New releases from members this August

It’s August – the last official month of winter. Sometimes wind and rain sweeps down. Sometimes the daffodils come early. Always there is the RWA conference to motivate and inspire a novelist. If you’re looking for something to read on the plane on the way to Brisbane, your fellow members have obliged with a swag of new releases.

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April New Releases

I hope everybody enjoyed the Easter long weekend and reading some extra books while enjoying their chocolate. Don’t the two make a fabulous combination?  Books and chocolate,  chocolate and books … it really does’t matter which way you mix them.

Chocolate levels may have returned to normal, but happily we have some fabulous new releases available this month from our members so there is no need to limit your book rations. Mix and match as much as you wish to. Happy reading everyone.

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February New Title Releases

February is the month of love. As we look forward to Valentine’s Day, here is a snapshot of some of the new releases available from our members. I’m already poised to click ‘purchase’ on my laptop for several of them!

Remember that we would love the opportunity to hear about your new release and  let all your RWA compatriots know about it too. You can upload covers through the member section of the website. Please login, then go to Published? under the MyRWA drop down menu and choose the ‘send new releases to Hearts Talk‘. Your cover will also appear on the website and be posted to Pinterest.

The deadline for covers is the 8th of the month prior to publication (e.g. If your release is 1 March, your email must be received before the 8 February). This service is available to MEMBERS ONLY. If your cover runs late for any reason, you are welcome to submit it the next month.

February 2016 New Releases

November new title releases from RWA members

Can you believe it? November already, and the countdown to Christmas is quickening its pace and squeezing 24 hours into 20 hours max. At least, that’s how it feels to me. If you need to take a deep breath and a time out amidst all the mistletoe madness, try one of these new releases. As usual, there is something for everyone. Enjoy.

 

RWA members new book releases

NEW RELEASES FROM RWA MEMBERS

There’s a distinct nip in the air these days, which means it is perfect weather for snuggling under a blanket on a comfy chair and catching up on your reading. Here is a selection of great new romance releases from our members, ranging from sweet to sexy and contemporary to historical; from pirate ships to the Outback and on to city streets with a little bit of magic and shape-shifting thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

June New Releases

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Louise Reynolds…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Louise, and congratulations on the release of ‘Red Dirt Duchess’!  Can you give us the blurb, please?

Thanks, Sarah!

When English society playboy Jonathan Hartley-Huntley is sent to outback Australia after a disastrous affair with his editor, all he wants is to take a few pictures, do a quick interview and get back to his usual life of luxury as soon as possible. Until he meets his host, the irresistible Charlie Hughes, and suddenly the back of beyond is a lot more appealing.

Running the pub is a labour of love for Charlie and she has no desire to ever leave the tiny town of Bindundilly. That is, until Jon discovers an old painting that raises questions about both their lives. Charlie impulsively decides to follow him to London, and as the feelings between them begin to deepen, she starts to wonder if there’s more to life than the pub. But at Jon’s family home, the magnificent Hartley Hall, they become acutely aware of the differences between them, and it soon seems clear they have no future together – especially if Jon’s mother has her way.

Family and tradition threaten the course of true love in this warm and witty novel from the author of Outback Bride and Her Italian Aristocrat.

 Red Dirt Duchess

You write of independent heroines who are in control of their own HEA. How do you think romance heroines have changed over the years?

It’s no surprise that heroines are stronger these days. Like modern women they hold jobs that would have been unusual 20 or 30 years ago which gives the writer more scope to create interesting characters. They’re also more likely to express their opinions and initiate relationships. Having said that, it’s important to respect those well-loved heroines of the past. Good writers hold a mirror up and reflect what they see and heroines that we might view now as down-trodden were the norm back then. I also think the type of hero they are looking for has changed with the times.

When did you start writing with the intention of being published?

 About 2010.

Can you tell us about ‘The Call’ and your road to publication? What impact has being published made on you personally?

I received the call from Carol George at Destiny Romance in September 2012 after pitching ‘Her Italian Aristocrat’ a month earlier. I almost shot myself in the foot though, as I was thinking of pitching a newer, unfinished manuscript, something I would never have been able to complete in reasonable time. Luckily my partner gave me ‘the look’, advised me to pitch Aristocrat and they loved it.

Being published has focussed me a lot more. I now make a 12 month plan for the projects I have afoot. I’ve also had to come up to speed on social media and promotion and gained new skills along the way in website creation.

