Ann B Harrison’s new release

thumbnail_ann bcards

I’m always happy to let you know about authors and their new releases, and today I’m delighted to let you know that Ann B Harrison has a new book out today. Happy book birthday, Ann!

Ann B Harrison is the best-selling author of over thirty contemporary romance books. She dives her time between writing, family and battling the elements in her ever growing garden. Basking in the wine growing region of the Hunter Valley in sunny Australia, Ann finds herself easily distraction by the surrounding beauty and the stories that ramble endlessly through her head. 

thumbnail_cowboytotherescue-300dpiAbout the book:

Can the twisted road to redemption lead to love?

Jethro Hansen knows how it feels to let down those he loves. Before his grandfather passed, he tried to make amends for his wild youth and has devoted his future to bringing the family ranch back to financial health. The last thing the confirmed bachelor expects is to stand in as a labor coach for his attorney, and enemy’s wife. Even more awkward, the attentive and attractive woman at the expectant mother’s side is making it nearly impossible to keep his focus on his ranch and family legacy.

Sadie St. Martin interned in Denver for Layla Cox and followed her to Marietta, Montana, to run her law practice while she’s on maternity leave. Sadie has some major decisions to make about her future and they become even tougher after she helps Layla through labor alongside a sexy, confident cowboy who is also a client.

Sadie’s fought hard for her career. Jethro is everything she shouldn’t want, but can this big city girl’s head overrule her heart in small town Montana?

If you’d like to purchase a copy, just click the link to Amazon HERE.


Story Behind the Story: Iris Blobel

50703039_2015973481784787_1566545534024417280_nI’m super delighted to introduce you to Iris Blobel, who was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Take it away, Iris, tell us your story behind the story!

Thanks, Alli, for having me on your beautiful blog today to introduce your readers to my latest release INNOCENT TEARS.

I have to admit, I would’ve never expected to write books. First, writing was never my thing, I’m more into numbers, and second, English is not my native language. But, hey, I like to give most things a try.

My first book was born out of boredom and I have to admit the response from readers was overwhelming to say the least. The feedback was great. Yet, all of a sudden I had all these voices in my head wanting their own story. LOL. So I did. And, wow, my second book was picked up by a publisher. I was suddenly obsessed with writing.

INNOCENT TEARS was my third book. The story is set in Melbourne and I was pleased when the rights were returned to me early last year. Even though I loved the previous cover, I love the current one just that little bit more.

Anyway, INNOCENT TEARS grew out of many different ideas. The main idea, though, came to me when we went to Europe a few years back. My husband and my girls returned to Australia a week earlier while I went to Dublin to visit a friend as well as doing some research for my book JOURNEY TO HER DREAMS. My husband did a great job, being house husbandfor a week, but in between the lines I did hear from my daughters that the routinewas out of whack. My thoughts and ideas went into overdrive: how would it be for a man to suddenly have to take on a parent role, and vice versa, how would a child feel after losing a parent.

And this is how I came up with INNOCENT TEARS.

I have since published my BEGINNINGS series which is set in Hobart and ECHOES OF THE PAST, a standalone book set at the Victorian coast. All my books (except one) are available free for KU subscribers.

48422717_612618932513341_3073366597155422208_n.jpgINNOCENT TEARS
Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn McCormack, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it pulls the feet right out from underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight. He didn’t know about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody.

With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’ ideas, and Emma is voicing her opinion, too, leaving Nadine right in the middle of it all, still grieving the loss of her mother. There’s no doubt she’s afraid about where and with whom she will settle.

Will a letter Flynn receives help him decide what to do?

Available on Amazon for only 99cents or FREE for KU subscribers

Iris’ Social Media Links:

Amazon Author Page


Cover reveal & pre-order

One of the biggest thrills when a book is coming together is seeing the cover. I’ve been blessed by the cover fairies on every book of mine and just when I think they can’t do any better they come up with something like this …


a - the cinema at starlight creek cover

Isn’t it beautiful? I’m very excited about my May 20 release date for The Cinema at Starlight Creek. This is for my Australian and New Zealand readers and shortly I’ll be able to show you the cover and announce the date for the international edition which will be titled The Cinema of Lost Dreams.

Would you like to know a little more about the book? Here you go!

A heart-stirring novel of loss, love and new hope set against the glamorous backdrop of 1950s Hollywood and a small Australian country town.

How far would you go to follow your dream?

