Friday Five: Marilyn Forsyth

2585Author: Marilyn Forsyth
First Published with Escape: April 2017
Favourite Romance Trope: Lovers Reunited
Ideal Hero: Tall, red-headed, Scot
Ideal Heroine: outwardly strong, inwardly vulnerable (4 words, I know. Hope that’s ok.)
Latest Book: Falling In Love Again

What began your romance writing career?
Having had over a dozen short stories published in magazines, I wanted to try my hand at writing a full-length novel and, because I love to read romance, it seemed a natural progression to try to write it. I joined RWAus and a writing group (Breathless in the Bush), and from there everything fell into place. I won The First Kiss competition in 2012 and that entry became The Farmer’s Perfect Match, published by Harlequin MIRA Australia in 2016.

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Why do you write romance?
As a reader of romance, I want to experience every emotion, every high and low, every fascinating sensation that comes with falling in love. As a writer of romance, that is exactly what I want to bring to my readers. All that, and a happy ending, of course!

How did your latest book come to life? What was your eureka moment?
The starting point for Falling in Love Again came with reading an article on Eric, the opalised pliosaur, one of the exhibits at the Australian Museum in Sydney. My vivid imagination went crazy at the thought of discovering such a unique find, but I was quickly brought back to Earth upon learning that such discoveries are often not disclosed because the opal is worth more than the fossil. What a great external conflict—two characters fighting over the future of a buried treasure! From there, Gemma and Jamie emerged, with all the emotional inner conflict that reunited lovers face.

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What do you do when you’re stuck with a scene?
Scream, swear, tear my hair out. Just kidding! Although there are times…

Mostly, I resort to writing what I want from the scene by hand; there’s something about pen and paper that helps me to focus and get my ideas down quickly. From those notes, I choose a couple of scenarios, list the pros and cons of each, and make a decision of which idea to go with.

If I’m having real difficulty, I seek advice from my fabulous crit partners. They know me and my writing almost as well as I do and their advice is always invaluable.

If you could cast anyone as the main characters for the movie/stage adaptation of your book, who would they be (and why are they perfect for the role)?

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My perfect Jamie would be Aussie actor James Stewart. He has that larrikin adventurer look about him that I envisaged for Jamie as I was writing him, plus a sadness to his eyes that Jamie has. I find that very appealing.

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My perfect Gemma would be Aussie actress, Teresa Palmer. Though beautiful, she doesn’t believe it herself, and she has the right combination of strength and vulnerability to portray a woman recovering from an abusive relationship.

Besides writing, what is something else that you’re really good at?

I love drawing and painting. Always have. I’m not sure that I’m really good at it, but I do get compliments (and not just from the family!). I’ve worked in both oils and watercolours, and they both have their own particular appeal. I love the immense depth of colour that oils can bring to a traditional still life, but I also love the crazy unpredictability of creating in watercolour. I guess that reflects the two sides to my personality—basically logical with a bit of the frivolous thrown in.


31095 (3)A charming adventurer. A pragmatic paleontologist. A hundred-million-year-old treasure buried in the Australian outback.

The last person Gemma Stephens expects to meet in the tiny, remote, opal-mining town of Rainbow Cliffs is Jamie Coltrane, her university boyfriend who chose his past over their potential future. Now, seven years later, he is the only obstacle between her and the goal she has been pursuing tirelessly since he left. The goal that means everything for her future and that of her six-year-old son, the son Jamie doesn’t know is his.

Jamie has long outgrown the wanderlust that caused him to leave Gemma, and he and his father have settled into Rainbow Cliffs, making a living out of opal mining and running the only accommodation in town. But now a big find — a once-in-a-lifetime find — has opened up opportunities that Jamie never thought possible. Opportunities that mean everything for his father and himself.

Fate may have thrown them back together, but this is no happy reunion. There is only one fossil, and there can be only one winner in this battle between preservation and prosperity. Gemma and Jamie may have the chance to find true love — or be torn apart, this time forever.

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Feed Your Reader: Country spices up the City

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A country boy meets a city girl in this sexy opposites attract story from best-selling author Mandy Magro.