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Plotter or pantser?

In your opinion, what are the elements of a compelling contemporary romance story?

A great hero and heroine with very real conflicts to resolve. I want the conflict 1to be emotional and their problems not easily overcome.

Which authors or novels have influenced you most?

Nora Roberts’ “Born In” trilogy, “Chesapeake Bay” series, and the “Three Sisters” trilogy. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ “Ain’t She Sweet”, Kristan Higgins, Marion Lennox, Anne Gracie, Shirley Jump and Sarah Mayberry.

Tell us something surprising about yourself that no one would guess.

I spent a lot of time in my early 30’s walking long distance footpaths in England. Alone. A wonderful experience but with a few freak-out moments.

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Complete this sentence… ‘When I’m not writing I can be found…

on a building site.

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Red Dirt Duchess’, please?

Sure. Here’s a scene from early in the book when my English hero, Jon, has arrived in the outback and the heroine, Charlie, is taking him on his first drive into the bush.

‘So I guess you’re my tour guide,’ he said. ‘The magazine will pay, of course.’

‘That’s okay. Actually, you’re doing me a favour. I like to get away occasionally.’

He glanced out the window. ‘And go where?’

She was ready with a retort until she remembered how it had been when she and Cliff had first come here. After inner-city Sydney with its street life, crowded pubs, bright lights and noise, those first few weeks had been terrifying. But gradually the peace had settled around them, cancelling out their chaotic existence in the city. With Cliff as her guide, she’d learned to appreciate the space, the vistas and the stunning, saturated colours. She’d gained strength and resilience. And happiness.

 ‘You’d be surprised. There’s quite a good social life around here.’ She shifted gear and took a fork in the track. The surface became rougher and as she swerved to miss a hole, he shifted in his seat and his shoulder bumped into hers. It reminded her of last night, of how he’d felt up close. Strong and sexy. Almost irresistible.

‘Anyway, you can keep your cocktail parties or whatever,’ she continued. ‘When the outback throws a party, everyone comes. The airstrip? There’ll be thirty, forty light planes out there. Race meetings, B & S balls —’

‘I’m almost too scared to ask, but what’s a B & S ball?’ He gripped the handle above the door as they swerved around more holes.

She gave him a pitying look. ‘Bachelors and spinsters, the great hook-up event for country singles. People come from all around, camp out overnight and get dressed up to the nines for the dance. It’s a chance to blow off a little steam.’

‘Sounds classy.’

She slid a look at him. ‘Yeah, well, you should try it sometime, hot shot.’

He grinned and looked out the window.

After ten minutes, he turned to her, a worried look on his face. ‘You do know where you’re going, right? There are so many tracks and they’re so random. I mean, why this one and not the one we passed just back there?’

‘Because most of them aren’t really tracks. They’re just detours made some time when there was water on the road, so they’ll take you away from the road for a while but eventually lead you back a little further on.’ She lowered her voice and made a serious face. ‘That is, if you don’t accidentally take another track that leads off the detour track. It’s easy to do.’

She shook her head. ‘One second of lost concentration and you’re heading down a track to nowhere. But it’s too late once you’ve realised, because when you turn around you can’t remember which track was the one you came off. You can drive around for days trying to find your way home. If you last that long.’

He looked mildly freaked out but she couldn’t help adding, ‘Of course they’re not even tracks, some of them. Most are just tyre marks made by vehicles gone bush. As I said before, a lot of very strange people live out here. No one really knows how many fugitives there are.’

He paled a little more and she was done. As sport went it was perfect.

Ten minutes later they turned off the track they’d been following onto a narrower one; a real track, Charlie informed him with a smirk. Here, by the river, coolabah trees grew, their low, spreading branches providing welcome shade. Charlie pulled into a clearing and shut off the engine.

 

 

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 Louise is kindly gifting one Kindle copy of Red Dirt Duchess to one lucky reader. To be in the running to win, all you need to do is leave a comment below for Louise.

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week from the date of this post. The winner will be notified by email so please ensure that we can contact you.

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Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Rural Romance novelist, Lisa Ireland…

Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Lisa and congratulations on the release of ‘Breaking the Drought ’!  Can you tell us a little about it, please?