Queensland, 1994: When location manager Claire Montgomery arrives in rural Queensland to work on a TV mini-series, she’s captivated by the beauty of Starlight Creek and the surrounding sugarcane fields. Working in a male-dominated industry is challenging, but Claire has never let that stop her pursuing her dreams-until now. She must gain permission to film at Australia’s most historically significant art deco cinema, located at Starlight Creek. But there is trouble ahead. The community is fractured and the cinema’s reclusive owner, Hattie Fitzpatrick, and her enigmatic great nephew, Luke Jackson, stand in her way, putting Claire’s career-launching project-and her heart-at risk.

Hollywood, 1950: Lena Lee has struggled to find the break that will catapult her into a star with influence. She longs for roles about strong, independent women but with Hollywood engulfed in politics and a censorship battle, Lena’s timing is wrong. Forced to keep her love affair with actor Reeves Garrity a secret, Lena puts her career on the line to fight for equality for women in an industry ruled by men. Her generous and caring nature steers her onto a treacherous path, leaving Lena questioning what she is willing to endure to get what she desires.

Can two women-decades apart-uncover lies and secrets to live the life they’ve dared to dream?

And good news is that The Cinema at Starlight Creek is now available for pre-order!

Harper Collins:


Apple Books:



Google Play:


Welcome to 2019!

arra 2018 nominee badgsI hope 2019 has started off super well for you and you’re finding some fabulous books to read. I’ve just finished Belinda Alexandra’s The Invitation which was absolutely beautiful. I’m a long-time fan of Belinda’s books so please go and check out her amazing stories.

This year is shaping up to be an exciting and busy one for me, and it’s started off fabulously with the news that I’ve received two nominations for Burning Fields the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA) awards: 

  • Favourite 2018 romance that made me cry
  • Favourite Australian romance of 2018

Thank you so much to the ARRA member who voted for Burning Fields. I really appreciate your support!

Filming for Trust Frank starts in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait! Director and producer Penny Moore has assembled an amazing cast and crew and I’m really looking forward to this beautiful film being shown around the world later this year. 

I’ve had a sneak peek at the cover of my 2019 book and I’ll be sharing the cover very soon, so if you’d like to be one of the first to see it, please sign up for my newsletter. You can do so HERE.

As always, I love hearing from you so I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to this year. Please feel free to drop me a line or post in the comments below. 

Have a fabulous day!

Behind the Story: Renee Conoulty

profile 2.jpgI’m super excited to have Renee Conoulty on the blog today. Renee is an Australian Air Force wife and mother of two. Her debut chick lit novel, Don’t Mean a Thing, is available through Kindred Ink Press. She has also published Catching Onix, a short story which is available for free here.

When she’s not devouring books, reviewing and blogging on HeySaidRenee, or writing her own stories, Renee can be found swing dancing. Or possibly napping. She tweets about reading and reviewing @HeySaidRenee and about writing, military life and dancing @ReneeConoulty, but hasn’t created a handle for nap talk yet.

Tell us about your story behind the story, Renee!

Ever since I took up swing dancing many, many years ago, I’ve been looking for novels with swing dancing in them. The closest I’d come was finding a couple of swing dance scenes scattered amongst the 850 pages of a Stephen King tome.

When my husband joined the military, I looked for military stories I could relate to. I found plenty of alpha male hot romance stories, historical military books and novels dealing with PTSD but there was a lack of fun contemporary Australian military stories and very few women in the military.

When I found out our family was being posted to Darwin, I wanted to get a feel for the area we were moving to so looked for contemporary Darwin stories. I found plenty of outback stories and some historical but not much set in the city.

profile 1I couldn’t find the books I wanted to read so I decided to write one that combined all three ideas. I’d never contemplated writing a novel before I started Don’t Mean a Thing. Writing novels were something amazingly talented, creative people did, not ordinary people like me. I’d been living in Darwin for three years when it occurred to me that, maybe, I could write a book. I was an avid reader (I’d joined a reading challenge group in Goodreads when I first moved to Darwin and was treating reading like a competitive sport). My love of reading led to writing reviews and sharing them on a blog. My blogging led to meeting authors online where I discovered that, yes, they are amazingly talented and creative but authors are also ordinary people like me. I made lots of friends, like Alli, and became immersed in the world of books but still had no aspirations to write one. Where would I start? I didn’t know how to plot. And books had so many words – I struggled to write a blog post, how could I ever write a novel?

It was this blog post I read in the middle of 2015 that inspired me to give it a go.