Blake Wellstone is a cowboy through and through, his wealth and status obtained by years of hard work on his cattle stations spread out across Australia. But this farmer isn’t looking for a wife — his first love ended in tragedy, and he will never put his heart on the line again. The land is his love, and he’s happy that way.

Sasha Hepworth has goals and ambitions and she has worked very hard for her success. She’s just forgotten how to enjoy herself. So a weekend fling with a gorgeous cowboy is just what she needs  after all, it can’t go any further. She’d never leave the conveniences and beauty of the city for a dusty outback town.

But a weekend of fine dining and spectacular sights isn’t enough for Blake and Sasha, and the growing feelings that neither can deny make them question everything about their lives. When a city girl meets a country boy, will they find middle ground?

“I highly recommend Mandy’s books to anybody who likes to read Australian rural romance” – Goodreads

The Billionaire Cattle Baron is now available from your favourite e-tailer.

iBooks, Booktopia, Nook, Kobo, Google, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Quiz: Who’s Your Ideal Hero?

Mandy Magro’s sexy new story The Billionaire Cattle Baron is out soon. To introduce Blake, our titular hero, she prepared the following quiz, to help you determine your ideal book boyfriend…

Answer seven sexy questions to determine your ideal hero…

1 – How do you like to be kissed?

A. Grabbed and pressed against the wall as he claims your lips with his
B. He run his hands through your hair and feather kisses on your lips

2- What gift would you like to get from your love interest?

A. A pair of fluffy handcuffs and some massage oil
B. A bunch of sunflowers

3- How do you like your dates to be planned?

A. Your date calls you and tells you where to be, when, and suggests you wear no underpants
B. Your date rings and asks if you have any preferences and when you’re free

4- For a date you’d like a man that takes you…

A. To a restaurant that does dining in the dark, so you can be a bit naughty
B. To a candlelit restaurant where you can gaze at each other across the table

5- How would you like your man to keep fit?

A. Boxing or some form of martial arts
B. Tennis

6- What man are you physically attracted to?  

A. The rough, dark and mysterious kind
B. The white-collar kind who is sharp, pressed and untouchable

7- How would you like to be asked to get married?  

A. In the throes of breathless passion
B. Traditionally, down on one knee

Results

If you answered mainly A, you’re drawn to the alpha male like a bee to honey, you can’t resist a man that can make you buckle at the knees with a simple, smouldering glance.

If you answered mainly B, you like a sensual hero who wants a true partner, one that likes to win you over with sweet flattery and gentle touches.


Check out Mandy’s alpha-male hero, Blake, in The Billionaire Cattle Baron out September 4. Pre-order links below!

32047 (1)A country boy meets a city girl in this sexy opposites attract story from best-selling author Mandy Magro.

Blake Wellstone is a cowboy through and through, his wealth and status obtained by years of hard work on his cattle stations spread out across Australia. But this farmer isn’t looking for a wife — his first love ended in tragedy, and he will never put his heart on the line again. The land is his love, and he’s happy that way.

Sasha Hepworth has goals and ambitions and she has worked very hard for her success. She’s just forgotten how to enjoy herself. So a weekend fling with a gorgeous cowboy is just what she needs  after all, it can’t go any further. She’d never leave the conveniences and beauty of the city for a dusty outback town.

But a weekend of fine dining and spectacular sights isn’t enough for Blake and Sasha, and the growing feelings that neither can deny make them question everything about their lives. When a city girl meets a country boy, will they find middle ground?

One click: iBooks, Booktopia, Google, Nook, Kobo, Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Exclusive Excerpt: The Billionaire Cattle Baron

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A country boy meets a city girl in this sexy opposites attract story from best-selling author Mandy Magro.

She looked back at him, her eyes now filled with wanton hunger. Silence fell and the atmosphere inside their bubble filled with spark and sizzle, heat and desire. She wanted him just as much as he wanted her. This was hazardous territory. The intensity of his yearning was different with other women. If he got this exquisite creature back to his suite, he would never want to let her go.

Well, I better grab a table before they all go. This is a popular place on the weekends … as you can see.’ Her voice was shaky, a little breathless, as she seized his gaze with her own. ‘And I’m ravenous.’

Her last word was emphasised, as her eyes remained transfixed to his for that moment too long, as though she was directing it to him, suggesting she was hungry for him. Was she? His eyes fell to her chest as he noted her breathing quicken. ‘I’ll bring your drink over to you. Or you can join me at my table, if you like.’

