dog…

When Sergeant Nate Calloway is carried into the field hospital with no memory of how he got there or where the other members of his unit are,  Australian army surgeon, Captain Beth Harper cares only about repairing his broken body. But it’s clear that something went terribly wrong on the other side of the wire, and as Nate slowly recovers, he becomes more and more anxious to return to duty, go back into the field, and rescue his friends, his unit, and the bomb detection dog that he loves.

The only way Nate can be released to active duty is if a doctor agrees to accompany him, and Beth surprises everyone by volunteering. Her role is to monitor Nate and take him right back to hospital the instant that his health deteriorates enough to put their rescue operation at risk. But as she stays close, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to his courage, his determination, and his commitment to his fellow soldiers.

Instead of a straightforward recovery, however, Nate and Beth soon realise they’ve stumbled on a tangled web of deceit and danger, and the enemy is no longer outside the wire. He is one of their own, a traitor, and he has them in his scope.

Buy now!