Behind the Story: Marilyn Forsyth

Being a writer can be a solitary affair with hours upon hours at the keyboard trying to perfect the next story. As with any profession, it’s nice to meet and get to know others in the same field and I have been so very fortunate to meet many writers who I admire immensely. And from a reader’s point of view (and of course I spend a lot of time reading other people’s books!), it’s fun to get to know the person behind the story. So with that in mind, I’m creating a new series of blog posts that will feature authors and their books and we’ll be concentrating on the story behind the story.

Today’s special guest is one of my lovely Harlequin MIRA sisters, Marilyn Forsyth. Her debut novel is the gorgeous The Farmer’s Perfect Match.

But first, let’s get to know Marilyn:

author photo harlequin

Photo courtesy of Jungle Jack

Marilyn Forsyth would love to live in a world where everyone’s story has an ending as happy as those in her books. Her emotion-packed outback romances combine hunky heroes and huggable heroines with settings in some of Australia’s most remote and beautiful places. When she’s not bunkered down in her peacock-blue writing cave creating unique characters for readers to fall in love with she can be found travelling with her other half, drawing and painting, or scouting out local cafes in search of the perfect coffee and cake combo. She has two grown sons and lives, surrounded by bush, with her husband in the foothills of a coastal village south of Sydney. You can check out her website and her Facebook author page and she also blogs regularly at Breathless in the Bush.

And now to find out more about this simply wonderful story:

Where is your story set?

The Farmer’s Perfect Match is set in Western Australia’s Kimberley region, one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most isolated, places on Earth.

What made you choose this destination?

My hero, Adam, is a pearl farmer, and the far north-west provides the most ideal conditions in Australia for growing cultured pearls. His farm needed to be in an extremely remote area to give credence to the idea that the reality match-making show he’s signed up for might well be the only way he’ll ever meet someone to share his lonely life.

(It was also a fantastic excuse to go up to there for a holiday research. I take my research very seriously :-). )

Gantheaume Point

Marilyn working hard at Gantheaume Point

What is the landscape like?

Kimberley coastline is spectacular—rocks twisted by the elements into crazy Salvador Dali-like shapes and water so clear you can see metres down to the sandy bottom. What I was most struck by was the saturation of colour: the turquoise ocean, the deep red sand, the bluest-blue sky that stretched on forever.

Does the setting have an effect on your characters?

Definitely. The Kimberley is one of the world’s last wilderness regions and provides a sanctuary for threatened species. Adam feels at home here because he’s an emotionally wounded man and this undamaged area is his safe place. Despite the loneliness, he’d never be able to live anywhere else so he certainly can’t risk doing anything that might lose him the farm.

As for Evie, she’s a city-girl with a career at stake. At first she’s severely tested by the isolation, but as Adam helps her to see the world through different eyes, it becomes clear that life in the outback has more than its fair share of compensations. The problem is she’s not a contestant but part of the filming crew!

lightning ridge2.png

Lightning Ridge

How important is setting in a story?

I believe setting is intrinsic to the plot of any novel. For the sake of sheer authenticity it has to become one of the characters (that might sound cliché, but only because it’s true). It’s essential to establish a strong sense of place as quickly as possible; readers want to begin to visualise immediately the setting of the story about to unfold. But care does need to be taken. As a reader there’s nothing more off-putting for me than big blocks of description. Setting needs to be woven into the fabric of the story (and Alli, you do that so well in your books).

What are you working on next? What will the setting be like?

My next book, tentatively titled Falling in Love Again, reunites ex-lovers in a tug-o’-war over an opalised skeleton. It’s set in a mythical opal town in far west NSW. The fascinating landscape was once an ancient seabed but now resembles a moonscape, with sparse vegetation that struggles to survive in much the same way the miners struggle for a living, all hoping for that one find to make them rich.

Throw into the mix a unique plesiosaur fossil, opal theft, underground living, a secret baby and a vicious ex-husband, and you’re in for a fast-paced read (and yes, there was a holiday ‘research’ involved. White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge, this time :-)).

9781760371630_0216_FarmersPerfectMatch_CVRAnd we have a give away!

Marilyn has kindly offered to give a signed paperback copy of her new release, The Farmer’s Perfect Match, to one lucky reader. Simply answer Marilyn’s question below to be in the running. The competition will be open until 11.59pm, Sunday, 27 March. Please note, due to postage rates, the competition is only open to those currently living in Australia or New Zealand.

QUESTION: Have you ever visited a place, or added one to your travel wish list, because you read about it in a book you loved? Do tell!

UPDATE: We have a winner!

Thank you to all who entered. Marilyn has randomly drawn a name and the winner is Sue Gerhardt Griffiths! Please contact Marilyn or myself and send us your details. One signed copy of The Farmer’s Perfect Match will be the way to you!

And no doubt you are wondering where to buy Marilyn’s book, so here they are:

Harlequin MIRA Australia



And of course, you can find print copies at a store near you!

Click here for the trailer to The Farmer’s Perfect Match



26 thoughts on “Behind the Story: Marilyn Forsyth

  1. As a child, I really wanted to visit the lands above The Magic Faraway Tree, but to dare that has proved impossible 😦 However, in my teens, I read The Scarlett Pimpernel and fell in love with France and Paris (his heroism overcoming the blood and gore to leave me starry-eyed). I’ve been fortunate to visit France (and Paris, amongst other places) four times and it has lived up to my expectations every time!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks so much for dropping by. Aww, The Magic Faraway Tree – one of my favourite kids’ books! How great would it be to visit those lands? I’ve only been to Paris in France but would love to one day visit some of its beautiful countryside. Good luck in the draw!

