Today, I've got the wonderful, Margareta Osbourn joining me to talk about her experience as a rural Romance writer. Margareta is a Random House author and you can find out more about her, her books and her life in the country at: http://www.margaretaosborn.com/
Why did you start writing romance? And did you start early in life, or did you just wake up one day and decide to write a novel?
When I was twelve I found my father's Billabong books, which were a series written by a (local) rural author Mary Grant Bruce in the early 1900's. Grant Bruce made the bush landscape in her stories come to life like a character in itself. At the same time she wrote about the adventures of young adults (Norah, Jim and Wally) and their life on the land. I lived and breathed those stories. I too helped my father on the family property, I too rode my horses through the bush and scrub. (There was also romance in Grant Bruce's books but it was very subtle.) I was in seventh heaven.
Move forward ten years, I discovered Di Morrissy and her first book 'Heart of the Dreaming'. It was the same again, a rural saga novel, the heroine a cattle station owner, the hero, a sexy stockman, but this time the romance was ramped up and very apparent. (At that time In my own life, I was a farmer's wife, living and and working the land.) I loved Di's book and I decided I too one day would write this type of novel. It would be a rural saga centred around relationships, family, community, living and farming in the bush. It would be a book that showed my passion and love for the rural life that I live and breathe every day, but at the same time it would have a romantic element to it. (Okay, so I'm an absolute romantic at heart.)
That's wonderful. I read 'Heart of The Dreaming' too. And absolutely loved it! It is a fantastic series and an inspiration to all. I hope you read the sequel haha.
Now for my next question, what do you like most about writing rural romance?
Three major things:
- I'm a fifth generation farmer in East Gippsland, a very beautiful and rugged place. My family have lived here for 150 years and my surroundings give me a sense of place, of community, of belonging. They also make me want to write. I have lived and worked on the land and with farmers my entire life. All this makes me who I am. It also gives me the ideas and the reasons to write about rural life. I can't help but write rural fiction. I guess that's what happens when you feel so passionately about something you love.
- My books are primarily about living on the land and relationships. I always have the strong female heroine as my lead character and the sexy stockman/farmer/dog tracker/whatever-I-dream-up-next, as her love interest. Personally, I am a sucker for a hat, boots, Wranglers or Levi's and a tidy looking bloke wearing them so I don't see why I can't foist that onto my heroine. I also get to rub my hands with glee and say, 'Righto, what can I do next to make it all even harder!' and then have lots of fun watching both characters twist this way, then that, trying to avoid the obvious romantic/sexual tension between them. I'm a sadist, I know.
- Writing rural romantic saga novels means I can indulge in my greatest loves (beyond my husband, children, family and friends of course). Farming, the bush and mountains and writing. It's a great combination for me.
The country clearly has a beautiful place in your heart. And I think that's something some miss out on having. Ha, I share your love of Akubra hat, boots and wranglers. Nothing like a Wrangler butt, right?
Oh so now a harder question, can you describe your writing process? Are you a pantser or are you plotter?
I try my hardest to be a plotter, but it doesn't work too well. I cannot, and I repeat CANNOT lay out an electric fence or disc a paddock in a straight line. The same applies to my writing. Best thing for me is to set some fence posts in place, something to head towards off in the distance but allow myself room for bends and deviations in the track. My characters tend to take over and there are days when my fingers race across the keyboard, then I look back over what I've written and mutter, 'But you weren't supposed to be doing that. Well, not yet anyway!' (Usually relates to a sex scene ;-) Other days it's like pulling along a sulky calf. Not a good look.
Hahahaha. That is an excellent way to describe it. It seems to me that conflict comes naturally to you. I wish it came so easily for me. Conflict was my greatest enemy in my first novel. Now that I'm aware of it, I've become a semi-plotter :)
So, what do you enjoy most about writing?
I love having written, if that makes sense. I don't necessarily enjoy the daily grind of writing, especially when the story is stagnant or not doing what I hoped it would. But then there are other days when I race through my farm jobs, just dying to get to the computer to put down a scene which has been running through my head for hours. I live for those days. I ADORE those days. My LandCruiser is littered with scraps of paper with words scrawled at odd moments. My Elders farm pocketbook has cattle numbers and cattle sale prices mixed with conversations my characters are having over breakfast. It makes for interesting reading :)
Hahah, I share your litter problem. :) And understand your favourite part. There is nothing like seeing how far you've come at the end of the day.
Do you have any dislikes about writing?
Can I say writing? Lol. No, I'm very lucky. I love what I do - both farming and writing. But there are some days, just like any other job, when you'd cheerfully throttle a character who is not doing what they're told or supposed to do. That's when I usually kill or do something nasty to the character to pull them into line. From my end the conversation usually goes like this, 'You can't do that, because I swear I'm going to do this to you - so behave!'
This is by far the most interesting interview I've held so far. Throttling chracters and what-not. :) But to be honest, it is all so very true. I can't count the number of times I've wanteds to bang my head into my keyboard or delete an entire story (all 130k of it).
Now, what's your current release? Can you decribe it to us in ten words or less?
BELLA'S RUN - An intoxicating outback tale of friendship, the search for love and a place to call home. (16 words … oops!)
Hahaha, *turns a blind-eye*
Now, Margareta, are you currently working on a new novel? What's do you have coming up next?
HOPE'S ROAD - My second novel for Random House, Australia comes out on March 1, 2013. The story centres on Tammy, a farmer in the Narree valley who is charged with the responsibility of running ‘Montmorency Downs’, a property that has been in her family for 150 years. Her life is sent into disarray when she finds herself dealing with an irascible relative, a sexy wild dog trapper and a desperate-for-attention child.
The novel is set in the mountains and valleys of East Gippsland, the same area featured in Bella’s Run. I love this new book. Like Bella’s Run, it has the love for the land flowing through, whilst I hope, portraying a gutsy, funny and heart-wrenching story.
I think I'm not the only one who can't wait to read it. It sounds great. :)
And my last question, but certainly not the least important, what is the best piece of advice you have to give to aspiring writers like myself?
1) Belief in yourself. Don't listen to that inner voice, the one that strives to tell you can't because I am proof you CAN!
2) A good friend of mine once told me that to write a novel you needed to invest in stuff called 'bum glue'. I laughed because I knew exactly what she meant. You need to push aside all the excuses, sit down, glue yourself to the chair and just WRITE THE DAMN BOOK.
There you have it. Advice from, Margareta. And some excellent advice at that.
Thanks you so much Margreta for joining me on my blog. It's been an absolute pleasure and I have laughed all the way. Here's me hoping I get to meet you in person at the Goldcoast Conference.
Best of luck in your career. Looking forward to seeing HOPE'S ROAD on a shelf one day.