Before the goddess could answer, the spritely French waiter buzzed to their side with a cloth. Their sensual bubble burst. Blake wanted to tell him to bugger off, but held his tongue. Manners cost nothing. The waiter acknowledged them with a smile and in what felt like mere seconds had mopped the cocktail up. Standing as though he had been sitting on a thorn, he addressed them with a nod. ‘Can I be of any more assistance madam and monsieur?’ His eyebrows were raised so high they almost disappeared over his balding hairline.

No, but thank you,’ Blake replied before turning his attention back to his stunning captor. He waited patiently for her acceptance of his offer as the waiter sped off in the opposite direction.

She brought her eyes to his, and this time the look of wantonness had faded, replaced by apprehension. His heart sunk. He wanted her to trust him. Desperately. Why? He hadn’t a fucking clue.

Oh, thanks for the invite, but I won’t intrude.’ She pointed to a table right over the other side of the restaurant.

His already waning optimism sunk.

She smiled, but it was forced. ‘I’ll make myself comfy over there. And please don’t bother yourself with bringing it to me, just get the waiter to deliver it.’ She laughed a little uncomfortably as she looked towards the man that had mopped up her cocktail. ‘We must let him do his job. He clearly takes it very seriously.’

Blake nodded, his voice evading him. Women rarely said no to his charms. Yet the one he wanted most was knocking him back. She was going to walk away and he might never see her again. He almost fell to his knees. This beautiful woman, with flawless olive skin, long silky dark hair and piercing green eyes that dazzled like jewels upon her delicate face was a work of art—an exquisite painting but yet somehow broken beneath the exterior. A piece of art he had to make his own.

Although she was brushing him off, he intuitively knew there was a hidden meaning for her change of heart, a fear in her that he too processed. He craved to whisk her away to his suite to make her feel safe and loved, cherished and protected, while he bestowed pleasures upon her that a woman of her calibre deserved. His whole mind, body, heart and soul ached for intimacy with her, to be at one with her. He wanted to know how she tasted, how her skin would respond beneath his touch and how she sounded when she tumbled over the edge of ecstasy in rapture.

Then something stirred deep within him and took over his ability to think rationally.

He had to do something, anything, to leave a lingering within her so tantalising she went home thinking of him, wanting him, desiring him and craving him. Because he knew, if she walked away forever, he would regret it for the rest of his life.

It was now or never.

The Billionaire Cattle Baron will release 4 September 2018. 

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

Friday Five: Eva Scott

1523Author: Eva Scott
First published with Escape: 2004 – The Last Gladiatrix
Favourite romance trope: Second chance love
Ideal hero (in three words): Seasoned, magnetic, strong
Ideal heroine (in three words): Independent, curious, vulnerable
Latest book: Red Dust Runaway

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

During my teenage years, I spent hours scouring the second-hand bookshops for romance novels with my mother. We had our favourites and it was like a treasure hunt for something we hadn’t read yet. When I decided to try my hand at writing a novel it was a no-brainer to start with romance. Romance readers are more discerning than people give them credit for and if you can please them you’re on your way to becoming a good writer.

What was the best writing advice you ever received?

Writing is a discipline. Sit down and write. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad, but if you don’t write its merely a daydream.

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

The first piece of inspiration for Red Dust Runaway came from a Vogue Australia photo shoot in the Outback. Beautiful images of such a timeless land.

My mother, who was battling cancer at the time, put me on to the Trivago Man. She was so sick that the fact she called me to tell me about this incredibly delicious man on the telly piqued my interest. He formed the inspiration for my hero, Kit.

Eva Scott - Christian Goran Trivago

I saw One Direction’s Royal Variety performance. Those poor boys looked exhausted, as if someone had propped them up with sticks and told them to sing (which they probably had). They seemed to have everything they’d ever dreamed of, but no life of their own.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/familiar? Do you have one already?

An otter! I can connect with the inquisitive, playful and determined nature of an otter.