The original idea for Breaking the Drought came about from a newspaper article I read about a tiny rural town. The town’s population was dwindling so a matchmaking ball was organised to attract people to the area. I started to wonder how all those city girls would fare if they actually fell in love with a farmer and decided to move to the town.

In Breaking The Drought my heroine, Jenna, is a reluctant guest at the Barlow Bush Blokes’ Ball. She’s well aware that rural life is not for her. However, when she unexpectedly ends up stuck in the town for longer than she’d planned she finds herself not only falling for hunky sheep grazier, Luke, but also beginning to love the town itself. Unfortunately for her, Luke isn’t interested in any sort of relationship. A tragedy from his past is overshadowing his life and there’s simply no room in his heart for love.

I really loved writing this book. Barlow feels very real to me and while I was writing the book the characters took on lives of their own – sometimes doing things that took me by surprise! The story includes a number of secondary characters and I particularly enjoyed writing Maggie, Luke’s sister-in-law, who’s a strong and resilient woman.

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You were born and bred in Melbourne yet you write rural romance. Where does this inspiration come from?

I might have been born in the city but I’m a country girl at heart!

I was a horse-mad child. I got my first pony when I was about twelve years old, but because we lived in the suburbs I couldn’t keep her at home and had to rely on my parents to drive me out to the farm where she was agisted.  I grew up dreaming of owning a farm where I could keep as many horses as I liked!

As a graduate teacher I was posted to a small rural school and I got my first real taste of country living.  I was a total fish-out-of water for the first few months, but I grew to love the small community and was desperately sad when I was eventually redeployed to a Melbourne school.  When I’m writing a rural romance I often use my experience as a newcomer to the bush as my inspiration.

I currently live in a small town in regional Victoria so I also have my everyday experiences to draw on. (The girls who work in my local café are always telling me I can put them in one of my books. I keep telling them to be careful what they wish for!)

‘Breaking the Drought’ is your debut novel. Can you tell us about ‘The Call’? Has being published changed your life in any way?

‘The Call’ came in the form of an email from Kate Cuthbert. I was in London at the time, holidaying with my family for the Australian summer break. For the first time ever I travelled without my laptop and so I was relying on my tablet to download mail from the Internet. This turned out not to work so well. To make matters worse the wifi in our hotel was pretty dodgy so I was only checking mail intermittently. When I logged on and found the email from Kate in my inbox, I was stunned. It was the last thing I was expecting to see. At first I was reluctant to open it, not wanting to spoil my holiday with news of a rejection. Luckily curiosity got the better of me! I was thrilled to find that Escape wanted to buy my manuscript.

By coincidence my beta reader was also holidaying in London and I’d made plans to meet her that very same night. We had a lovely champagne fuelled celebration!

Being published hasn’t really changed my day-to-day life. I write full time and have been doing so for almost two years so my routine hasn’t really changed. I guess I’m a little surprised at the amount of time taken up by non-writing parts of the business – website maintenance, writing blog posts, having a presence on social media and so on. Luckily I enjoy all of those things!

How long have you been writing and did you always write with the intention of one day being published?

Like many writers I have been writing for as long as I can remember. When I was little I used to produce my own weekly magazine, Witches Brew, which I still have copies of! So I’ve always written for pleasure (and was an early self-publisher!), but for many years I believed third party publication was a pipe dream.

After my youngest child was born I found myself at home full time. I took an online creative writing course and from there progressed to a Professional Writing and Editing course. That was in 2005—the same year I joined RWAus—so my journey’s been a long one.

What would we find on your book shelf / e reader?

I’m an eclectic reader. I love all sorts of different things. I write contemporary fiction and I guess I’m drawn to reading contemporary works primarily, but having said that one of my all time favourite books is Geraldine Brooks’ The Year of Wonders, which is set in the 1600s. Other favourite books include, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding, The Household Guide to Dying by Debra Adelaide and my go to comfort read, Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery.

On my e-reader right now I have Georgina Penney’s Unforgettable You, which I’m really enjoying. I’ve pre-ordered Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns and I’m looking forward to reading that as it’s the third of her Bunyip Bay Series and I’ve loved the other two.

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What was the most helpful piece of advice you’ve ever received in regards to writing?

Just write. It sounds so simple, but carving out the time to write can be difficult, especially for unpublished writers. It can be hard to prioritise writing when you’re not being paid and when other people don’t necessarily take your writing seriously.

