Sunday, 31 March 2013

Interview: Maggie Gilbert

Today, I have the pleasure of inviting Maggie Gilbert to my blog. And on her release day too! Maggie's Young Adult RuRo debut comes out today with Escape Publishing. I can't imagine her excitement and would firstly, like to wish her the best in her career and I hope she sells  millions!
Ok, now lets get started. What motivated you to start your writing journey? Did you have a childhood dream of becoming an author?

I did have the childhood dream, for sure. As far back as I can remember I wanted to be an author, long before I had any idea of what was actually involved. What truly started me on the journey was loving to read. It just seemed natural, I think, to start making up stories of my own.

Ah, the born and breed writer. I love it. Now, did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?

The first ever manuscript I actually finished was a Young Adult horsey romance–talk about going full circle! I then wrote an adult contemporary novel, and another YA, and after that I went off on a paranormal/fantasy romance tangent and wrote a couple of those. I entered those in contests and so on, and I had some feedback from a few judges and critiques that my voice would suit YA. I was reading a lot of YA at the time, and discovering I didn’t really love paranormal/fantasy romance (although I do love urban fantasy and some epic fantasy – I’m looking at you George R R Martin) and so I thought I really should take all these hints on board and get back to what I started out writing.

You know, I've heard this happen before. The thing about the YA genre is that most of the writer's writing within it, didn't know they were writing it until someone told them!
So What is it about the YA genre that you love the most? And why do you love writing it?

There is huge variety in YA where you can get paranormal, dystopian, contemporary, post-apocalyptic, literary or fantasy stories and all possible combinations of these. I love an authentic teenage character, and I find some of those quirky outsider types so appealing. It’s an interesting time in someone’s life to write about–everything is so intense and so personal. When you’re 16 or 17 even the most simple ordinary thing can take on cataclysmic proportions.

That's wonderful.  :) What are your biggest inspirations?

I find inspiration everywhere and anywhere. Film, news, books, art, photographs, magazines, my dogs, friends, strangers, TV – anything I come across can start me thinking about a character or an idea or theme or string of events.

I feel that I should start wearing a T-shirt; 'Beware: Writer - watch you don't appear in my novels' hehe.
Could you pitch your novel to us in 10 words, Maggie :)?

When horse-mad girl meets gorgeous boy love and dreams collide.

Love it! Now tell us, what do you require when it comes to getting in the mood to write?

Brainstorming and planning a story, and thinking about the characters and what they want and why they want it gets me ready to write. Actually writing gets me in the mood for more writing. And there is always coffee. That’s a must-have. Lots and lots of coffee.

Coffee is definitely a necessity. :P What has been the most rewarding part of your publishing experience?

The enthusiasm from friends and family and colleagues has been amazing. Even people I didn’t think would be particularly interested have just been so thrilled, it’s lovely. And I had no idea it was so much fun! It’s great fun getting to know other writers and readers and getting out there talking about my book, and about writing in general. I feel very lucky to be with Escape Publishing – they’ve all been fabulous to work with.

It's not a lone wolf job is it. :) What has been the rockiest part of your journey?

Finding and then maintaining confidence in the face of self-doubt and rejection. I think most writers probably find that tricky, because you’re beset from without and within and it can be hard to keep going. When you’re writing something you love, and you’re really excited about it and you think maybe, possibly, just perhaps it might actually be, well, a good story, it’s very scary. Because you can hardly wait to show it to other readers but you’re also terrified in case they don’t think it’s good enough – or good at all. But you have to keep sending your work out there, because if you want to be a published author then you need other people to read it. And if it all comes together one of those people will be an editor, who likes it enough (and believes it is marketable enough) to say yes instead of no.

We all dream of that call day. If only the doubts didn't stop there. :)
Now, what's next for Maggie Gilbert?

I’m working on another YA manuscript, a story that ties in to Riding on Air. And I have a couple of New Adult projects in the works, and some adult rural stories in development.

And if you could pass on one warning or message to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Love the story you are working on and give it everything you’ve got, don’t leave anything in reserve. This might be the one an editor says yes to.

And how are you feeling on your release day? Excited? (you can email me this one later when you know how you are feeling haha. You must be so excited.)