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As for pets, I have an old cocker spaniel named Taj, after the Australian surfer. When he was younger he liked to jump on a surf board but now he’s quite blind and finds it a little overwhelming. He’s been my constant companion for 12 years. He’s put up with all sorts of adventures and nonsense from me. He’s been the dog of a lifetime. When he goes out with my husband and son, it’s him I miss following me around the house!

Eva Scott -Taj 2017

If you could cast anyone for the movie/stage adaption of your book and characters, who would they be?

If Red Dust Runaway was to be adapted for the screen I’d love Emma Stone to play the part of Iris, our very talented but sheltered heroine who’s on a journey of self-discovery.

Eva Scott - Emma Stone

For the hero, Kit, I want Christian Goran. Of course. Happy to give him his big break.

trivago Australia 2014 TV commercial (LINK to Youtube vid)


31475One jaded rock star. One sheltered classical musician. One hell of a red dust road trip…

Sheltered, coddled, gifted, Iris longs for something more than practice and performing. She wants to rebel, break the rules, have a hot affair, fall in love — to really live before happily committing to her classical music bubble. But her strict parents and her stricter schedule keep her confined to her gilded cage, even as she yearns desperately to be free.

Super star, successful, and sick of all of it, Kit just wants to stop. Stop the touring and the recording and the media and the bickering with his band mates. After two years on the road, he’s coming apart at the seams. He has to slow down, calm down, clear his head — to really think before recommitting to his rock star lifestyle. But his manager and the tour schedule keep him locked to his super star lifestyle, even as he rages against the confinement.

A chance encounter in a car park leads to a snap decision and an enormous risk: suddenly Kit and Iris are on an extraordinary road trip together across Australia, making their own choices, breaking all the rules. But reality is chasing them more quickly than they can know, and soon Kit and Iris will have to decide whether they are just running away — or running away together.

 

Feed Your Reader: Rural Suspense and a Trope Bundle

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Still waters run deep in Wongan Creek…

When spray drift ruins his crop and throws his ability to hold on to the family farm into question, Harley Baker wants to confront his neighbour and shout his rage and worry to the sky. But arguments are tricky when the woman whose herbicides killed his crop is also the woman he’s loved his whole life.

Tameka Chalmers knows that her father’s farming methods are outdated, inefficient, and even dangerous, so when Harley charges her with the loss of his livelihood, she can only accept the blame. There’s so much she would like to do differently, but her father’s rule is absolute and if she wants to keep working the farm she loves, she must do as she’s told.

But the simple action of speaking with Harley, the man she wants but can never have, starts an unexpected chain reaction of events that throw everything she’s ever known into question: her past, her family, her life. Dark secrets come to light and when Tameka is injured in a house fire, she and Harley have one small chance to seize a lifetime of happiness, if only they are able to rise from the ashes and claim it.

“An intriguing romantic suspense, Secrets at Wongan Creek is one I highly recommend.” – Brenda, Goodreads

“It’s easy to get lost in Juanita Kees’s take on the Australian rural communities.” – Dísir, Goodreads

“I truly enjoyed the characters, the Australian setting and the author’s writing.” – Jo Ann, Goodreads

Available now!

 

 

 


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Three full-length novels about those situations where you find yourself up close and personal…

What Love Sounds Like – Alissa Callen

Outback speech pathologist, Mia Windsor, believes her morning from hell is over. Then city-boy Kade Reid strides into her office and announces he and his wide-eyed niece are her new clients.

For Kade Reid, money is as important as breathing. But when he becomes an instant father to four-year-old Tilly, he escapes to the only place he was allowed to be a child…the family property of Berrilea.

As Mia and Kade work together to help Tilly overcome her speech delay, can they face their fears in order to give Tilly the family she so desperately needs?

Getting Real – Ainslie Paton

Rielle Mainline is a rock star with a hardcore image, a troubled heart, and a tour to front with her band, Ice Queen. She should be ecstatic. But the tour includes Sydney and Rielle has spent years running away from that city.

Jake Reed knows Rielle’s reputation as a prize bitch will make being Ice Queen’s tour manager a challenge, but Jake’s confident he can handle her — until he meets her. Sparks fly, tempers flare, and two loners are about to discover that being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.

