Author Spotlight and Giveaway: RUBY nominee, Kendall Talbot…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Kendall, and congratulations on ‘Lost In Kakadu’ making it to the RUBY finals! Can you give us the blurb, please?

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

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You’ve had a big year in regards to nominations for ‘Lost In Kakadu’. How has your first year as a published author impacted your life?

I’m still a bookkeeper by day and book writer at night. But my writing life has become a crazy, thrilling, whirlwind since my debut was published. I’ve learnt to twitter, post on facebook and I designed my author website. I’d never blogged before but now I do them on a regular basis. I’ve been nominated for 5 wonderful awards but haven’t managed to get any of them over the line yet. Maybe the RUBY will have my name on it. I’ve made so many new writing friends it’s a wonder I get any writing done at all. But I do and I’ve polished off 2 new manuscripts this year too.

 

Trying to work out how to promote my book has been the biggest challenge. Now after my morning workout in the gym I spend 45 minutes on social media attempting witty, inspiring and hopefully not annoying posts about my life and my book. My lunchtime is spent doing the same. I’m extremely busy but still so glad I discovered my passion for writing.

 

What was your path to publication like?

Lost In Kakadu was 8 years in the making. The first draft was written during the Year of The Novel course at the Qld Writers Centre. But it wasn’t until I spent 4 days hiking the Milford Track in New Zealand in 2011, that the story really came to life. As I lugged my own clothes, food, bedding and water up and over the Mackinnon Pass, I tried to imagine what it would be like to be lost in the jungle with no luxuries what-so-ever. That’s when my survival story was truly born. My book went through many edits in those 8 years and before I pitched it, I sought the expertise of a professional editor too.

 

At the RWA conference on the Gold Coast in 2012, I pitched my story to Escape Publishing. A few weeks later I received an email stating they were interested if I was willing to make several changes. It required another six months of editing to remove the 15 flashbacks in the manuscript and I’m so pleased I did, as the final story is so much more powerful without them. I received several rejections for Lost In Kakadu before Escape accepted it. Many said it was too controversial, and that Australia wasn’t ready for a story like this. I think my readers may disagree.

 

You live a very adventurous life.  Can you tell us about it?

My father died in a car accident when I was very young. And although I was only 4 years old at the time, it had a profound effect on the way I live my life. I believe in experiencing life, not just living it. Travel and adventure are my drugs of choice. So far I’ve been fortunate to explore 36 countries and I always have a holiday on the horizon. I’m a bit of an adventure junkie, I love hiking, scuba diving, white water rafting, snow skiing, hang gliding and basically anything that makes me scream.

 

I’m lucky I fell in love with a man who supports my passions. I’ve dragged him all over the world and talked him into many experiences he would never have tried without me. I’m proud to say my children have inherited my sense of adventure too. I have 101 things on my bucket list and so far I’ve crossed off 36. So although we may never pay off our mortgage, we will never regret the money we’ve spent on our thrills.

Camel Jockey

 

What has been your favourite, as well as your most nerve wracking experience so far?

In 2010 we spent a week holidaying in the Solomon Islands. This was the first time we scuba-dived as a family. My youngest son, Alex, was 12 and his older brother Jordan was 14. The diving was magic. The water was so warm wetsuits weren’t required and the visibility was simply amazing, you could see at least 25 metres into the deep blue. We dived down to Japanese WWII fighter planes sitting on the bottom of the ocean and one of my favourite dives was to the Kashi Maru wreck that was sunk after being hit by a bouncing bomb on 3rd July 1945. We went inside that wreck and saw things like boots with the laces still done up, an old typewriter and crockery, along with abundant marine life and colourful clams that snapped shut if you touched them.

Whale Shark and Us March 2010

 

During one dive, we ascended down a coral wall and explored all the colourful nooks and caves. By this time Alex had become very confident and comfortable in the water. He would zoom off and explore anything that caught his eye. But the moment that had my heart in my throat was when I saw a blacktip reef shark swimming right toward him. The beast was bigger than Alex and although I knew it was highly unlikely anything would happen, I was worried Alex would shoot to the surface in a panic. I have never been so scared in my life. Fortunately I managed to hang onto Alex and the shark disappeared as if nothing had happened.

 

What would your ideal holiday consist of- supposing that money and time are not a consideration?

I would love to show the Greek Islands to my husband. We’d live on a luxury yacht with our own captain, and a professional chef to prepare us exotic meals. We’d watch the sunset from the upper deck while sipping Italian wine and enjoying local cheeses. Our day’s would be filled with exploring the islands, scuba diving the magical azure waters, and making love to the sound of water lapping at the sides of our multi-million dollar yacht… whoops, sorry I was swept away on the dream.

Camel Jockey

 

Can you tell us about your current Works In Progress?

I have 2 manuscripts that I’m submitting at the moment.