    • Laura Boom, I LOVE the Scarlett Pimpernel. Baroness Orczy described the setting so beautifully (and yes, sometimes graphically) that I felt every heartbeat and by the time THAT ending came around she had me so hooked I sobbed…openly…graphically…you know the cry…the ugly one! One of my all time favourites…right beside The Dance Card Series (Luna Tango and Under the Spanish Stars) and The Farmer’s Perfect Match!

  2. Hi Marilyn, I’ve read your book and it’s wonderful. I may never get to the isolated area where your yummy Adam lives, but I can armchair travel in style. I’ve been on a few literary tours, and I love seeing books come to life. Congratulations!

    • Hi Malvina! Lovely to see you here. I’ve greatly enjoyed vicariously travelling with you on your literary tours of England and America’s South (via your Facebook photos).
      I’m so glad you liked The Farmer’s Perfect Match. 😀

  3. Oh, I most certainly did! Frenchman’s Creek – in Cornwall. I loved the book and had to find the setting. On the way we stumbled upon Jamaica Inn (a tribute to Daphne Du Maurier ) which was an added bonus. I think this trip was some 25 years ago but the emotions it stirred are still strong today.

    I hope to do some further “research” trips myself, Marilyn

    • Hi S M. I know how you feel! I felt the same way when we went to Hay-on-Wye, the setting for Barbara Erskine’s ‘Lady of Hay’. I loved the book anyway, but to see the castle for the first time totally brought the book to life for me. I’m going back there in a couple of months. I wonder if I’ll still have the same reaction? Hope so!

  4. Hi Marilyn, as you know I loved your novel, The Farmers Perfect Match. You described the location perfectly and seeing the pictures in this blog is great, they live up to how I imagined the area. Hope to get there myself one day. Lexie may have to go bush…

  5. Hi Karen! So glad you dropped by (when you really should be working towards that deadline for the sequel to Sinister Intent and Deadly Obsession 😉 ).
    Lexie going bush – now there’s an intriguing concept.

  6. Hi, Marilyn Forsyth and Alli Sinclair! Love your work!!

    Marilyn, I loved the setting but I hadn’t realized how the Kimberly (a haven for endangered animals) paired so perfectly with the hero’s character! You wove it in so naturally! Love it!

    • Hi Dee! What a lovely compliment. Thank you. 😀
      There’s always more to a story than you might think, isn’t there? I love reading author’s takes on their books and I think Alli’s ”The Story Behind the Story” feature will prove a real winner.

  7. As a kid I devoured every Enid Blyton book I could get my hands on — several times over. I fell in love with the England she wrote of, and never stopped wanting to be there. As soon as I left school, I took a daytime job in BigW and another selling roses in restaurants at night, and as soon as I’d saved enough money I was London-bound. And it was all Enid Blyton’s fault! Sadly, I never found the Magic Faraway Tree, and nor did I get to join a circus, or go to boarding school, or have adventures with smugglers. I discovered I had been grievously misled! 😉

    • Oh dear, Vicki! I’m sure you found some other things to make your trip worthwhile. 😀
      Having grown up on Enid Blyton, like you I couldn’t wait to visit England. I saved like mad and made it my first o/s trip. I even ended up working at Harrods for a short while. Still love the place!

  8. Hi Marilyn. I love, love, love The Farmer’s Perfect Match. Gorgeous hero and a heroine who is so perfect for him. And all that emotion! I was there in the story living it.
    As to a place I had to see because of a book I read, it’s Massechussets (hope I spelled it right) in the USA. I fell in love with Nora Roberts’ MacGregor series set there. I was so eager to see the cliff on which there castle-like home stood but when I got there ‘No cliff!’ Only a beach. I saw Nora at the RWA conference and queried her. She very correctly told me ‘It’s a writer’s prerogative to make things up.’ But thankfully the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland where she set her Concannon sistrrs series does exist and they are majestic! Apologies for the long reply! ☺

  9. Hi Marilyn, I have recently read Victoria Purman’s books and her description of South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is stunning that I’ve now added it to my travel wish list. Every time I read a book and the author has captured a beautiful part of Australia I just have to add it to our
    bucket list.
    I did read a book once where the heroine was on her way to Katoomba and stopped off at a pub in Blackheath for lunch to try their pies and it was the best she’d ever tasted. So hubby and I on our way to Orange just had to see how true it was and I must say we take a drive up there about twice a year just for the pies – they truly are extremely delicious!

    • Hi Sue! I have to agree about Victoria Purman’s descriptions – they certainly bring her books alive. Love your story about the pies – sounds like the Robertson Pie Shop (our closest local ‘Best Pie place’) has a serious competitor. Thanks for commenting and good luck in the draw!

  10. Have started and finished reading the farmers perfect match today, much to my husband and children’s disgust! I would have to say I am inspired to travel to outback jillaroo country and hope to live that life one day thanks to Rachael Treasure! Having read Jillaroo when it first came out while I was studying at ag college meant I have daydreamed about that life ever since! One day I will pack up the family and head to a station… Just have to get hubby on board! 🙂
    Thank you for a great read…. It was addictive and I have been left wanting to hear more about the next chapter in this story! Pure escapism at its best!

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