Excited and nervous. But mostly happy; I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. A debut book release day only happens once, so I want to enjoy every bit of it. Thanks so much for having me here on the day, Whitney!
Lovely to have you, Maggie. Wishing you the best of luck in your career and a fantastic release day for Riding on Air. :)

Thank you readers for popping by and saying hi to Maggie and I today. If you love YA, RuRo or just plain romance, check out Riding on Air and it's fabulous author at the links below. You can also read the blurb.
Happy reading!

Book Blurb

Riding On Air

Young Adult Romance

Escape Publishing

1st April 2013

What can you do when your own hands are the enemy? Hold on tight, for as long as it takes.

Melissa has secrets. Sure it’s pretty obvious she has Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, but no one knows how bad it is or how many pills she takes for the pain. She’s determined to make her horse Jinx into a champion and she dreams that her childhood friend William will one day see her, rather than her condition.

So when William asks her out and Jinx is shortlisted for selection in an elite training program, it seems Melissa’s dreams have come true. But when her secrets are exposed, all those dreams come crashing down around her. Can William ever forgive her? And can she learn about letting go in time to truly ride on air when it matters most?

Purchase link:


Saturday, 23 March 2013


Yesterday, I woke up with the draft cover for What Happens in Ireland and today I woke up with the final one!

What do you think?!

Personally, I love it. Dawne Dominique has taken my ideas and transfromed them. I didn't see this cover, but damn if I can't stop looking at it haha!
Well, I must get away. This week, I've been busy with first round edits and I tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing your novel is just getting better and better.
Have an awesome week everyone! If you love my cover as much as I do, I hope you share the love :)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Saint Patrick's Day! - A Galway story and a visit from Rachael Treasure!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone! And welcome to my Saint Paddy's Day celebration!

Now, it was around this time of year that I started this blog. I remember my Saint Paddy's day post well (particularly the recipe for an Irish coffee :P). Anyway, this year, I hope to give you a little more to set you in the Saint Patrick's Day spirit. So grab your pint of Guiness (or Jameson - I prefer Jameson :P) and get ready to get your Irish on!

Now, I've always wondered what it is about Ireland and it's people that attract writers to include them in their stories. Of course, there's the accents hehe, but for me, I think it's more than that. The people of Ireland have this charm, a welcoming sense about them. Or at least, that's what I found when I travelled to Ireland myself. And then there is the country itself! Is there a more romantic place than the Ring of Kerry or the Cliffs of Moher - places which literally, took my breath away.

When it comes to creating a story, I can't explain exactly where my inspiration came from half the time. Jack O'Reilly (my emerald-eyed, smooth talking hero) just popped up right next to Kate Barrow (my strong and battling heroine). Poof! They just formed. All in my head. Makes you question your sanity sometimes when you start thinking of two people that don't exist.

Kris Kennedy said, "The people who come to conquer get seduced by Ireland itself, becoming Ireland . . . I think that's what Ireland does. It seduces by its very nature."

And I agree with him completely. When I walked out of the terminal in Dublin, adoring the fact that it was -2 degrees, I felt different. It was my first big trip overseas and I thought I'd be anxious and looking every which way but, there was something about Ireland that made me feel right at home. To be honest, my family were shocked to find that I had actually boarded the plane home. :)

And strangely enough, I'm not the only one who felt this. Today, Rachael Treasure is joining me as my guest to talk about what possessed her to include an Irish Stockman in her novel (a favourite of mine) The Stockman:

I remember sailing on a ferry from England to Ireland when I was backpacking around the world. When I first sighted the Irish coastline it felt as if I had come home.
Some of my Tassie convict genetics stem from County Cork so I fitted right in as I travelled many country roads, stayed with a dairy farming family and sang along to familiar songs in the gorgeous tiny rural pubs. I believe Tasmanian's are similar to the Irish as our heritage is closely linked. My craving for Guinness has evolved over countless generations and is in grained in me! So much so, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I couldn't help sneak half a glass now and then. I was also writing 'The Stockman' at the time of my pregnancy, and imagining the life of Irish stockman Jack Gleeson. It's little wonder when my daughter was born I gave her the middle name Erin which is a romantic name for Ireland!

*Smiling* When I read Rachael's response, it made me wish I was back in Ireland again. The country really is magical and whilst I love Australia and it will always be home, I consider Ireland my home away from Home.

