Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Vanessa Garden…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Vanessa, and congratulations on the release of your YA fiction, ‘Captivate’. What a stunning cover! Can you tell us a little about it (is it part of a series?)

Thank you so much. I love the cover too! The designers at Harlequin Teen Australia have done a fantastic job!

Captivate is a love story set in a glittering underwater city, starring seventeen year old Miranda Sun – a girl afraid to open her heart to love, and Marko Tollin – a nineteen year old king willing to do anything to save his threatened underwater kingdom.

Book two has been written and I hope to start working on Book three as soon as possible.

0114 Captivate FC (3) (420x640)

Do you have a writing schedule you follow, or are you a ‘write whenever I can’ type of author?

I work three days a week, so on my two days off I usually like to cram and write as much as I can. Otherwise I sometimes squeeze in some night writing.

Can you tell us a bit about your path to being published?

I started writing around twelve years ago and learned so much along the way. Somewhere along the line I ended up going the agent route and started querying like mad, getting requests and then waiting and waiting and then revising my manuscript based on the rejections I was getting. It was exhausting. I recall on the night before I was offered representation, saying ‘I’ve had enough of this – I’m just going to put writing aside for a while and focus on real life!’ Well, would you believe the following day I received not one, but two emails offering representation? Life is crazy like that. I think, over the years of submitting various manuscripts, I’d clocked up over 250 rejections. Never give up!

What does your writing space look like?

This may sound strange, but my writing space (work desk) is so messy that I don’t even write there. I tend to write all over the house in different rooms. If I get bored, I just change couches/chairs.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

To read as much as you write, and also, to never give up!

Plotter or Panster?

Pantser. My characters seem to dictate the story and I just go along for the ride, documenting their journey.

From where do get your inspiration for storylines and characters?

Captivate was actually inspired by a song called ‘To You I Bestow’ by an Irish artist called Mundy. One day, as I was listening to it, a scene unfolded inside my head. A girl and a boy were dancing in each other’s arms, in a beautiful night garden filled with glittering lights. And that was it – their voices started inside my head and I just had to tell their story.

vanessa garden promo shot (240x240)

Do you have a favourite character – which one and why?           

Marko, my sexy young king, is my favourite. I think because no matter how many flaws I gave him, he still managed to find his way into my heart.

Can you tell us a little about your works in progress?

I’ve just completed book two, to follow Captivate, and I’m also awaiting edits on a YA sci-fi, Carrier, which will be released with Escape Publishing March 2014.

Can you give us a sneak peek from your book, maybe a brief excerpt from a favourite scene, or the first sentence/paragraph?

 Here’s a piece of dialogue from one of my favourite scenes:

I kept my arms folded and raised my head. ‘Yes, and I’m not pretending.’

‘So you want me to believe that you’ve suddenly fallen hopelessly in love with me,’ he said.

I ignored the smirk on his lips and said, ‘Yes.’

He folded his arms across his chest and stared down at me. Amusement sparkled in his eyes.

‘Say it, then. Declare your love for me.’


Web links





Vanessa is providing a signed copy of Captivate. All you have to do to be in the draw to win is leave a comment below.

This contest is open to Australian postal addresses only and will be drawn on Monday December 17th, 2013.


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  1. yay! Love that cover. Congrats, Vanessa!

  2. A glittering underwater world sounds fabulous! And I love hearing how other authors get story ideas.
    Yes, that cover is just gorgeous too! 🙂

  3. well done. the premise of your story sounds terrific.

  4. Vanessa G

     /  December 11, 2013

    Thanks guys 🙂

  5. Cath Evans

     /  December 12, 2013

    Vanessa, your cover is so stunning. And I have a huge apology to you. Harlequin sent it to me but I didn’t realise you were in RWA so I didn’t put it into Hearts Talk this month. I’m SO SORRY. But I will put it in February.

    Congrats. I hope your story sells like hot cakes.

    Cath xox

  6. Vanessa G

     /  December 12, 2013

    No problem, Cath. Thank you! Feb is absolutely fine 🙂

  7. Natalie

     /  December 13, 2013

    Captivate sounds absolutely thrilling! I love the name of the hero, Marko. There’s an endangered species of shark native to the waters of New Zealand called the Mako and I can only imagine how sleek, smooth and utterly dangerous he will be as a character! Can’t wait to read this book 🙂 I’ve been waiting for a YA release to get me excited and i think it’s finally here!

  8. What a beautiful cover Vanessa! Congratulations.(Hope I win, but if I don’t I think I’ll buy your book anyway).

  9. Five fabo words…Declare your love for me..sigh. 🙂
    Congrats Vanessa!!

    Kelly Ethan

  10. The cover is gorgeous and the story sounds wonderful. Good luck Vanessa!

  11. Vanessa G

     /  December 16, 2013

    Thanks for the lovely comments, ladies 🙂

  12. And the luck winner is…Natalie! Congratulations Natalie. Vanessa will be in touch with you via email to organise your copy of Captivate!


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