Today I’m very excited to introduce you to the lovely Michelle Montebello. Michelle is a writer from Sydney, Australia where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of the Belle Series which earned her 2018’s Best New Author in the AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards, as well as a finalist place for Book of the Year for Interwoven and Author of the Year. She loves to travel and has explored most continents, with more to go on her bucket list. She also has a keen passion for reading, tennis, spending time with her family and the dramatic arts.
Hello Michelle! Please tell us about your story behind the story.
Thank you, Alli, for having me on your blog today! I’m excited to talk about my latest novel, The Quarantine Station, which releases on March 6th2019. It’s a historical romance about forbidden love set in 1918 and the present day.
What inspired you to write The Quarantine Station?
Long before I started writing this novel, I’d been visiting the site on Sydney’s North Head, now known as The Q Station. It has always been a place of intrigue for me. I’d been on the ghost tours (quite scary), walked through the heritage buildings and strolled along the wharf where the boats once came ashore with the sick. It’s richly historic, much like slipping down the rabbit hole to another time.
But the idea of writing The Quarantine Station didn’t come to me until late 2017.
How did the idea develop?
I was on a history tour at The Q Station and it occurred to me that there was more to that wonderful place than just stories of sickness and sadness. Lots of people came and went during the course of quarantine. Some lived and worked there for many years, from the early nineteenth century.
And there I saw it, in that hot pot of isolated society, the potential for love. Beautiful, enduring, captivating love!
Once the idea came to me, I was hooked. I was wrapping up the final book in my Belle Series and got started immediately on The Quarantine Station. I had the place and time period decided. I had research underway! My characters and storyline had come together. I was staring down a plot filled with mysterious love, a century-old scandal, lost diaries and plenty of secrets!
How did the Quarantine Station challenge you as a writer?
The Quarantine Station was my first foray into historical romance. I loved researching for my Belle books, but writing a historical novel took my research to a new level. The challenge was in staying true to the station and its character, to the period in which I was writing in and to the medical knowledge of the time.
It was important to find the correct balance between fact and fiction, to ensure that amongst the facts, I could still weave a beautiful love story of hope and endurance that would transport readers from their lounge to another place and time.
The rules were crystal clear. She broke them all…
1918 … When Rose Porter arrives on the shores of Sydney with little more than her suitcase, she must take a job as a parlourmaid at the mysterious North Head Quarantine Station. It’s a place of turmoil, segregated classes and strict rules concerning employee relationships.
But as Rose learns, some rules were made to be broken.
2019… Over a century later, Emma Wilcott lives a secluded life in Sydney where her one-hundred-year-old grandmother, Gwendoline, is all she has. Gwendoline is suffering dementia and her long-term memories take her wandering at night. Emma realises she is searching for someone from her past.
Emma’s investigation leads her to the Quarantine Station where she meets Matt, the station carpenter, and together they unravel a mystery so compelling it has the power to change lives, the power to change everything Emma ever knew about herself.
To find out more about Michelle, you can visit her website: www.michellemontebello.com.au
Michelle has kindly offered to give away three e-books of The Quarantine Station. All you need to do is answer Michelle’s question in the comment section below and you will go into the draw. Competition closes 13th March, 2019 at 11.59 pm (AEST).
Michelle’s question: If you could step into a time machine and travel back in time, which period would you choose and why?
UPDATE – WINNERS ANNOUNCED!
Congratulations to Jaykky, Kim and Ellise McCune – please get in contact with us through my contact page so Michelle can send you the link for your e-book. Thanks to everyone who commented and stay tuned for more give aways!
23 thoughts on “Behind the Story: Michelle Montebello”
Welcome New Aussie author Michelle! It’s so exciting to hear of another historical fiction author writing about our wonderful country. Congratulations on your book. Fingers crossed I’d love to read it 😀
Forgot to answer your question – back to the 70’s – the disco era!! Saturday Night Fever!!!
Thank you for your kind words! It’s always so easy to write about Australia. It’s such a wonderful place!
And yes, I love the 70’s too! Great fashion and lots of love haha! 🥰
OH yes! The 70s were so much fun! Love the disco era! I showed my kids some footage of John Travolta dancing and their eyes popped wide open. They loved it!
Congratulations Jaykkay! Please get in touch through my contact page so Michelle can send you the link for your e-book. Thanks to everyone who commented and stay tuned for more give aways!
I’d travel back in time to experience what it would be like to be a part of the very early days in Australia. We have a beautiful country and it would have been so exciting back in the day.
Or I’d travel back to last week with this week’s lotto numbers!
Haha! Well if you manage to travel back to last week could you please give us some clues as to what the lotto numbers are? 🙂
Congratulations Kim! Please get in touch through my contact page so Michelle can send you the link for your e-book. Thanks to everyone who commented and stay tuned for more give aways!
Thanks Kim! Yes, back in time to collect this weeks’ lotto numbers! I like your thinking 🙂
Hi Michelle, I would travel back in time to the early 1940’s. It’s a time of turmoil and heartache but also full of courage. And I would also like to travel back to 19th century Australia as I have a forebear who was much loved in NSW at that time. I must say I think your own name is perfect for a writer. All the very best.
Two really interesting periods, Elise! I’d love to go back then as well to find out if what we imagine is the same as what it was really like. 🙂 And yes, Michelle has the best writer name!
Thank you Elise. Agree, both of these are fascinating periods in time and would be amazing to travel back to. I wonder how we’d cope for you are right. The 1940’s in particular was a time of tremendous turmoil.
Congratulations Elise! Please get in touch through my contact page so Michelle can send you the link for your e-book. Thanks to everyone who commented and stay tuned for more give aways!
I’ve always wanted to go back to the early 1950’s. The war had ended and times were tough but I think everyone was carefree and grateful for what they had.
Oh yes, that period absolutely fascinates me as well! A Place to Call Home is one of my all-time favourite TV series for that reason – it was such a time of change and people really appreciated what they had (well apart from the wealthy family in the series!).
1950’s fashion was the best! The war had ended and fashion really evolved. I love the full skirts and high-waisted pants. The hats and pearls. My favourite fashion era by far 🙂
I would love to live in the 1900 to walk in my Grandparents shoes. I love historial stories with a bit of romance thrown in so i am looking forward to reading your new book.
It came out on my birthday 6th March so i am sure that i will love it.
Oh that’s an interesting thought, Yvonne! I’d love to walk in my grandparents’ shoes as well – Scotland and Spain. Imagine the things we’d see and hear! I am sure you will love Michelle’s book and happy belated birthday!
Happy belated birthday, Yvonne 🙂
Yes, how amazing would it be to walk in our grandparent’s shoes? Both sets of my grandparents were living in Malta during WWII and told me stories of bombs being dropped on their towns. Malta was Great Britain’s ally in the Mediterranean and often took quite a beating for it.
Amazing stories of courage and survival.
I would love to go back to the 50’s,
This was a time of great music and dance. Life was simpler and people cared about each other with much more respect.
Hi Susann! Oh yes that’s a really interesting period of time. I love the music and dance from that era! And I love the idea of no mobile phones!
1950’s are one of my favourite era’s. The fashion and music were great. It was a time of Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers… all the music I grew up listening to on my parent’s record player. And rock n roll! The jitterbug, swing and Charleston. What fun it would have been.
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