Current Release: Rake's Honour
Describe your current release in two sentences?
With just weeks before the end of the Season, London’s most daring debutante Miss Fanny Brightwell must contract a brilliant match or face the consequences - marriage to the loathsome Lord Slyther.
When Fanny unexpectedly participates in a night of stupendous passion with the delectable but notorious rake, Viscount Fenton, his offer of a 'carte blanche' instead of holy matrimony ignites more than just a polite refusal.
What was your childhood ambition?
I've wanted to be a writer since about the age of 7 when I read my stories about a school for witches to my sisters during TV-less holidays at our beach cottage 'Dandeloo' overlooking the sea in Coffin Bay on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. At seventeen I completed my first 550-page romance by drowning my heroine on the last page. (I guess I was still in the grip of my adolescent preoccupation with tragic love transcending all.)
Please describe your writing environment.
My writing nook is an annexe on the kitchen with a beautiful view over the swimming pool and the lovely Macedon Ranges in Victoria.
What are you working on?
At the moment I'm writing the first of a series about a viscount and his family of legitimate daughters and his 'other' family of base-born children and how their lives become entwined. During the Regency 'birth' was everything, so the viscount's natural daughters (supposedly) have the world at their feet. This first story concentrates on the viscount's unloved - but sweet and lovely - wife of 20 years, Sybil, and how she will go to any lengths to save her beloved, dumpy daughter from heartbreak. This requires a very hot, sexy younger man to agree to a surprising proposition.
What career fields have you worked in?
I've been a journalist and editor on newspapers and magazines in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.
Later I managed Mombo luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, where I met my husband, a handsome Norwegian bush pilot.
I've also been an airborne geophysical survey operator working the computer equipment in the back of low flying aircraft over the Greenland ice cap and the jungles of French Guyana. (Cocooned in a small aircraft for eight hours with a lonely pilot is a great apprenticeship for a romance author!)
Until recently I taught English as a second language in Melbourne and currently I teach Short Story at Victoria University, in Melbourne's north.
Where do you want to travel?
Travel? Well, I've lived in Botswana, Norway, Solomon Islands, Namibia, Canada and Japan during my 17 years of marriage so I'm happy to stay at home here in Victoria, Australia, and keep putting down those lovely roots now that the girls are at primary school.
However, one thing we've never done as a family is have a holiday that is purely for relaxing around a pool, reading books and just being together. My husband's family is in Norway and mine is in the Clare Valley, South Australia - about as far apart as you can get! - so most holidays have been visiting one side of the globe or the other.
Our next holiday, I hope, will be at a resort in either Fiji or Bali.
How do you mesh your personal and professional life?
For most of my life I've earned my living through writing, however writing fiction is what I've always wanted to do.
I teach creative writing and do author talks so have been attending Toastmasters in order to polish up my public speaking skills.
I'm half way through my five-year plan which means for the next two years my day job is necessary to pay the bills. But I'm getting there, and at least it's a fiction-related day job!
What are your plans for the summer? Any books you are looking forward to?
I live in Australia so actually we're heading into winter. Here in Gisborne the winters are grey and wet which means long evenings curled up in front of the fire reading. My idea of Heaven!
I'm looking forward to reading a fabulous Regency Romance, Mr Montford's Marriage by Vonnie Hughes and a hilarious romantic comedy, Finding Veronica by Louise Forster.
How was your road to publication? Have you every had to deal with rejection letters?
It was 23 years after finishing my first novel at 17 that I got my first contract.
I'd tried writing contemporary romance when I lived in a thatched cottage in a mopane forest in Botswana with my gorgeous bush pilot I met around a camp fire the night before I flew home to Australia. (The one I married 17 years ago, remember?) Anyway, after 8 months of letter writing following this one meeting he came to Australia and proposed so I found myself in a very isolated part of the world and with lots of time to write.
However, it was only after moving back to Australia and entering the competition circuit of the fabulous Romance Writers of Australia, later winning and getting requests for the full manuscript, that I finally got 'the call'. (And yes, there were LOTS of rejections along the way!)
Can we get an Exclusive excerpt of your next book?
Lady Lovett's Little Dilemma
“The Earl of Lovett has taken a mistress?!”
The breathy shock of pretty newlywed Mrs Rupert Browne sliced through the buzz of conversation, lancing its unsuspecting target three feet away and causing a deaf colonel to solicitously ask the Duchess if she required a glass of water.
Still choking on her champagne, Cressida, Lady Lovett strained to hear the response of her cousin, Catherine, who had obviously disseminated this latest shocking on-dit, smilingly assuring deaf Colonel Horvitt she was quite alright; as if her happiness were not suddenly hanging by a gossamer thread.
She strained to hear more.
“Surely not?” gasped the generally well-intentioned but oblivious Mrs Browne to Cousin Catherine’s whispered reply. “But the earl made a love match. Mama told me he scandalised society by marrying a nobody.”
Cressida had to use two hands to keep her champagne coupe steady. The indignity of being described a ‘nobody’ was nothing compared with the pain of hearing her husband’s amours – real or otherwise - discussed in the middle of a ballroom. She forced her trembling mouth into her best attempt at a smile as the colonel leaned forward and wagged his finger at her, his stentorian tone precluding further eavesdropping. “Your husband ruffled more than a few feathers with his speech in the House of Lords last night, Lady Lovett.”
Cressida had once giggled with her ferociously forceful cousin Catherine that the colonel used his deafness as an excuse to peer down the cleavage of every pretty lady he addressed. She was in no mood for giggling now. Clearly, Cousin Catherine was disclosing details about the state of Cressida’s marriage of which Cressida, apparently, was the last to know. She forced steel into her spine, suddenly self conscious of appearing the sagging, lacking creature the several hundred guests crowded into Lady Belton’s newly renovated ballroom must imagine her if they were already privy to what she was hearing for the first time. Before her last sip of champagne she’d considered herself happily married. It was all she could do to remain standing and dry-eyed.
Adjusting the lace of her masquerade costume she managed, faintly, “Ah Colonel, you know Lord Lovett and his good causes.” She tried to make it sound like an endearment, but the axis of her world had become centred on ascertaining what other titbits about her marriage Catherine was divulging to Mrs Browne.
The music swelled to a crashing crescendo, the end of which was punctuated by Mrs Browne’s shocked squeak, “Madame Zirelli? Was she not once Lord Grainger’s mistress? No! His wife? He divorced her. And now she and Lord Lovett—?”
Thank you so much for having me here today.
Last thoughts? Well, I think that in life if you really want something you can never give up because you just don't know if success is around the corner. I've seen critique partners throw down the pen when I truly believe that if they could hang in there for just another rejection or two, they'd finally get their contract!
So happy reading - or writing - everyone!