Now, this year, I have to things to share. First, a recipe for Guinness Pie. :)
I love a good pie. And what's more, whilst I'm not a huge fan of Guinness (due to my dislike of all beers), I LOVE Guinness Pie.
So whilst I don't have my own recipe to share with you (I'm sorry, my family is not the baking/cooking type hehe), I've found this great recipe for it on;

Doesn't it look delicious?

Beef and Guinness pie
Next little present for my readers is a free short story I've written just for you! Now, a little background information: If your heading to Ireland, Dublin and Galway are the places where the pubs and clubs are where it's at! Secondly, if your heading to Ireland, be sure to learn the lyrics of Galway Girl, The Wild Rover and the beat to The Rocky Road to Dublin as there is little chance of anyone singing along to it. :)
So, whilst I can not be in Galway for St Paddy's Day myself, I will definitely be there in spirit and through story, while I'm drinking my Bushmills!

A Night in Galway
Walking into The Quays, Alaina smiled as she took in the celebrations before her. The place was packed.

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade goers had finally left the streets, filling the pubs to continue the festivities. Pints of Guinness lined the bar, each pint in a varying stage of being prepared for its consumer. The pub was decked out, green streamers, leprechaun figurines and shamrocks dominating the décor.

As she made her way towards the area where her friends were supposed to be seated, Alaina struggled to part the emerald sea of people. Above them, a band played The Rocky Road to Dublin, the lead singer doing his best to keep up the pace. The energy of the song filled her chest and Alaina tapped her hand against her thigh, mimicking the rapid beat. She smiled when the crowd let up a cheer when the last line of the song was sung. Looking up to the stage above, she giggled at the sight of the shaggy-hair vocalist’s reddened face and weary smile. The song was quite a feat, the pace almost impossible to keep. Not that that stopped many a drunken Irishman from trying to do it a slurred justice on their way home in the early hours of the morning. It was as if they believed themselves to be the next Dubliners!


Alaina couldn’t contain herself when she spotted her best friend, Sineàd and let out a laugh. Sineàd’s usually straight hair was now a bouncing tangle of curls and dressed in the same step dancing dress she’d worn last year, Sineàd was an instant reminder of the happenings of their last Saint Patrick’s Day celebration.

‘Oh, Sineàd! Please promise me you won’t get up on the bar this year.’

Sineàd grinned and her green eyes held a sparkle that told Alaina that those were her exact intentions. ‘What are you on about? Of course I am! In fact, the manager here enjoyed my performance so much last year, that I am here on invitation. I’m tonight’s final act.’

Sharing a look with Ger, Sineàd’s boyfriend, Alaina sucked in her bottom lip.

Ger shook his head. ‘Over my dead body,’ he said in a low tone, though the hint of a smile on his lips betrayed how much the image amused him.

‘Hey! If I hadn’t jumped up there last year, you’d had brought me a drink,’ Sineàd reminded him, giving him a playful shove. ‘Admit it, this dress is the reason we’re together.’

Ger chuckled. ‘I thought the reason we were together was because we love each other?’

Sineàd shrugged. ‘It contributes.’

Alaina laughed and Ger just smiled.

‘So what took you so long?’ Sineàd asked Alaina, turning back to her.

Alaina raised her eyebrows at her friend. ‘I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but half of Ireland has come to Galway to celebrate today. The traffic was terrible. On and off the road!’

Her friend laughed and waved a hand at her. ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’

Ger snorted and lifted his pint to take a sip. ‘My arse it is!’

Sineàd giggled and pulled out a stool for Alaina to take.

‘So, are you ready to show off your Irish pride, my friend?’  Sineàd asked with a wink.

Alaina bit her lip, though it hardly stopped her from smiling. ‘As long as it doesn’t see me up on the bar later tonight.’

Sineàd grinned. ‘I won’t promise you anything.’

‘Seen anyone we know?’ Alaina asked.

‘A few.’ Sineàd eyes scanned the crowd. Her eyes lit up. ‘Ger, isn’t that your cousin?’

Frowning, Ger followed Sineàd line of sight. He groaned. ‘Oh, Lord…’

Frowning, Alaina turned to look over her shoulder. Near the bar, she spotted a man dressed as a leprechaun holding a jug of Guinness in his hand. There was no mistaking him as the source of Ger’s embarrassment and as Alaina watched him and a mate scull down a jug each, she felt her smile widen. The group of men surrounding the two men chanted, bellowing the words, ‘down, down, down!’