Natasha Lester told me (she wrote that post specifically for me, I’m sure) that I didn’t need a plan and an outline, I just needed some time and one idea.

My husband was going away for a few weeks with the military, so I had time to fill after the kids went to bed. I even had three ideas, not just one. A girl in the military who moves to Darwin and takes up swing dancing to make friends. Scene by scene, I wrote a book. 

Sign up for Renee’s monthly newsletter for her highlights on blogging, reading, writing and life.



What if you finally took the lead, but life refused to follow?

Thirty-year-old introvert, Macie Harman, has finally found a career she is passionate about, and after months of training, she’s begun her new job in the Royal Australian Air Force. Leaving behind her family, friends, and the life she knew, Macie has travelled to the other side of the country where the only person she knows is Rachael, the extroverted girl she went through basic training with. Everywhere Macie goes, Rachael is there too.

While looking for a way to widen her circle of friends in her new town, Macie discovers a local swing dancing class. The jazz music captures her heart, and Matt, the sexy swing dancer, sweeps her off her feet. Matt has claimed the tropical Northern Territory as home and has no plans to leave. He loves his teaching career with its predictable routine and has a great bunch of friends. All he wants now is the right girl to make his house a home.

Military life is tougher than Macie expected, and not everyone can deal with the inevitable separations and last minute changes. Is this exciting but unpredictable life something Macie wants to fight for, or could she give it up and put down roots with Matt? 

Universal purchase link –


Behind the Story: Sarah Williams

profile.jpgToday I’m delighted to welcome Sarah Williams to my blog. Sarah spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to tropical North Queensland to enjoy the heat and humidity and run around after Crocodiles.

When she’s not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs and a cat. She helps to run the local writers centre and supports her peers achieve their publishing dreams.

Take it away, Sarah!

The Brothers of Brigadier Station is my debut novel, but not the first novel I ever started to write. I have always loved reading and writing fiction and wrote my first full length (historical) novel in high school. It wasn’t until I attended a ‘How to write a Romance’ presented by Barbara Hannay, in Townsville in 2015, that I found my genre. Everything clicked together. Not only was I a romance writer, but I was also a rural romance writer.

The next day I outlined The Brothers of Brigadier Station and after many rewrites, editing, writing workshops and practice, it is finally out in the world!

As well as writing, running a business with my husband and raising four young children, I am an avid reader. I love all Australian rural romances, but I am partial to ones set in Queensland. I have lived in this state for the last fifteen years and have travelled extensively around it. Julia Creek was my setting simply because I knew people there, but after actually spending time there I fell in love with it. Admittedly it is too remote for me to want to live there myself, but it is a fantastic setting. It is flat, dry and rather desolate. We visited in the midst of the worst drought ever and I have used that in this novel and will continue it in the rest of the series.

landscape 2In The Brothers of Brigadier Station we meet Lachie, Darcy and their mother Harriet. The second and third books in the series will be released in 2018. Everyone has a story to tell and I am excited to share it with my readers!


She came to the outback to marry the love of her life. She just didn’t expect him to be her fiancé’s younger brother.

When Meghan Flanagan, a vet-nurse from Townsville, moves to Brigadier Station in outback Queensland to marry the man of her dreams, she is shocked to discover that perhaps her fiancé isn’t the man she wants waiting for her at the altar. The man she’s destined to marry, just might be her his younger brother.

Cautious of women after a disastrous past relationship, Darcy is happy living on his beloved cattle station, spending his spare time riding horses, going to rodeos and campdrafting. He didn’t expect the perfect woman show up on his doorstep. Engaged to his brother.

With the wedding only hours away, Meghan must make the decision of a lifetime. But, her betrayal could tear the family apart. She knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones and being alone.

Now that she has the family she so desperately wants; will she risk losing it all?

Set in the drought stricken plains of Julia Creek, North Queensland and the coastal city of Townsville this is a rural romance that will leave you asking: Will she marry the right man, for the right reasons?

landscape 1The Brothers of Brigadier Station is the first in the Brigadier Station series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Sarah’s stories are linked so you can find out what happens to the other brothers and your favourite characters in future books.

Buy links:

coverThe Brothers of Brigadier Station ebook is available only on Kindle Unlimited until mid-August 2017.

It is available in print through all online booksellers.

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning.

You can find her online at:

Sign up to Sarah’s mailing list and receive a free 3 chapter preview!!