Loving The Prince – Nicole Murphy

Cassandra Wiltmore is the heir to the throne of Rica, but it’s unlikely she’ll be stepping up any time soon. So she spends her days managing and building the Rican Balcite Mining Company. When an unwelcome bid for the mining license is announced, and threats and thefts ensue, Cassandra is forced to hire a new protector. If only the best man for the job wasn’t also the best-looking man she’s ever seen.

Kernan Radaton has ambition, and as protector to Cassandra Wiltmore, he’s well placed to reach his goals. If only his new all-business boss didn’t make him think only of pleasure. Now is not the time for a distraction, but once everything is safe again, Kernan has new goals — ones that involve a lot of time spent getting to know his boss on a very personal level.

Available Now!

Feed Your Reader: Small Towns and Second Chances

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He’ll never come back to stay, unless someone asks him to…

Funerals can bring people together who are best kept apart. Ethan Foster, home to mourn his sister-in-law, finds himself as unwelcome as ever in the town that once meant the world to him. For more than a decade he’s been saddled with a bad reputation – a drunk, a deserter – and he’s lived with it, will keep living with it, because the only way to clear his name is to share his secrets. But the secrets are not his to tell and their telling would destroy the family he loves and the woman he’s never forgiven himself for leaving behind.

Samantha O’Hara once loved freely, but now she doesn’t. Now she leaves before she’s left and keeps her vulnerabilities tucked away. But when Ethan Foster walks back into town, finally looking at her the way she always wanted him to, she finds her hard-won armour developing chinks. She can’t – won’t – have anything to do with any reinvention Ethan is going through. But maybe this isn’t a new Ethan… Maybe he’s the same Ethan she fell in love with all those years ago.

And maybe, just maybe, this time their love will be strong enough to make him stay.

*Originally published as Ask Me To Stay. This edition is expanded and revised.

“this book has something for everyone: love, family, conflict, acceptance and forgiveness” – Goodreads

“You need to read this book” – Goodreads

 

Available from your favourite e-tailer: Booktopia, Amazon AU, Amazon US, Amazon UK, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google

Eva Scott Uncovered

Eva Scott (1)Tell me a bit about Red Dust Runaway. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

It all started with the Queen’s annual variety show on the telly. One Direction, the opening act, had appeared exhausted and strung out. Poor lads looked as if someone had propped them up with sticks and told them to sing. They took a well-deserved hiatus after that. It got me thinking about the music industry and how it can suck the very marrow from your bones if you let it. I’d started life as a sound engineer. The music industry is harsh and you have to have skin like old leather to survive. Couple that with my husband planning a trip across the Nullarbor starting at his home town of Kalgoorlie… One thing led to another and Red Dust Runaway was born.

Can you give us a little tease of the relationship between Iris and Kit? How did that come about in your head and subsequently the book?

Do you remember the last time you met someone and sparks flew, light arced between you and you just KNEW they were the one for you? That’s the moment I wanted to create. Of course, life is never that easy and inevitably there are obstacles to overcome in situations like that. I wanted to take the reader on that journey, make them feel all those delicious emotions and set it against the vast, stunning backdrop that is the Australian Outback.

What came first: the plot or the characters? What was it like writing a road trip story?

I had Kit first. My poor mother had cancer which had reduced her to being able to do not much more than watch television. She’d lost interest in everything. Then one morning she called me up to tell me to check out the Trivago Man. He was so super hot he’d managed to catch her interest. The rest is history. Mum didn’t live to see this story written but I’m sure she would have approved of my choice of hero! See what you think:

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgdLG5uihww

What draws you to Iris’s qualities as a heroine?

I have met so many versions of Iris. I think we all have a little Iris inside us. She’s trying to figure out if she’s on the right path, testing her dreams and assumptions. She wants to live, have one big adventure under her belt, before she knuckles down to the business of life. Her tenacity and resilience build as the story progresses. She doesn’t start out as strong as she ends up, learning some valuable lessons along the way about herself and the people around her. What I like best is she’s not afraid to have a go, to put herself out there even if everyone else thinks it’s a bad idea. Sometimes the best adventures are had that way.

And Kit’s as a hero?

He’s coming from the opposite end of the spectrum to Iris. He’s had an exciting life and a big career. What he wants now is something different, he just hasn’t figured out what that is yet. He wants to reinvent himself, change his life direction, swap out high-level success for high-level satisfaction. I think we can all relate to that at some stage in our lives. What I like best about him is his vulnerability. He makes mistakes by the bucket load and grows through the process of sorting out the mess he’s made.