The only way to improve as a writer is to write. Of course attending classes and reading craft books can be helpful but you can’t improve words that are not written. I make sure I write something every day, even if it’s just a sentence.

Are you a plotter or pantster or a bit of both?

Both! I tend to start with the characters’ GMC and work from there. I usually write a rough outline and divide that into three acts, making sure I know what the black moment will be. Once that’s done I pants my way through the book. Often my characters take me places that I’m not expecting to go. In my current WIP the black moment turned out to be something I hadn’t originally envisaged.

What would we find you doing in your spare time?

I’d love to able to say I knit or crochet or run marathons, but sadly none of these things are in my repertoire. I love reading and I love writing! When I’m not doing those things you can probably find me talking to someone –my husband, my kids, my friends or even my dog. I do like a chat and my husband reckons if talking ever becomes a sport I’ll be an Olympic gold medal contender. I often combine talking with my other loves – eating and drinking coffee.

Can you tell us about your works in progress?

Right now I’m working on a book tentatively titled Homecoming Queen. It’s about a woman, Jo, who comes home to a small town to be bridesmaid for her best friend. She’s running away from her complicated life in New York, which includes a movie star ex-fiancé and a successful career that has become unsatisfying. Jo’s hoping to find respite amongst her family and friends, but when she arrives she’s shocked to find her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Ryan, has moved back to the town.  Ryan’s life took a turn for the worse after his relationship with Jo ended and he’s still bitter about their break up. Jo fears the town is not big enough for the two of them.

What does the future hold for Lisa Ireland?

Hopefully lots more published books!

Could you give us a sneaky peek at one of your favourite parts of ‘Breaking the Drought’, please?

Sure!  This is the moment Jenna first realises she’s attracted to Luke. It takes place during a shearing competition.

‘All right shearers, take your positions. Ladies, please join me in counting them down.’ Mal held up three fingers. ‘Three, two, one, go!’

All three men grabbed hold of the metal clippers hanging above them and got to work on removing the wool from their sheep’s belly.

Despite not being professionals they seemed to know what they were doing, expertly holding the sheep still between their feet as they manoeuvred the clippers over the animals’ bodies.

Jenna couldn’t take her eyes off Luke as he firmly but gently went about removing the wool from the sheep’s back. Before starting he had stripped off his shirt and now a close-fitting navy singlet rode up to reveal glimpses of his washboard stomach as he worked. His tanned body glistened with sweat as his quick, strong hands moved over the sheep. Jenna’s pulse quickened as an image of those hands caressing her body flashed through her mind.

Brooke was caught up in the excitement of the competition, clapping and cheering beside Jenna. ‘Go Luke,’ she yelled.

Suddenly Luke stopped and stood upright. The ewe was bare. He nudged the fleece forward with his foot and a young teenaged boy stepped forward to collect it. The boy shook the fleece out and laid it on a round metal table. Luke let go of the clippers and threw a fist in the air.

Jenna held her breath as Mal examined the fleece.

‘Ladies,’ he shouted above the noise. ‘We have our winner!’

Matt and Cameron were both now finished. The shearers released their sheep into a small pen while the young rouseabout took their fleeces. The losing competitors were quick to shake Luke’s hand and slap him on the back.

‘Luke, time to get your prize. Which of these lovely ladies will you choose to get a kiss from?’

Luke laughed and shook his head. ‘It’s too hard to choose, Mal.’

‘A deal’s a deal, son. Let’s not disappoint the ladies now.’

Luke nodded as his eyes scanned the crowd. ‘Alright then.’ He stood still for a moment, seeming to consider his options as the girls all called out to him, hoping to sway him their way.

Butterflies of nervous anticipation swirled in Jenna’s stomach, which was ridiculous. As if he would pick her. Luke Tanner had made it quite clear he thought she was a pain in the butt so she was probably last on his list. Nevertheless, he was striding towards her purposefully it seemed. His gaze was fixed on her, and with each step it seemed more and more likely that she was his chosen target. Her pulse thudded in her ears as Luke came to a halt almost directly in front of her.

‘Made your choice have you, Luke?’

Jenna held her breath as he answered.

Author Bio:

Lisa Ireland lives in a small coastal town with her husband, their three sons, and a crazy Labrador named Millie. When she’s not writing or reading she spends her time walking Millie along the beach, drinking copious amounts of coffee at a local café, and cheering on the Mighty Cats at Simonds Stadium.

