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.

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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

Feed Your Reader: Opal Miner v Paleontologist

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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.

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.

Buy now

Marilyn Forsyth Uncovered

Tell me a bit about Falling in Love Again. How did it come into being? What was your Eureka! moment?

I read an article about Eric, an opalized pliosaur on exhibition at the Australian Museum, and went to check him out in person. (Although not near as large nor as spectacular as Gracie, the plesiosaur in my story, he is quite beautiful.) It broke my heart to learn that finds like this are not uncommon in opal fields, but that the skeletons are usually broken up to sell off as individual opals because they are worth more than the fossil as a whole. That idea as a source of conflict between two characters really appealed to me, and from this small beginning Falling in Love Again came into being.

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Give us a little tease of the relationship between Gemma and Jamie. How did that come about in your head and subsequently the book?

My favourite romance trope is Lovers Reunited and Gemma and Jamie were the perfect pair for this story. They fell madly in love at university and had a wonderful six months together; Gemma presumed their love would lead to marriage, but Jamie had an obligation to fulfil to his widowed father before he could even contemplate a permanent relationship. Hence the breakup. Seven years later, when they meet up unexpectedly, all the old feelings come rushing back for the both of them. Now, though, they have other major problems to contend with, not the least being Gemma’s abusive ex-husband who is also after the fossil.

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

Once I began researching, the plot almost wrote itself for this story (that doesn’t happen nearly enough! 😊). What I loved about writing Falling in Love Again was fleshing out all the characters—not just Gemma and Jamie, but Jamie’s caring dad and his dad’s lovely lady friend, as well as the narcissistic ex-husband. Once I knew where they were all coming from I had a lot of fun with all of them.

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

Gemma has suffered a lot of tragedy in her life. Her abusive relationship with her ex was her lowest point, but from it she eventually emerges as a strong woman who knows exactly what she wants. I’m grateful I’ve never had to cope with any of her particular trials, but I do know women who have. I have so much admiration for them; they need to be lauded as life’s survivors.

And Jamie’s as a hero?

Ahhh, Jamie (sigh). Okay, I’ll admit it: I kind of got jealous of just how much Jamie loved Gemma (not that I should, with a lovely husband like mine 😊). But I love the way Jamie is so protective of Gemma and the very real angst he suffers over not being able to make her dream come true (by giving her Gracie).

What began your romance writing career? What drew you to outback romance in particular? Is it the genre you most enjoy reading in?

My enjoyment in writing short stories and having them published had run its course and I was looking to challenge myself further by writing a full-length novel. I joined RWAus and was put in touch with the Breathless in the Bush writing group. Among that group of wonderfully supportive ladies I met my two fabulous critique partners, Cassandra Samuels (Regency author) and Enisa Haines (Paranormal author) who continue to inspire and assist me in writing great stories.

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I was drawn to outback romance after reading some of our terrific Aussie Rural romance authors. Barbara Hannay and Rachael Johns are among my favourites, but there are SO many more (and way too many to name)! I love the Aussie flavour of RuRo and if we Aussie authors don’t celebrate our own uniqueness, who will??

I love to read outback and rural romance, but not exclusively. I read literally anything—from English classics to historicals, from fantasy to thrillers—as long as they have at least a little romance in them.

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

I have a gorgeous writing room—it’s painted peacock blue and filled with books. My mornings are usually spent dealing with emails, Facebook and other things that life throws at me, and I probably spend five afternoons a week writing. I am, however, an incredibly s-l-o-w writer so my weekly word count is not as high as I’d like. (My desk faces into a corner so that I won’t get distracted by any ‘goings-on’ outside.)

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Lighting a citrus candle is a ritual I always carry out before beginning to write and I like to listen to music with headphones on.

What are your favourite books? Romance or otherwise?

Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series is probably my all-time favourite read. I also love George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Both of these are so epic in scope, and have such a fantastic range of interesting characters and amazing plot-lines. I can only be in awe of the authors who create such masterpieces.

Can you give any advice to aspiring authors out there?

The best advice I can offer any aspiring author is the same advice that got me to where I am today. Don’t give up. There’ll be times when you will feel like doing just that, but PERSEVERE. The road to publication is littered (figuratively speaking) with the bodies of writers who gave up too soon. Don’t be one of those bodies.

I hear you are a bit of an adventurer yourself? What kind of travelling adventures do you go on? Are there any real-life places that serve as your inspiration for your novels?

Family and writing aside, my greatest pleasure in life is travelling. There’s a big wonderful world out there and I want to see as much of it as I can. I’ve been overseas often (I even worked in Harrods in London for a time), but Australia, too, has much to offer in terms of spectacular scenery and unique features.

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For my book The Farmer’s Perfect Match I spent some time in Broome and the Kimberley region, and for Falling in Love Again I visited Lightning Ridge and White Cliffs, a couple of opal mining towns. Google maps is fantastic for research but nothing beats actually travelling to a location to get a real ‘feel’ for it.

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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.

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.

Horse of a Different Colour

It’s Melbourne Cup day, but not everyone gets in on the Spring Carnival.

If you’d like to celebrate horses, may we humbly suggest taking your day off and enjoying a good rural story?

Here are some of our favourites with equine secondary characters.

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


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For readers of Jenny Downham, John Greene and Maureen McCarthy, a poignant young adult romance about following your dreams and realising what really matters.


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A book about the first Melbourne Cup race! Can she save her family’s horse stud and reputation?


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Shirley Wine takes us back to Darkhaven, where secrets and scandals can’t stay hidden for long…