Behind the Story: Penelope Janu

profile penelope janu.jpgToday I am super excited to introduce you to the wonderful Penelope Janu. Penelope ives in Sydney with her husband, six great kids, and two big dogs. As a lawyer she spent many years working in legal firms and academia. She has a strong interest in social justice issues and the environment, and it was while teaching a university course about the legal regulation of climate change that the inspiration for the environmental aspect for In at the Deep End came to her.

Penelope has travelled widely, and last year hiked over 300 km from the west to the east coast of England (stopping at numerous pubs for refreshment along the way). Although she likes adventure as much as her heroines, Penelope is yet to go to Antarctica, one of the settings for In at the Deep End (she is praying for a film offer that might take her there …) In at the Deep End is her first book.

So Penelope, please tell us your story behind the story!

Why this story?

As part of my day job, lecturing in a university course, I’d been doing research on the legal regulation of climate change. It was a new area of law for me but I’d always had a fascination with the environment and was interested (and concerned about!) about global warming. This led to a determination that my heroine Harriet Scott would have some sort of connection to an environmental cause. My hero Per Amundsen is a scientist as well as a naval officer, because research is a crucial element in environmental preservation. Scientists and environmentalists often strive for the same outcomes, but use different means to achieve these outcomes. These varying perspectives are an essential element to Harriet and Per’s rocky path to romance.

Many of the historical references in the book made me laugh—but by the end of the book, I’d learnt a lot about Scott and Amundsen and their race to the South Pole. Can you explain how this aspect of the book came about?

Climate change and the environment led me to Antarctica, and Per’s surname (Amundsen) led me to Roald Amundsen, the first man to make it to the South Pole. The man Amundsen beat to the South Pole (by just a few weeks) was Robert Falcon Scott. The contrasting ways in which these early twentieth century explorers approached their journeys mirrored personality traits of Harriet and Per. Harriet, like Robert Falcon Scott, is passionate and persuasive (if a little high risk). Per, like Roald Amundsen, is capable and considered (in a control freak kind of way). Many communications between Harriet and Per are short, sharp and funny—but the research that went into them fills quite a few folders and many weeks of research!

Was the book always going to be a romance?

Definitely! Like many writers, I’d spent years not writing anything, but thinking I’d like to. A legal career and boisterous family (six children nine years apart) gave me a busy, fulfilling life, but also kept my plots in my head rather than in a notebook. My ‘stepping stone’ into creative writing was through a university masters degree (populated largely by writers of literary fiction), but I was determined to write what I loved. An early reviewer of In at the Deep End said there was sustained ‘simmering tension’ between my hero and heroine and I loved reading that! For me, that’s what romance is all about.

How did the elements of environment, exploration and romantic comedy come together?  

My heroine is an adventurer and so is the hero, and the book is first person, present tense and fast paced (elements common in the romantic comedy genre), but to be honest I wasn’t fully aware I’d written a romantic comedy until my publisher told me I had! Since then, I’ve worked out how important voice is in creating this type of book. Harriet has suffered loss and tragedy in her life. She also has a terrifying phobia—fear of the water. But most importantly she’s independent, thoughtful and smart—prepared to fall in love but unwilling to settle for anything less than that.

You’re a debut novelist. How have you found this experience so far?

Everything is new! Starting out a second career has been a wonderful challenge, but a challenge nevertheless. I get nothing but joy from the writing itself (I’ve recently finished another manuscript featuring another Norwegian hero, Per’s twin brother Tør) and having a traditional publisher in Harlequin Mira has made my journey easier in many respects, but the author platform and everything else that goes with it is all new to me. Now the book is finally available I can’t wait to connect with readers.  

Thank you Alli for having me today—this is my first visitor blog post ever!

It’s a pleasure, Penelope!

DeepEnd_HighRes_FC.jpgMore about In at the Deep End:

A quick-witted, contemporary romance about losing your cool.

What woman doesn’t love a real-life hero? Harriet Scott, for one. The fiercely independent daughter of famous adventurers, she grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch. So when Harriet’s ship sinks in Antarctica and she has to be rescued by Commander Per Amundsen, an infuriatingly capable Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero, her world is turned upside down.

Like their namesakes, the original Scott and Amundsen who competed to reach the South Pole first, Per and Harriet have different ways of doing things. Per thinks Harriet is an accident waiting to happen; Harriet thinks Per is a control freak. But when Harriet realises that Per is the only one who can help her fund the new ship she desperately wants, she is forced to cooperate with him.