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Lisa is kindly gifting one e-copy of ‘Breaking the Drought’ to one  lucky reader. To be in the running, all you need to do is leave a comment below for Lisa.

This competition is open world wide and will be drawn one week after posting.  

 

 

 

 

Author Spotlight: Jennie Jones…

Today our guest is she of the velvety MC voice of the RWA Conference in Fremantle, the lovely Jennie Jones! Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Jennie, and congratulations on the print release of ‘The House on Burra Burra Lane’.

Thank you! Wow, I’m here on the RWA Author Spotlight blog – can I just say how thrilling it is? Twelve months ago I had no idea I’d have anything more to discuss than how well a little story I’d written was doing in competitions. Now, that little story is with the amazing Escape Publishing and has been taken to trade paperback with Harlequin Australia MIRA.

Can you tell us a little about ‘The House on Burra Burra Lane’? Is it part of a series?

Yes, it’s part of a series, although I didn’t originally intend it to be. I simply wrote a story. Getting Burra Burra Lane published and turning it into a series has slotted me into my ‘brand’. And truthfully, before this, I had no idea what my brand would be. I like to think of it as fate: I wrote a story, the story found a home, and therefore, I found a brand for Jennie Jones – but! I believe there is growth yet to be found, and I hope my style of writing will evolve along with my brand, and that both will eventually find their perfect niche.

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You’ve had a very interesting life, pre-author, can you tell us a little about it?

I’m glad it appears interesting J  To me, it’s just been life. Good times, bad times. It’s the small glories that make living worthwhile though. Where would we be if the little triumphs in our lives didn’t outweigh the necessities of working and paying bills and being mum, sister, daughter, wife, cook, cleaner and sex kitten? (Ok – that last one isn’t me, but it might be you!)

I was a professional actor all my life (basically from the age of three) and the artistic side of my nature helps with my writing, but the two are poles apart. Understanding how a character might move, walk, bear herself on stage is a wonderful attribute for understanding that character, but it does not give the writer the skill sets of crafting a story on paper. (But it does help!)

When did you start writing and when did you start doing it with the intention of being published?

I started writing three years before I got published. I think I just jumped in the puddle and splashed around, learning as I went. Writing fiction was truly difficult for me. I made every beginner mistake and probably invented a few.  But once I started getting feedback it was inspiring, and not in the way you might think.  Half of my feedback was positive, the other half excruciatingly painful to read. I realised I had to find a middle line, and that first and foremost, I had to be true to me and the style I was garnering.

What was your path to publication like?

Torturous (read above), then fast, then thrilling. Not a year I’m ever likely to forget. In March 2012 I decided to challenge myself.  I literally secluded myself as much as I was able to, and knuckled down to write and learn.

I took one of seven written manuscripts off my beginner’s shelf and started work on it, and have no idea why I chose the one over the other six.  I did a Savvy Authors boot camp and wrote 50k in one month, adding to the original half-written 30k story of The House on Burra Burra Lane. Whilst doing this, I also did four online courses with Savvy Authors, learning how to craft. I worked my part-time day job too. Looking back, I think I was continually both exhausted and enthused. But, in February 2013 Escape Publishing said Yes. And I found home.

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What are you doing when you’re not writing?

Trying to remember what it’s like to be normal, then remembering that normal isn’t what I want.

Can you describe your writing space?

Sometimes cluttered, sometimes clear, dependant on my housewifely feelings of duty.  But basically, I can’t work on laptops – I need a big PC screen and a proper keyboard. I can type, fast (best thing I ever learned how to do), so my fingers can keep time with the thoughts in my head (mostly).

Your novel has been made into a movie – pick your dream cast.

Oh, easy. In fact for the first time ever in my writing history, I chose photographs of two movie stars as my inspiration.  But I’m not talking about Burra Burra – to this day, I have no idea who I would pick from Hollywood to play Sammy or Ethan, but I can tell you about Charlotte and Daniel from book #2 in the series. Here they are… Ryan Reynolds and Christina Hendricks.

Christina Hendricks Ryan Reynolds

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

Well, I’ve got book #2 of Swallow’s Fall ready to sub to my publisher. I’ve got book #3 started.  After that, I’m taking two other stories off my beginner’s shelf and I’m going to work them into my brand. Both stories are set in Australia and both have the quirky humour within a high romantic element that I love to write.