What began your romance writing career?

Pregnancy. Seriously. I was on maternity leave from a high-pressure job and looking for ways to keep my mind occupied. I’d worked writing freelance and as a technical writer, but never tried writing a novel. I figured if not now, when? I submitted The Reluctant Wedding Planner to RWA’s Emerald Award and I’ve never looked back.

Your other Red Dust novels explore the vast setting of outback Australia, what draws you to the setting? And rural romance as a genre?

Both sides of my family come from the country – Victoria and Queensland respectively. My cousins own a couple of cattle stations in the north. I am the exception to the rule, having been born and bred in Melbourne. The thing about the country is it strips away any pretensions you might have and helps to reveal who you are. That’s very attractive to me and my characters are often going through personal transformations where the country is an active participant in that process. And as for rural romance as a genre – who doesn’t love a country boy, right?

What are your favourite books/authors to read? Romance or otherwise? What draws you to those books?

I am a complete magpie when it comes to books. I’ll read almost any genre (except horror). Anything that’s well written will have my undivided attention. I don’t have favourite authors as such, but I do have authors whose books I’ll buy in a heartbeat. Just tell me they’ve got a new book out and I’ll be at Dymocks, waving my wallet. I picked up Laini Taylor’s new book, Strange the Dreamer, and I cannot wait until my exams are over and I can lie about in the garden reading it. Kathy Lette is in town tonight and you can’t go past her for a rollicking read. But if you talk to me next week I’ll have a different list to share.

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

I have an old pine desk jammed in the corner of the living room (where I can keep an eye on kids). I grab writing time where I can find it. When I’m “in session” I’ll write a minimum of 2,000 words 5 days a week. I would like to think I can write every day but the truth is the house is full of people at the weekend making it impossible. As if I’d give up a chance to socialise! I like to map out each chapter by hand in a notebook. I bullet point the action and then use it as a guide. Sometimes things go in an entirely different direction to the one I planned, but you get that.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?

Read, read, read, read. And not just authors representing the genre you’re interested in. Read literature to see how people use language or pop culture novels to capture the zeitgeist of the moment. Reread the classics – they remain popular and relevant because the plot and characterisation is so damn good. Stay open to good writing – that includes TV and film. Pay attention to how tension is escalated, how plots are unwound and characters revealed. There is always something to learn.

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

When I’m not writing, I’m jamming the day full of other projects. I’m studying my Graduate Diploma in Education to be a history high school teacher, so there’s assignments, lectures and exams to keep me busy. I’m loving being at university. I’ve met so many intriguing people. Plenty of fodder for new novels!

I’m also a meditation teacher and I work with my husband who teaches Persian Yoga. Together we run Blue Sky Yoga and Meditation. We’re currently putting together a workshop so that keeps the dinner table conversation lively. Drives our 6-year-old nuts. He’d rather talk about how to make his own Jedi Kitten You Tube videos starring out long suffering cat, Maui. Making tiny light sabres that a cat can “hold” is harder than you’d think.

Eva Scott (2)

I volunteer at the local primary school teaching creative writing. Those kids have imaginations and creative skills that just blow me away. My job is to open them up to all the creative possibilities, wind them up and then let them go. We’re working on putting together an anthology of their work at the end of the year. I can’t wait for the community to see what these kids are capable of.

I live in a lovely, friendly seaside town so if there’s any time left over I love to head out into the community and, well, chat. A lot. I adore the fact I can wander about town and inevitably run into someone I know, or catch up with a local business owner, or even make an entirely new friend. And it makes a great diversion from writing. Or should that be procrastination….?

I hear you have some adorable dogs in your life. Do they help or hinder the writing process?

I adore dogs. I live in a town that adores dogs. A dachshund moved in next door recently. Her name is Sausage. Heaven! There’s another one nearby named Snickers – she looks like a caramel chocolate bar too. I have an elderly cocker spaniel named Taj. He’s almost entirely blind and as deaf as a post but still full of joy and playfulness. We just have to make sure the house is well lit so he doesn’t walk into things. He’s lying next to my chair as a I write this, snoring his head off. In a moment, he’ll leap up and start barking at nothing at all. Sausage will join in and I’ll spend the next five minutes trying to get them to stop. If nothing else, it ensures I don’t sit at the computer for long stretches of time.

