Hello Lily Malone! Congratulations on the release of ‘Fairway to Heaven’, and welcome to the Author Spotlight! I hear you had a brief encounter with visual arts that didn’t end well. (Something about a golf club and a canvas?) What made you decide to take up writing romance instead?
Yikes! The RWA Author Spotlight writer does her homework doesn’t she! Well… after the birth of my second son (now Mr 4), I got this urge to paint. Given I can’t paint the side of a barn, I chose this style called ‘Colour-field painting’… and I tangled with it for a while but it all ended in disaster when my son (by that stage crawling and lethal) put a golf club through the canvas. About then, I turned to romance writing instead!
How did your former life as a Journalist help or hinder you in regards to writing romance?
It helped in that I’m a fast typist, and I’m useful at research and not afraid to ask questions to find out what I need to know. It hindered because journalists (well the good ones) are supposed to write facts, and we’re supposed to write those facts with minimal words and no fancy-pants description lest our reader get bored after the headline. So from that perspective, I had so much to learn about creative writing craft, I could have filled a newspaper. Or two.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Absolute. Definite. Raging. Pantser! (which I always want to write pantster BTW)
What are the essential ingredients of a great contemporary romance?
Chemistry. Condoms, apparently. No bullshit.
You moved from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia to Margaret River in WA – both famous wine regions. Do you like a glass? If so, what would be the perfect food to go with it?
Do I like a glass?! Ahem. Three or four more like it! One of my most special things in the world is to have a great bottle of red wine (my current favourite is McLaren Vale Grenache) with good cheese and crackers, whilst one plays cards late into the night. There’s something about red wine and cheese that is just meant to be.
Have any of your characters particularly remained in your heart? If so, which one and why?
You know, I’m pretty partial to one of my secondary characters, Ben, from my novella The Goodbye Ride. I’m not sure why, except that it was so much fun writing him, and often I find myself thinking of his life… I’m very tempted one day, to write about him, but to do that, I’d have to venture into a M/M book. Maybe. Never say never.
How hard is it to put your favourite characters through conflict, despair and tough times?
In Fairway To Heaven, I give my heroine, Jenn, some awful times. I make her peer into a sand bunker when she knows she doesn’t want to see who and what’s at the bottom; I give her some terrible times with her toddler that most mothers will recognize; I give her some physical problems which make sex pretty darn difficult, and to top everything off, I make her watch cricket and consume a bottle of champagne (at the same time). Wake up with that hangover – I dare you!
Can you share with the readers one unusual thing about yourself?
Well, my Facebook friends know that I have a ‘thing’ about Warney (aka Shane Warne). This day and age, that’s pretty unusual as most women seem to think he’s an absolute pillock. I love sport. Football. Cricket. Horse-racing. Golf. Fairway To Heaven is my golf book. One day I think I will write a cricket book. Oh – and I have also cried each and every time I’ve watched the Australian Story documentary about Black Caviar.
How do you balance everything you’ve got to do in the day – work, motherhood and writing?
I don’t. My husband never thinks I leave enough time for family. It’s a constant struggle.
Can you please give us a sneaky peek excerpt from ‘Fairway to Heaven’?
I whip toward his voice. My tummy does this liquid slosh, like a water balloon bouncing, until my torso aligns with my spinning head, and I see him.
“Hi,” I say. It sounds dreadfully inept.
There’s him: Bare-foot, unshaven, and he still looks like sex on legs.
Then there’s me: travel-weary, toddler screaming, a snail-trail of snot and dribble on my collarbone.
It’s no contest.
“Emmy didn’t think anyone would be here. I’m so sorry. I hate to barge in on you like this.”
“Hi yourself. You’re a surprise.” He starts down the ramp. The steps bow under his weight and the entire house complains. “You’re hardly barging. I’ve never seen anyone take that driveway so slow, and don’t blame Em. She doesn’t know I’m here. What are you doing here anyway?”
Seb is all huge blue eyes, his attention captured by this big, broad stranger. For the moment at least, he’s forgotten his sore teeth, and that’s a blessing.
“I’ve—” I break off. I’ve what exactly? Come to get away. Come to recharge my batteries. Come to escape my two-timing ex. “I’ve come for the weekend.”
Brayden steps lightly off the bottom step. He’s wearing a blue-checked shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbow—unbuttoned—over a white t-shirt with a faded yellow Corona logo. Charcoal-grey shorts finish just above his knees.
I’ve forgotten how overwhelming he is. I’m tall, but there’s so much of him to go round. It’s a bit like watching Thor, but without the hammer.
I heft Sebby higher on my hip. “Sebastian, this is Brayden. This is Aunt Emmy’s big brother.”
Lily is giving away two e-copies of Fairway To Heaven, so if you’d like to win a copy of Fairway, please leave a comment below, telling Lily whether golf is a sport you love, or loathe, and why.
This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on January 14th 2014.
Thank you for taking part in our Author Spotlight Lily and congratulations on the release of ‘Fairway to Heaven’!
It was great fun! Thank you for having me!