A cheer went up when an empty pint was raised.

‘Hey, Liam!’

The man who had won, looked up at the sound of his name, his eyes falling on the three of them. His face lit up with recognition and Alaina felt her insides flip.

Even dressed in a ridiculous leprechaun outfit the man was gorgeous. He had shocking green eyes, eyes that held a cheeky gleam. He was a sure competitor for Prince Harry when it came to ‘The World’s Best Looking Ginger’ award. He had a handsome face and toned body and as he drew closer, Alaina felt her breathing slow.

‘Ger! Sineàd!’ Prince Harry’s competitor leaned over and grabbed hold of his cousin’s hand. ‘What are the chances?’

‘Liam. What are you doing in Galway?’ Sineàd asked.

‘Here with a couple of the boys for the weekend.’ Liam glanced sideways at Alaina and looked her up and down. ‘Who’s your friend?’

Alaina blushed.

‘This is Alaina. We went to school together.’

Liam’s smile widened to expose two rows of perfectly white teeth. Turning to face her, he offered her his hand. Alaina took it and smiled back. ‘Nice to meet you, Alaina. Enjoying yourself tonight?’

‘I’ve only just started.’

‘Then you’ll be needing a drink?’ Liam winked at her, the gesture making her heart skip.

Alaina opened her mouth, but couldn’t seem to get out a reply. Sineàd close then to kick her under the table, jolting the words out of her.

‘Ah, sure. I’d love one.’

Liam’s eyes sparkled with amusement and he nodded. Inviting Ger to come with him, the two men left, leaving Alaina and Sineàd alone.

‘Jeez, Sineàd! Did you–’

‘Oh, my God. Alaina!’

A smile broke out over Alaina’s face just as Sineàd’s hand wrapped around her forearm and the first few strings of ‘Galway Girl’ reached her ears.

‘It’s our song!’

Sineàd dragged her into the crowd, a crowd that had already begun to sing the iconic song. The two girls joined in, raising their hands up above their head as they danced together, twisting and twirling each other around. The pub was filled with voices, the lead singer barely audible over the cheers of his audience.

From the bar, Liam Kelly watched the dark haired woman with stunning blue eyes, transfixed by her as she danced with her friend. She stood out in the crowd and her radiant smile made it impossible for him to rid the one on own his lips.

‘Not thinking about a Galway girl are you, cousin?’

Liam’s looked over take in Ger’s amused expression before returning his attention to Alaina. He chuckled. ‘Perhaps.’

Ger nudge him and hand him two of the drinks. ‘Be weary, cousin. As the song says, there ain’t nothing quite like a Galway girl.’
So there you have it. My St Paddy's day post and gift to you. I hope you enjoyed A night in Galway and I can not wait to share What Happens in Ireland with you! :)

If you're looking for more Saint Patrick's Day fun, why not check out 'A Saint Patrick's Day Wish' by Carolyn - another sweet and free short story that you read over a pint of guinness!


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Coming Along for the Ride?

The dates of the What Happens in Ireland blog tour are finalize!

Come join me on my big tour around Cyberworld and you could win yourself a 'What Happens in Ireland' swag pack including a copy of my novel in e-book! There will be other individual competitions running so jump over to my facebook page, click on events and join the release day event to make sure you don’t miss out!

The Grand prize: Leave a comment on any one of the blog posts or interviews that are included in this tour to go into the running to win a Mega Swag Pack including a copy of Whitney’s novel, What Happens in Ireland in e-book format.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Interview: Jenn J McLeod

Today, I have the pleasure of a visit from debut author, Jenn J McLeod, whose novel, House for all Seasons, has just been released with Simon and Schuster. :) Jenn interviewed me last year on her blog and this year, I have the pleasure of returning the favour.