Eva Scott (3)


31475One jaded rock star. One sheltered classical musician. One hell of a red dust road trip…

Sheltered, coddled, gifted, Iris longs for something more than practice and performing. She wants to rebel, break the rules, have a hot affair, fall in love — to really live before happily committing to her classical music bubble. But her strict parents and her stricter schedule keep her confined to her gilded cage, even as she yearns desperately to be free.

Super star, successful, and sick of all of it, Kit just wants to stop. Stop the touring and the recording and the media and the bickering with his band mates. After two years on the road, he’s coming apart at the seams. He has to slow down, calm down, clear his head — to really think before recommitting to his rock star lifestyle. But his manager and the tour schedule keep him locked to his super star lifestyle, even as he rages against the confinement.

A chance encounter in a car park leads to a snap decision and an enormous risk: suddenly Kit and Iris are on an extraordinary road trip together across Australia, making their own choices, breaking all the rules. But reality is chasing them more quickly than they can know, and soon Kit and Iris will have to decide whether they are just running away — or running away together.

Available now!

 

 

Exclusive Excerpt: Summer Return by Elise K Ackers

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He’ll never come back to stay, unless someone asks him to…


Samantha O’Hara stood so close to the window that her breath fogged the glass. She wiped it clean with her sleeve, her eyes never leaving the men she’d known longest in her life. She’d expected Ethan to return. Significant events consistently drew him back to town. From where, no-one knew. He always arrived in the same ute, never a rental, always looking irritable and tired, but never exhausted. She guessed this meant he was about three or four hours away.

Too far to be called upon, but too close to convince her that he truly wanted to forget.

He held a glass tumbler. Mona’s. Even from this distance, Sam could tell it was empty. She hoped the rumours weren’t true. Four beers and a bourbon did not equal a drinking problem, but it surprised her that he would consume so much on such an occasion.

He was only twenty-nine, a mere month older than Cal and a year older than she, but he’d looked tired and beaten down for a long time now.

He wore the old suit that typically hung in the wardrobe of his old room. It barely fit anymore, and she wondered if there was another suit somewhere, hanging in a faraway wardrobe—one that did fit him and that never came to Denman. He was broader in the chest and shoulders than he had been, thicker in the arms and legs. More solid than she’d ever seen him. If he was going to keep coming back here for occasions, that suit was going to need to be retired.

Not wanting to be caught staring, Sam stepped away from the window and looked for something to do. She collected empty bottles, used plates and food scraps. Mingled when cornered, nodded politely and excused herself at every opportunity. Twice she rearranged the fridge and freezer to accommodate the dozens of meals, desserts, snacks, and finger foods the mourners had prepared for the fractured family.

All the while she wondered about him.

The long-awaited reunion occurred at the buffet table. Ethan drew alongside Sam as she was scraping pavlova into a plastic container. She would rather have been doing something a touch more glamorous or poignant, but she had to appreciate life’s sense of humour.

‘Hi, Sammy-doll.’

She prickled at the old nickname, the long-ago endearment that used to be whispered in her ear or cried against her throat. She looked up and smiled, and made sure the welcome extended to her eyes.

‘Hi, Ethan.’ She didn’t trust herself to say more. Just standing this close to him made her heart feel heavy. It was foolish to miss a man who had left so long ago and stupid to let his occasional returns unbalance her so much, but she’d never been able to control that.

‘You look good. Your hair’s got long.’

Sam continued to scrape, unsure how to respond. He didn’t look good, and she wouldn’t pretend he did.

He paused, slowed by her lack of answer. ‘It’s good to see you.’

Her hand stilled. She looked up, measured her tone and removed the sting from the words before she said, ‘One day you’ll say that on a normal day. But it’s good to see you too. How’ve you been spending your time?’

‘Poorly,’ was his unsatisfying answer.

Summer Return is the expanded and revised version of Elise’s Ella-nominated novella, Ask Me To Stay. It releases in July, but is available for pre-order now!