 

Treasured Love is a modern day treasure hunt with a good dash of romance. The story begins in Australia, hightails it over to Tuscany and ends in the Greek Islands. When Rosalina discovers a clue to a 700 year old mystery it re-unites her with Archer, the man who broke her heart. But the clue sets them on the hunt for a secret treasure that Brother Nox and his dedicated followers are willing to kill for. Archer must fight to salvage his relationship with Rosalina but their hunt for ancient treasure also plunges them into a desperate fight for their lives and Archer will stop of nothing to keep Rosalina in his arms forever.

 

My second manuscript is Double Take. It’s a gritty urban crime story with a dash of romance. Jackson Rich is fully aware of the irony in his name, because the only time Jack was rich lasted about 60 seconds and it turned out to be the worst moment of his life. Jack’s constantly reminded of how unlucky he is. But that doesn’t stop him from planning a bank robbery. His hands are tied, as far as he’s concerned anyway. His wife Candice is the only good thing that ever happened to him. And if the cash he nets from robbing a bank will save her life, then he’ll damn well do it.

 

You’ve learnt your craft via courses and workshops. How important do you think it is for writers to continue their learning journey?

My philosophy is the day you stop learning is the day you start dying. Becoming a new author has forced me to master many new computer programs. Our brains are fascinating and I’m always amazed at what I can learn. All the courses I’ve completed have been very helpful, but one of the best advantages of these classes is meeting likeminded people, who are often in similar stages of their writing life to me. I’ve made some lasting friendships and many of us are travelling this writing journey together.

 

What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given in regards to your writing?

JUST WRITE. Yep that’s it. Because you cannot publish or edit a story that isn’t written. Our lives are busy, so making a point of writing something every day is a step in the right direction. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of words. They don’t have to be a literary masterpiece. And they don’t even have to be part of your manuscript. As long as you are writing, you are improving and hopefully building a lasting habit.

Kendall Talbot public picture

 

Could you give us a peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Lost In Kakadu’, please?

Abi walked around the plane wreck and her heart jumped to her throat at the sight of Mackenzie. He stood completely naked in front of his construction. His teeth were brilliant white against his thick beard and he looked majestic, like a tribal warrior standing proud and confident alongside his conquest.

“Get your gear off. It’s bath time.” He waved her forward. “Come on, while it’s hot.”

She wiped her hands on her pants—a pair of cargo pants she’d borrowed from Toni’s luggage. As she walked toward him, her heart pounded louder with each step and the moisture in her mouth evaporated. She couldn’t speak. Stopping before him she chewed on her bottom lip and willed herself to look into his honey-coloured eyes, searching for his thoughts and confused by her own.

“Feel it,” he said.

Her mind raced, but then she realised he was talking about the water and she swallowed hard. Control yourself, girl. She dipped her fingers into the bath. “It’s warm.” Abi couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt warm water on her body; it was a slice of heaven.

He reached toward her. “Shirt off then.”

She held her arms above her head, allowing him to remove her top and she proudly stood bare breasted before him. A tantalising shiver covered her body with goose pimples as she watched Mackenzie’s eyes, eager to see if he peeked at her. But he flung her shirt aside as if this was something they did every day, barely even glancing at her. She chided herself, realising her desires were deluded. Mackenzie wouldn’t be interested in a woman ten years older than him.

“I’ll get in first, okay?” Mackenzie held her shoulder as he climbed into the bath then he turned and shuffled to one end. Abi watched, mesmerised, as the muscles beneath his bottom cheeks moved. When he turned, she soaked up every inch of his well-toned body. His skin radiated a healthy tan, his abs rippled and the line of hair below his neatly sculpted navel drew her eyes. Heat burnt within her and it took all her might not to look any lower. He’s not interested, Abi.

 

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Kendall is kindly giving away one Ecopy of her novel, ‘Lost in Kakadu’ on a very spiffy Escape Key USB. She will also include in that prize one signed copy of the first chapter of ‘Lost in Kakadu’ 

To be in the running all you have to do is answer the following question in the comments section below:

I’ve told you what my dream holiday would be, I would love to hear about yours.

This competition is open to Australian postal addresses only and will be drawn on July 16, 2014. The winner will be notified by email, so please ensure that we can contact you!

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5 Comments

  1. I love the sound of this book Kendall! Good luck in the Ruby finals. My dream holiday would be visiting Machu Picchu. I hear it’s steep, dangerous, hard on the lungs but still the view would be worth it. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thanks Fiona and I have to agree with Machu Picchu. It’s on my bucket list. I was in South America last year, but just didn’t get there. It gives me a reason to go back though.

    Reply
  3. Kaye Lagunay

     /  July 11, 2014

    I love reading books (who doesn’t, though? :D) and I’m definitely putting this on my to-read list 🙂 But I would just die to go to Salzburg, Austria… My favorite movie is actually The Sound Of Music so visiting the actual place would be a dream :3

    Reply
    • Hi Kaye, I have never been to Salzburg except via that wonderful movie. Maybe I should put it on my bucket list. Thanks for reading my post. Cheers

      Reply
  4. Congratulations Kaye and Fiona, you have both won Kendall’s ebook, ‘Lost In Kakadu’. Enjoy your reading and thanks for coming by!

    Reply

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