Can you please give us an excerpt from either Burra or your wip?

I think Burra has been around long enough for a number of people to have read bits – so here’s a section from book #2 in my Swallow’s Fall series.  Working title: The House at the Bottom of the Hill.

Charlotte Simmons pulled her shoulders back and eyed the mob standing in front of her, set on a lynching. Only six people but two of them held high seats of governance on the town committee and had enough community rope to hang her.

        Sweat trickled beneath the collar of her snowy-white linen shirt but she ignored the need to waft the collar and get some cooler air blowing down her spine. She smoothed the palms of her hands over her beige-coloured cotton skirt and raised her chin.

            At least Daniel Bradford had disappeared inside Kookaburra’s. Standing there watching her. Not much a conversationalist, Daniel – well, not with her. Usually showed her his back after one of his off-hand waves. That’s all she’d seen of him. The broad, easy-shouldered pitch of his back. Couldn’t say what he looked like up close.

            He had a great bum though. A fabulous bum. A twelve out of ten rating type of masculine butt. He had the respect of the town too. Something she definitely didn’t possess, but he’d been in town for years, he was practically home grown. She’d been here two weeks…and so far it felt like a life sentence.

Sarah: Thanks so much for joining us today, Jennie, and for the wonderful job you did as part of the fabulous RWA13 Freo team. What an amazing conference! 

Jennie: Thank you so much for having me here. I love RWA so much, and will continue to give RWA the time I can, if they want it.

If you’d like to connect with Jennie, here’s where you can find her: 

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Escape Publishing

Author Spotlight and Giveaway: Fiona Palmer…

This week’s Author Spotlighter went from being a third generation speedway race car driver to a best selling Rural Romance novelist! Hello Fiona Palmer, and welcome to the Author Spotlight! Can you tell us how a woman makes such a transition?

LOL I’m not sure I even know the answer to that. Driving was just something we did as kids and with my dad’s family all involved in Speedway it was a natural progression. Writing was the one that came out of left field. Not even I could have predicted that career. But I so glad I stumbled into it.

What was the best part about speedway racing? Do you still do it?

I loved racing, especially being the only girl with all the guys. The adrenaline after a race, the smells and the sounds. I loved it. I gave up racing when I got pregnant with my daughter but when my son is old enough to race we will probably get back involved. My dad still races.

You’ve had a variety of jobs in your life, how have these inspired in regards to your writing?

They have given me experiences I can write about in all my books. It’s easier to describe the sounds and smells when you have plunged your own hands deep into wool or had to stop the tractor because hydraulic oil is spurting out during seeding. And it’s also these moments that I appreciate and realised just how much I love my life. Like crisp foggy mornings when the smell of fresh turned earth can invigorate your senses.

Of all the characters you’ve created, which is your favourite and why?

Jonelle, because I would love to be a mechanic. I’d love to be able to restore an old car, like a Mustang or an old Torana. And she still races Speedway!

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

Just start writing. It’s the best advice because I find sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.

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What’s the best thing about being an Author?

I’m at home. I’m here for the kids. I can go to their school events and help out at canteen. I can help out with our community and be on committee’s. I have flexible time. I have time to myself.

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When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time (if you have any!).

Read and watch movies. That’s how I relax or unwind. But there is always something I should be doing instead.

How long does it take you for each stage of the writing process – first draft, editing and polishing?

First draft is usually three to four months. Editing another month or more. This also depends on how busy the publishers are and then the last proofreading stage could be another month.  I usually set myself a high weekly word rate. It used to be 5000 words a week, but then I did 10,000 words in a week and realised I could handle that. So that’s my new weekly target.

Do you have any works in progress you can share with us?

I am yet to start my next book. I’m waiting until I get back from Italy and then I’ll dive in head first.  But I’m writing a Young Adult/New Adult series I can share with you.

Here is the beginning of ‘The New Recruit’

‘Bloody Hell, I knew I shouldn’t have come,’ mumbled Jaz as the sweaty, skimpy clothed bodies danced around her.

For one, she was under aged and wasn’t technically allowed in the nightclub. Two, she’d lost her best friend, Taylor, he’d gone to get drinks and vanished in the smoky, strobe-lit room. Three, she’d noticed a very drunk girl, one she knew but didn’t like, getting carted off towards the exit door by two creepy- looking blokes.  And four, she could have been back at Anna’s house in her pjs eating popcorn, watching a movie and minding her own business.