Welcome Jenn and congrats on your fabulous release! I hope they are selling out in stores all over. :)

First, Whitney, can I send major cyber hugs to you on your book contract. I am soooo pleased. You have been such a generous supporter of others. (You see? Karma rules!)
Sorry, I digress. Carry on...
Haha, no problem, Jenn. I'd like to think I've saved up some karma for the release :) Now let's talk about your story. A curiosity of mine, but I'd love to know when your journey to become an author began? What inspired the creation of your series?
Whitney, an aging mind mashed milestones together so I can’t tell you when or where exactly. I can tell you that House for all Seasons was the third manuscript I wrote. (The two previous ones will probably never see the light of day. I accept that their purpose was to teach me how to write a novel that would.)

The novel that teaches you. You know, I don't think it's uncommon for authors to have a few manuscripts sitting in the dark. I myself have a few in various stages and I don't think of them as a waste of time. They are a part of the construction of the novel that finds its way to the shelf.  :)
Now, I have not two months until my novel is release on ebook and I am bursting with excitement. I can't imagine how frustrating it must have been for you to have to wait so long for your release. How have you survived the huge wait? A year long, wasn't it?

I signed my two-book deal in January 2012 with Simon & Schuster, with House for all Seasons hitting bookstores on 1 March. That’s OVER 12 months! It was tough. I’d already written both books before submitting (via my agent) so I started on book three. I then invested a lot of time in building my brand, fine-tuning my website and getting familiar with social media so when I was ready to launch I knew what the hell I was doing – sort of!

A smart plan. I myself am thankful that I've been building myself over the last year and I must say, you have done a wonderful job, Jenn. :)
So what was you're inspiration for House for all Seasons?

I set out to write a story about four women, each as different as the seasons. I took a risk and wrote four stories in one, but wrapped the separate stories in opening and closing chapters. It was a risk, but I wanted to do something different. It paid off. My publisher said “it was brave and unexpected for a debut novelist”. It was also that point of difference that won her. (If you’re interested in reading more about being brave, I am doing a year-long blog program about my lessons learned. Check out the link below

That's fantastic. Writing takes guts. And you sure have them.
Could you please pitch you're novel to us in one sentence? Tantalize us a little? :)

In a country house, surrounded by the past, four friends will discover that small towns can keep big secrets.

Wonderful! Now tell us, what has been a highlight for you on the road to publication?

Too many to mention. But I am writing this in the after-glow of my hometown book launch. I just did a blog about the experience. And yes, it was just as I’d dreamed.

I can't wait to experience some of those moments myself. To be honest, I was blown away by your cover. I love it! I am both excited and anxious about receiving mine. I hope it is as beautiful as yours. :)
Now, the nitty gritty. What has been the most difficult part about the process?

The waiting! The disbelief in self. Wrestling with the final edited manuscript as Simon & Schuster tugged on it saying, “No more read-throughs. It’s time to let go, Jenn.”


I can only imagine. I'm feeling that way myself at the moment. You want to share your story so much, but when wrestling with your writing demons, you begin to wonder about and fear the reaction of your readers. Such a nerve wracking and personal thing writing.
Now, how would you best describe your voice? Your blog has a wonderfully quirky nature. Does you're writing?

Here’s the truth… It took me a long time to understand what ‘voice’ meant. I was too busy trying too hard – trying to be something/someone I wasn’t – and writing the way I was ‘told’ to write (or emulating the wrong people). Then something happened.

As you know, Whitney, writing for publication (the market) is very different to writing for enjoyment. The industry requires certain things of authors (eg they like to label books so they can market them accordingly and sit them on the appropriate shelves or in category listings online.) Straddling genres (House for all Seasons does a bit) is frowned upon. With my 50th closing in way too fast, I developed a rather brave (read: cavalier) attitude to my writing. It was now or never.

I threw everything I’d written away (in the virtual bottom drawer) and started from scratch. I started by asking myself: “Who am I as a writer? What do I want to write?”

I took the time to discover who I was and to build an author platform/brand. Then I set a goal (I sat down in Nano 2009) and wrote the first draft of House for all Seasons. Because I wrote without any editing or trying to be something I wasn’t, what landed on the page was from the heart. It was me. I know that sounds corny, but it’s true. I guess that’s when I found my voice. So yes, the book does reflect me in all my quirky glory (I think ‘wonderfully quirky’ is a fabulous compliment - thank you.)

PS. I had the most wonderful review in which the reviewer said she both laughed and cried. That made my day. Check out what the reviewers are saying.