Per refuses to assist unless Harriet allows him to teach her to swim. But there is more to Harriet’s terrible fear of water than meets the eye. Can Harriet face her fears and come to terms with the trauma and loss of her past? And will she begin to appreciate that some risks are well worth taking—and that polar opposites can, in fact, attract?

BUY LINK: au/product/9781489214553

You can find more about Penelope at

Behind the Story: Darry Fraser

darry profile.jpgI am delighted to introduce you to the lovely Darry Fraser. Darry woke up one day with an epiphany: writing is her journey, and a major publication was the goal. It was now or never. 

So, the ‘now’ took five years and 9 e-books and happily, ‘Daughter of the Murray’ was published with Harlequin MIRA in 2016.

The Australian landscape is home and hearth – the rural, the coastal, the arid lands and the desert. The history, the hidden stories, the catalysts, and the powerful connection between humans are her drivers.

She lives and works on a beautiful island off the coast of South Australia with her black kelpie x writing companion.

So, Darry, please tell us about your story behind the story:

So lovely to be here on Alli’s ‘Story Behind the Story’.

Funny how the path to your goal takes many twists and turns. Had I been the sort who had one eye on the goal and the other eye also on the goal, I might’ve arrived at my dream a helluva lot earlier. Life gets in the way, as most of us know.

In a sense, I’m glad I wasn’t ‘one-eyed’ about it (though I do question that just a bit). When I first started writing seriously, i.e believing I could deliver a well-crafted story, I was nowhere near the mark. I remember being encouraged by friends and family, who alas, were well meaning, and also nowhere near the mark.

So, when I finished what was to become Daughter of the Murray many years later, I was a young writer burning with the urgent need to write, but without my craft honed, without my instinct for pace sharpened, armed only with my natural talent still raw and unformed.

Another author and I lately identified that the mature writer has had some years of ‘living’ under her belt. I certainly have those years now. And what those years have done for me – and the story – was give it the maturity of voice and style that it needed. If I’m lucky enough to have the second in the series published, those years of apprenticeship have honed my skills tremendously.

I’ve always loved a bigger story, the type with more than one arc, where characters are real, and who walk with me every day – albeit in my head. I tried my hand at other types of stories, learned how to make every word count, how to show not tell – but tell where telling had to be – and to find my own way.

By the time I grappled with my courage and pitched it to a publisher, Daughter of the Murray had come of age.

Readers have told me that my book is not what they were expecting. My research told me that the 1890s was not a namby-pamby nanny era, anywhere. It was tough. It was misogynistic and paternalistic. Rough, bloody, dirty and diseased. I wanted a decent story, so I had to be true to the times and not throw a 21st century character into a 19th century setting. I had to have my characters as true to their ‘selves’ in their era as I could.

The other thing I feel strongly about, and is why I write these sorts of historical characters: Australia needs some honourable, if fictional heroes. People who had personal honour. We weren’t all murderers, marauders, or rapists and pillagers, thieves and dirtbags, or escaped convicts but innocent of alleged crimes. And they are always fundamentally flawed. My take only, of course.

Where did the story-telling gene came from?  A generation back to a woman who only had her imagination to take her to places she could only dream about.

But honour in her heroes was always there.

cover-darryBlurb – Daughter of the Murray

1890s, River Murray, Northern Victoria

Georgina Calthorpe is not happy living with her foster family, the MacHenrys, on Jacaranda, their neglected sheep run on the banks of the River Murray.

Unlike the rest of the family, she isn’t looking forward to the return of the prodigal son, Dane. When he arrives at the homestead, he’s furious to discover his inheritance in severe decline. When he blames Georgina, ignoring the true culprit – his father, she decides to leave in a hurry.

Unfortunately, she makes her escape on Dane’s prized stallion and he gives chase, at first to track her down…

From here their fates collide with Conor Foley, a businessman with a dark secret. He offers Georgina apparent security: marriage with status in the emerging nouveau-riche echelons of Melbourne.

But where does her heart lie, now?

None of them can imagine the toll the changing political and social landscape will have on home, heart and family. Has Georgina’s decision led her into grave danger and more unhappiness, or will she survive and fulfil her destiny?

You can find out more about Darry here:

Daughter of the Murray is available in all good bookshops in print and ebook. Link to all retails found HERE.



Release day: Under the Spanish Stars

UTSS KensingtonHooray! Today is the official release day for Under the Spanish Stars for readers living in the USA, Canada, UK and beyond (for readers in Australia and NZ, Under the Spanish Stars was released in February, 2016 – click HERE for details).