If only she could mind her own business now! But Jasmine Thomas had the problem of smelling foul play. How she had the ability to sniff out trouble, she wasn’t sure. Her best friend Anna would say it was because she created most of it herself. Sadly she was probably right? 

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From Pitch To Publication (Pt 3): Jennifer Scoullar

Welcome to the third in a series of special guest interviews with authors who received a publishing contract after pitching their manuscript at an RWA conference. I hope these interviews motivate and inspire you with the knowledge that pitching appointments can and do lead to publication!

Please welcome Jennifer Scoullar…

1. Congratulations on receiving a publishing contract! Which conference did you pitch at and had you ever pitched before?

Thank You. I pitched Brumby’s Run at the 2011 RWA Conference in Melbourne, and no, I had never pitched before.

 

2. What was going through your mind before the pitch, and afterwards did you feel it had been a success?

I was absolutely terrified, much more nervous than I expected to be. But I had learned my pitch ad nauseum, so I didn’t really have to think about it too much. I pitched to Belinda Byrne of Penguin. She was so lovely, and did all she could to put me at my ease. Best of all, she asked for my full manuscript, so I felt the pitch had gone well.

 

3. How long did it take to hear back after your submission? What was the next step?

Belinda Byrne contacted me via email even before she’d finished reading, about three weeks after the August conference. Her comments were encouraging. Belinda rang to organise a meeting halfway through September, and by October I had a contract to publish Brumby’s Run.

 

4. After submitting your full manuscript, did you get a call with an offer of publication, or did you have to make changes to your manuscript first?

In October 2011 I received an email titled Penguin Letter of Offer for Brumby’s Run.  This was based on the original manuscript that I’d pitched at the August RWA Conference. During my earlier meeting with Belinda Byrne however, she’d asked me how I felt about editing. She’d explained that she had some problems with the ending, feeling it had been rushed (which was true!) I told her that I would look forward to working with an experienced editor to improve my manuscript.

 

5. How did it feel when you received an offer of publication?

I literally couldn’t believe it. I printed the letter of offer and carried it around with me for weeks, checking occasionally to see if it was real. Brumby’s Run was published in July, in time for the 2012 RWA Conference, but sometimes I still think it was all a dream.

 

6. Do you have any advice for writers who are thinking of pitching at the next conference, or for writers who have already pitched and are anxiously awaiting the results after sending in their submissions?

Firstly, make it easy for the publisher or agent by categorising your book for them.

– i.e. Brumby’s Run is a 90,000 word contemporary rural romance set in Victoria’s beautiful upper Murray region.

Then tell them briefly what your story is about.

– i.e. Samantha Carmichael is a spoilt city girl who wants to build a new future high in the Victorian alps, even if it means stealing her sister’s life.

Only then should you give the longer version, no more than a few hundred words. Remember that you might be asked questions. My other tip is to practice your pitch, until it becomes automatic. Then if your nerves fail, you are more likely to remember it, and not ramble on describing your whole plot. There’s no time for that. If you’ve already pitched and haven’t heard, I think it’s fine to send an email reminder after a few weeks. If a publisher or agent shows interest, indicate that you welcome editing, and will be easy to work with.

 

7. Which book got published as a result of your conference pitch? Can you give us a brief blurb?

As a result of last year’s pitch, Brumby’s Run was published in July 2012. My new novel, Firewater, will be out with Penguin in July 2013

A blissful carefree summer beckons for Samantha Carmichael. But her world is turned on its head when she learns she’s adopted – and that she has a twin sister, Charlie, who is critically ill.

While Charlie recovers in hospital, Sam offers to look after Brumby’s Run, her sister’s home high in the Victorian Alps. Within days city girl Sam finds herself breaking brumbies and running cattle with the help of handsome neighbour Drew Chandler, her sister’s erstwhile boyfriend.

A daunting challenge soon becomes a wholehearted tree change as Sam begins to fall in love with Brumby’s Run – and with Drew. But what will happen when Charlie comes back to claim what is rightfully hers?

Set among the hauntingly beautiful ghost gums and wild horses of the high country, Brumby’s Run is a heartfelt, romantic novel about families and secrets, love and envy and, most especially, the bonds of sisterhood.

 

Thanks for sharing your experience with us today!

You can visit Jennifer online at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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