Amazon AU, Amazon UK, Amazon US, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google, Booktopia

Excerpt – Red Dust Runaway

The third book in Eva Scott’s bestselling Red Dust series features a classical musician, a bad boy rock star, and one hell of a road trip

Iris jumped in fright when she looked up from Google Maps to see a dishevelled man standing by her car. She glanced around quickly to see if there was anyone else about but the place was deserted. Too early. She checked behind her to see the comforting lights of the office behind her with the bleary-eyed receptionist clearly visible. That was something at least.

Can I help you?’ she asked, glad the car was between them. She calculated she could make a run for reception before he could get to her.

Um, I was wondering if you could give me a lift.’ The guy shuffled from one foot to the other, looking as sheepish as hell, and cute too now she got a good look at him. She wasn’t one for long hair on a man although she’d make an exception in his case.

Right,’ She considered his request. He looked clean, maybe a little nervous. How can you tell if someone was an axe murderer or not? ‘Where are you going?’

I have no idea.’ He hit her with a grin, lighting up his face and sending her insides flip-flopping. His eyes – were they grey or blue? – sparkling in the pale morning light.

You don’t know where you’re going?’ She couldn’t help but grin back. ‘Do you know where you are?’

Kalgoorlie, right? I need to get out of here. I’m backpacking with the bus tour and, well, it’s a bit stifling. Thought it’d be for me and I was wrong.’ His smile turned rueful.

She turned to look at the nondescript bus parked behind them. The motel owner had told her a tour had booked out most of the place, probably backpackers going by this guy’s British accent. So, he wanted off the tour and to travel solo? Seemed reasonable enough. And he was cute, better than cute. Still, there was no universal law that said a serial killer couldn’t be cute.

Where are you going?’ He seemed to sense her wavering.

Melbourne,’ she replied before realising telling him where she was going might not be the smartest move.

His face lit up. ‘I’m going there too. How about we split the costs and the driving?’

She frowned and bit her lip. ‘I thought you said you didn’t know where you were going?’

Next. I don’t know where I’m going next but I want to be in Melbourne in two weeks wherever I end up in between.’ He gave her a dazzling smile and something leapt and spun inside her.

Tempting, very tempting. This trip was all about adventure and maybe a hot affair. Maybe this guy was both. Lord knows, the loneliness of the road ate away at her and she was only two days into her trip. At least at home she’d had her music buddies and her parents.

Her father’s face flashed across her mind. He’d totally disapprove of her picking up an English backpacker. He’d be livid when he realised she’d runaway, without his knowledge, without his permission. She’d played by the rulebook for twenty years, maybe it was time to throw it away and see what happened.

Come on,’ he cajoled, leaning on the car and piercing her with the most compelling eyes – yes, definitely more blue than grey up close – she had ever seen. ‘I swear I’m not a serial killer.’

Iris blushed. He’d read her mind. ‘What if I am?’ she countered, knowing any minute now she’d agree to take him. Like it was already a done deal from the moment she set eyes on him.

I think I’ll take my chances.’ There was that killer smile again. Iris’ body responded like an iron filing to a magnet. ‘What do you say?’

What could she say? There was no other response: ‘Okay, but I’m driving.’


31475One jaded rock star. One sheltered classical musician. One hell of a red dust road trip…

Sheltered, coddled, gifted, Iris longs for something more than practice and performing. She wants to rebel, break the rules, have a hot affair, fall in love — to really live before happily committing to her classical music bubble. But her strict parents and her stricter schedule keep her confined to her gilded cage, even as she yearns desperately to be free.

Super star, successful, and sick of all of it, Kit just wants to stop. Stop the touring and the recording and the media and the bickering with his band mates. After two years on the road, he’s coming apart at the seams. He has to slow down, calm down, clear his head — to really think before recommitting to his rock star lifestyle. But his manager and the tour schedule keep him locked to his super star lifestyle, even as he rages against the confinement.

A chance encounter in a car park leads to a snap decision and an enormous risk: suddenly Kit and Iris are on an extraordinary road trip together across Australia, making their own choices, breaking all the rules. But reality is chasing them more quickly than they can know, and soon Kit and Iris will have to decide whether they are just running away — or running away together.

Coming 25 June.

Preorder now: Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Apple, Kobo, Google, Booktopia