So, what’s the story about? Here’s the rundown:

Amid the vivid beauty of Granada, a woman entrusted with unraveling a family secret will discover the truth about her heritage–and the alluring promise of love…

When her beloved grandmother falls ill, Charlotte Kavanagh will do whatever she asks of her–even if it means traveling to a country that broke her abuela’s heart. Can an unsigned painting of a flamenco dancer unlock the secrets of her grandmother’s youth in Spain? To find the answers she needs, Charlotte must convince the charismatic and gifted musician, Mateo Vives to introduce her to a secluded gypsy clan.  

The enigmatic Mateo speaks the true language of flamenco, a culture Charlotte must learn to appreciate if she wants to understand her grandmother’s past–and the flamenco legend that has moved souls to beauty, and bodies to the heights of passion. As Mateo leads her into the captivating world of the music and the dance, Charlotte embraces her own long-denied creative gift and the possibility of a future rich with joy…

And if you’d like to purchase a copy, you can get it through most e-tailers and if you prefer print, you can order it online and it will arrive on your doorstep in no time! 









Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me on this writing journey and for sharing posts, telling people about my book and the lovely readers who take time out of their precious days to immerse themselves in the worlds I create. You are all wonderful!

Stay tuned – there’s some more exciting news about to let out of the bag!

Behind the Story: Lea Darragh

prfile.jpgToday we have the lovely Lea Darragh telling us about her Story Behind the Story. Lea is a wife, mother of three children and an Early Childhood Educator. A Nutella enthusiast and red wine drinker. An explorer of nature. Geelong Cats fanatic. She was once a dreamer of words and stories, until she decided one day to put her hand to create a whole new world. Telling stories of hope, desperation, love and loss, she has written characters that everyone can relate to at one point or another. Her stories are realistic and cover topics that can be difficult to face, and she will never shy away from the difficulties that life throws, and will bravely continue to write about them.

Welcome, Lea. Please, tell us about your story behind the story: 

You know, it’s typically difficult to pin-point one reason for a book when I write it, but with This Love I know why, absolutely. Writing is a cathartic experience for me, and I needed this book to help work through my every day life after it had been changed dramatically because of the death of a close relative. People grieve in personal ways, and there’s not always room for much else other than heartbreak. Sometimes the sadness is expressed as anger, frustration, motivation and desperation, and I needed Emmy and Jack to walk me through that, to help release the confusion that comes from a sudden death.

Photo 2

San Remo

It was Emmy who came to me first, then her hero. I wanted to break them both beyond repair, and then slowly figure out how to work them together, to have them be each other’s strength in a time when all you want to do is literally drown in your grief.

During the process of writing them, Emmy and Jack took their time showing me their true colours, and who they were to each other. I had to be patient, and also ready for the decisions they were about to make. It took some difficult reflection on my own beliefs before I could fit them perfectly together, and to accept the relationship I had set up for them. I’m expecting controversy from this story, they are not a run-of-the-mill couple. Demons can force away light, and this relationship, (without giving away a spoiler) I guarantee, will have you questioning your strength and your every moral. I’ve put Emmy and Jack through their paces. They’ve earned their story. Why not put characters through hell, let them sink, and then rescue them? What greater way is there to tell a story? And I needed that as I healed in my own way.

Photo 1-2

Phillip Island

Other stories I write all revolve around the ugly side of love. How we are forced to question ourselves before we can ever decide to make a life work with someone else. My debut novel Almost Mine does this, and of course, This love, pushes the boundaries.

To give my characters space to learn and grow, I set them up in sceneries that promote calm. This Love is set in a fictional town of Cobblers Cove, hidden along the Great Ocean Road. Emmy becomes morbidly attached to the ocean, especially in the dead of night when not another soul can stop her from losing all hope. I gave her the cleansing salty sea air. The sound of the water lapping on the shore… It was intoxicating the way the crashing waves soothed me. Knowing they’d be pulled out again, they never stopped reaching for the shore. 

This book is a contemporary one, yet the issues are not new. Death surrounds us, has been experienced by all, and the one thing I have learned is that all grief is subjective. Like many issues I explore within my writing, it’s something I wanted to learn from, and writing This Love gave me the outlet. I thank Emmy and Jack for their bravery, and for being a vessel for the acceptance I found while writing their story.

I hope readers find it as honest as I have.