Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)
I’m from Canberra, the capital of Australia. My husband and I just celebrated our 39th anniversary and we have two children. We’re both musicians. I did a performance degree on clarinet and my husband is a jazz drummer.
Back in the 1970’s my husband and I drove all over Europe in a VW Kombi van. We were away from Australia for two years and spent a few months living in Switzerland and one year in Holland teaching music at the American High School in The Hague. For those months in Switzerland my husband played in a band at various venues, the most memorable being a club in La Chaux-de Fonds high in the mountains near the French border. The Swiss musicians told us it was really a brothel. The gig finished at 3am and because the roads in early spring were snowy the van slid backwards when we tried to drive up the pass for home a few hours away in Orbe. The snow plough went through at 6am so we all huddled in the railway station café, the only place open, for hours trying to keep warm until the road was cleared.
What is your favorite genre to write?
My natural genre seems to be family style contemporaries. I like writing children because they add extra emotional depths and can cause all sorts of problems just by being themselves.
What is your favorite genre to read?
I like crime, romance of course, and historicals but also enjoy a variety of non genre fiction.
What is one silly fact about you?
About twenty five years ago I started reading my way alphabetically through my local library. I take the next
few books on the shelf regardless of genre. I’ve read some extraordinary books I never would have picked up otherwise and found some favourite writers.
Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance? Do you write steamy romance as well?
As I mentioned earlier sweet seems natural to me. All my Avalon books fit their guidelines for clean reads
without any tweaking on my part. I’m interested in the emotional push/ pull and the psychology of relationships more than the sex angle.
I do have one much steamier story, Eve’s Passion, out with The Whiskey Creek Press, and my The Wild Rose Press releases both have one short bedroom scene. If I do write a sex scene it has to come naturally in the development of the relationship. I’d never write a sex scene for the sake of it.
Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas pop up in the most unexpected places sometimes. The Right Chord is based on the dogs which used to live next door. One of them would howl whenever he heard a police siren or ambulance and then the other dog would join in. As soon as it was out of earshot they’d stop. The mournful sounds used to make us laugh every time but I always thought it would be terrible if the sound of my clarinet students set him off. That led me to Grace, my heroine, a professional violinist and her new neighbor Harry, with a Malamud who howls when she practises.
Stuck came from my attempt to write a book about two people stuck in a lift for the whole story. Turned out that was too hard—I had to let them out after a couple of chapters.
The Wedding Party is based on my niece’s wedding—not the disasters part but the fact there were two Best
Men one of whom vowed he was never getting married, and the celebrant who was brilliant and a total wedding fanatic. What if they were wildly attracted to each other? My niece’s wedding group also spent the pre wedding week together in a rented house because the two Best Men had come from overseas and hadn’t seen the groom for years. In my story the celebrant joins them so she and the hero can grate on each other.
How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?
I have seven books published with Avalon and what would have been the eighth, Love On the North Shore
Line, coming out with Montlake in December. Some readers may not know but Amazon’s romance arm
Montlake bought out Avalon earlier this year. Avalon only released hardcovers for the library market. Beautiful books but expensive. Montlake is publishing ebooks and paperback. They are also releasing our Avalon backlist and two of my books Stuck and The Right Chord are available already. All very exciting!
It took about six years from when I first started seriously aiming for publication until I sold my first book to
Avalon. That book The Right Chord was the third I’d written but by then I had about eight manuscripts ready to go. I was able to send them off to Avalon one by one and have a steady stream of releases . Stories that weren’t suitable (the sexy ones)I was able to send to other publishers. I think I only have two or maybe three early, completely unusable manuscripts lying idle. Others are looking for homes.
I always have stories out for consideration here and there. Harlequin’s new Heartwarming line is perfect for my story style but cracking the voice and tone they require is, I find, difficult
Please share about your book
Love On the North Shore Line is set in Sydney. My daughter commutes to work by train and she gave me
the idea for the story when she told me I should use the personal ads in the commuter paper Mx. The story is
about Dimity and Marcus who only travel once on the same train in the morning but she leaves her scarf and
he, fascinated by the attractive young woman, picks it up with the intention of returning it to her. He uses the
personal ads in Mx but nothing works out as he hopes.
What are your hero and heroine of the story like?
Dimity lives for her music. She’s a professional bassoon player in a symphony orchestra. Her extended family is well-known in the high powered world of business but her relatives are condescending towards Dimity’s branch of the family—the underachievers, the artists and musicians. She has learned to ignore the sniping and has a healthy dislike of that cold world of ambition and financial gain.
Marcus is very ambitious. He works in finance and is hoping for a promotion into the executive level of the
company he works for. He has a full social life with no intention of settling down yet. His widowed Italian
Mama expects him and his brother plus family for Sunday dinner every week and never misses an opportunity to tell Marcus he needs a wife. His Mama and his sister-in-law are unimpressed by his achievements because he is still single with no children.