Well said, Jenn. Such a wonderful discovery for you. You know, I think so writers struggle with that. And I personally do myself. I love writing romance, unfortunately, not everyone I know likes the fact that I do. But, in the end, I am writing in a genre I love. I'm not about to swap my ways to please someone who might think I am wasting myself on romance and should be writing what they deem, 'real lit'. Can you tell I get frustrated with the stigma around Romance haha?
Well, enough from me. What's next for Jenn Mcleod? Are you working on something new at the moment to fill in the time until the sequel, The Simmering Season?

The Simmering Season is like a sequel in that I have taken secondary character threads from House for all Seasons and woven their stories around a school reunion that brings home more than memories for the Calingarry Crossing publican, Maggie.  I didn’t intend to link the novels, but I fell in love with Calingarry Crossing and wasn’t ready to let go! Book three – Season of Temperance – is a work-in-progress (at about 60k at the moment.) I am eager to get back into it too.

Right now though it’s promotion, promotion, promotion. And before I know it, edits for The Simmering Season will need my full attention so it can be ready for March next year.

Busy, busy, busy. Do you have any advice/last words for aspiring writers, Jenn?

Learn when to let go. Your first novel may not be the one that makes it, so know when to try something different. And make that something about YOU. Having a strong brand will make you more ‘visible’.

There’s an old Chinese Proverb that says it better than I can.

‘I dreamed a thousand paths. I woke and walked my own.’


I am documenting my journey on Writing Novels in Australia  with a dozen or more authors at various stages of their career. Highly recommended reading for authors – old and new.
Thank you so much for those words, Jenn, and for joining me here on the blog today! I wish you the best in your career and hope to here that it's impossible for everyone to find a copy of your book in a few weeks because they've run off the shelves!
Can't wait to read House for all Seasons myself, though you will have to forgive me if I don't get a chance until May haha!
Below is the blurb for Jenn's book. I hope you've enjoy this interview and go straight to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of Jenn's book!
Next week, I have a special Saint Patrick's day post for you including a free read and a special guest appearance from Rachael Treasure. So keep your eyes peeled and if you'd like to keep up with what is happening on the blog, type your details in and follow me! :)


House for all Seasons

Four women,

Four lives unravelled.

The truth will bind them forever.

Bequeathed a century-old house, four estranged friends return to their hometown, Calingarry Crossing, where each must stay for a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy.

But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier.

Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;

Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;

Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;

Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.

At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Whitney K-E... The Aspiring Romance AUTHOR!!!

It's finally happened. After eighteen months of writing, editing, subbing and learning everything I can about the publishing industry, I've finally signed my first contract for What Happens in Ireland, with Secret Cravings Publishing!!

So in a matter of hours, I've gone from being an aspiring writer of romance to an aspiring romance author!

'Still aspiring?' you might ask. Well, of course I am. There is so much more to achieve from her. I have only just tackled my first bend on the rocky road to publishing. From here on, I intend to go onward and upward!

I think it's important to always be 'aspiring'. I think as authors and writers we should always be thinking about how we can make ourselves better authors and writers. If we all believed our first book was the best book we wrote, how are we to continue entertaining our readers if we cannot continue to surprise and amaze them?

I'm so excited to be starting the next part of my publishing journey and am glad that those who have helped me here, will be here to help me now. :)

Now back to the book!

Much to my delight (perhaps later when I am ripping my hair our trying to keep up with things, anxiety), What Happens in Ireland will be coming out in ebook at the end of April this year!! Yep, just two months! And much to my greater delight, it will also be released in paperback in October! imagine that! I'll get to hold my first novel in my hands before the year is out!

I would like to thank my writing critics and friends at The Romantic Muse, RWA and the wonderful authors and writers I have made friends with over the last eighteen months for your support. I couldn't have done it without you all!

I can't wait to share What Happens in Ireland with you all, but for now, I'm afraid you will have to make do with the blurb and get yourself as excited for the release as I am.

