1. Congratulations on your book FLY AWAY PETA which is released on 1st August, can you tell us a little about this story?
Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small Australian country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart, the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.
2. What was your journey to publication like?
Tuesday February 21, 2012 will forever be emblazoned in my memory. It’s the day I went to bed a writer and woke up an author. Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions that followed.
I began writing FLY AWAY PETA many years ago. Scenes changed, the story grew, and the characters developed through years of maturity and several rounds of self-editing. Convinced that it was now ready for submission, I sent it off to Harlequin. After six months of waiting, I received a letter of polite rejection. I was okay with that. It wasn’t my time yet.
After a few more months of editing, procrastinating and more editing, I finally bit the bullet and said: ‘Enough! It’s now or never.’ Now comes the spooky bit. I have a thing for roses, hence my first thought was to submit to Harlequin. So while searching for alternatives for FLY AWAY PETA, I came across Eternal Press. The symbol on their website is a lilac rose. My gut feel said, ‘Send it!’ My head said, ‘What have you got to lose?’ And my heart said, ‘A rose is a rose.’
On Monday 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM, I hit send, turned off my computer and went to bed expecting the six to eight week wait they promised. On Tuesday morning I turned it on to check my emails and there was an email from Eternal Press. I thought it was the usual response letting me know that they’d received the manuscript and would be in touch. And then I read it. ‘Your contemporary romance Fly Away Peta is accepted for publication by Eternal Press…’
3. Do you find that some of your own life experiences make their way into your stories, or do you make absolutely everything up?
Life is probably one of the best research tools a writer can have. Everything I write is from imagination but I draw on my life experience emotions to put the heart into my characters. I create situations and then ask myself how I would feel if I was placed in that situation.
First I get an idea in my head of what the characters look like, then I find photos to match as closely as possible. I might even look at compatible star signs for them. After that, I let them take over and develop their own personalities.
5. Since everybody needs a break, even when doing something they love, how do you like to spend your time away from writing?
In my armchair next to the fireplace with a good book, chocolate, the rug my granny crocheted, and my ever-present Daschund and only other female in the house, Samantha (Sam for short).
6. Describe yourself in three words:
Caver, Chocoholic, Shoe-Freak
7. Do you have a writing routine that you follow?
I write anywhere, anyhow and on anything when an idea strikes. I juggle a few balls during the day, so I write whenever I have time, even if it means falling asleep at the keyboard in the early hours of the morning. The most routine I had was during the 50K in 30 Days challenge. I wrote every day and almost every night during our sprints on the RWA Forum thanks to the encouragement of my fellow sprinters. (You know who you are! J)
8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?
Never, never give up on your dreams and write, write, write. The more you write, the better you get at it.
9. What are you working on now?
My 2011 New Voices entry TAMING THE TIGER. Thanks to the 50/30 challenge, it’s almost done! Only another 6427 words and heaps of editing to go.
To WIN a pdf copy of FLY AWAY PETA, answer the following question:
“To what lengths would you go to find/protect someone you love?”
The competition is open worldwide and the winner will be drawn randomly from eligible entries on 6th August. Good luck!