Ever wondered what happens in Ireland?
When Australian, Kate Barrow, meets a handsome Irishman in a Dublin bar, she has no idea that he’s about to turn her world upside-down and inside-out.
In Ireland to take on a position on a thoroughbred stud, Kate is shocked when her manager-in-co reveals himself to be the same man she’d met in Dublin.
Jack is drawn to Kate. The problem is, she won't have him. But Jack has always loved a challenge and the intriguing woman from Oz is one he cannot resist.
Harbouring the sting of another man’s betrayal, Kate is certain she wants nothing to do with love and nothing to do with Jack O’Reilly. But when naked torsos, Mother Nature and dysfunctional umbrellas start plotting against her resolve, she realizes the charms of an Irishman are going to be hard to resist.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Interview: Alissa Callen

This week, I have Rural Romance author, Alissa Callen, joining me here on the blog to talk about her writing journey and the books that saw her through on to publication. Alissa is an author for Escape Publishing and Random House.

A picture of Alissa beautiful thoroughbred, Banjo.

Welcome, Alissa!

Thanks so much for having me. :)

Well, let's get started. First, tell us how your journey began and a little about how you got here?
I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until my youngest started school that I had the time to glue my fingers to the keyboard. Once a teacher and a counsellor, I remained interested in the life journeys that people take. Life doesn’t always deliver a happily-ever-after and so romance was the perfect genre to make sure that no matter what happens to a character, they are guaranteed a happy ending. I’m a country girl and love the Australian bush, so it was also only natural that my settings are rural and small town ones. :)

That's great. :) So, what was your reaction to getting The Call?
Disbelief. As it was an email, I kept staring at it thinking I’d missed something. Whenever a submission reply came in, I always looked at the last paragraph as that contained ‘the verdict”. But when I didn’t see the words I was expecting I really was thrown (but in a good way :) ).

It's a bit like that isn't it. You can always believe the rejections, but never the acceptances.
Now what was the hardest thing for you to learn during the writing/publishing experience?

Navigating cyberspace. I am still not on twitter and am only just getting my head around Facebook and blogging. For someone who didn’t even have a website pre-publication it’s been a very interesting ride. The publishing landscape is changing and so too is the need to be cyber-savvy. As both my new releases are eBooks, I have also been delving into such things like digital-specific promo as the world really is a worldwide marketplace.
You're not wrong there! I know a lot of writer's who struggle to navigate the cyber world. But it really is vital for them to do so.
Tell us, what's your favourite part of the process (editing, the revealing of a cover, meeting your readers)?

Each part of the publishing process brings with it, its own rewards. It is magical to see your cover for the first time and so heart-warming to learn that a reader has enjoyed your books. And despite the ongoing hair-pulling, I must confess, I actually rather like edits too. I know. I need to get out more  :)
I'm sure you're not the only one haha.
Do you preach plotting or pantsing (yes, I think I just made up a word :P)?

How a book unfolds is very much an individual process for each writer, but I personally like road signs so would call myself a plotter. But if I do go down a side road that isn’t on the grand plan, then I am very open to just pantsing (great word :)) and seeing where it will take me.

Pantser moments can add a little magic, I have to agree. Now, out of your two novels, Beneath Outback Skies and What Love Sounds Like, who is your favourite hero and why?

Tait, the city-boy who isn’t all he seems, from Beneath Outback Skies would my pick by a margin from Kade in What Love Sounds Like. :) Even though Tait might come across as a little heavy handed at first, he only ever has the heroine’s best interests at heart.

Haha, he sounds intriguing. Now, I hear you are the creator of facebook group, Books for Country Girls and Guys. Can you tell us a little about the group?
We are so lucky to have rural fiction as a home-grown genre and the idea of the Books for Country girls and Guys facebook page it to locate all the rural fiction news in one spot. Pinned to the top of the page will always be a list of all the upcoming releases so readers will know exactly what is coming out and when. It would also be fabulous to share rural fiction with the world and am thrilled to say we have many overseas likes from such countries as Canada, America, UK, South Africa, Mexico and France.

What a great idea. So there you have it readers, if you're looking for what is coming hot of the press, head on over to the Books for Country Girls and Guys facebook page.
Now lastly, and as always, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the aspiring writers out there?
Am far from an expert let alone being wise :)
, but one thing I have to say is, to believe in, is to be true to yourself. Write your story your way as if there is no-one else who will write quite like you.

Thanks so much for joining me on the blog today Alissa. I will you all the best with your novels and look forward to seeing more from you in the future. :)
As for my readers, I'm glad to see that you have popped by today. If you have enjoyed this interview and would like to find out more about Alissa and her novels, feel free to explore any of the below links!