New Release The Codebreakers

Today’s the day The Codebreakers is released in Australia and New Zealand in print and e-book! It’s a story very close to my heart as it’s inspired by the real-life codebreaking women in Brisbane in WWII.

When I first learned about the Garage Girls and Central Bureau, it felt like a treasure trove of endless stories had been unearthed. Female codebreakers in Australia in World War II? Who were they? What did they do? Why had we not heard about them before? My investigating led me into an amazing world and I’ve met and interviewed many fascinating and courageous people who worked for Central Bureau and other signals intelligence departments and outposts. They generously shared stories not only about the work, but their personal experiences of living with secrets and how it affected their lives during and after the war.

People who worked top-secret jobs during the war often felt there was an invisible wedge in the relationships with their loved ones. For those families, to know someone for decades and learn about this other life they led was sometimes shocking and hard to fathom but, more often, it was a source of immense pride. Learning about the reaction of family and friends, and the relief of Central Bureau members after they could finally tell their story, gave me great insight when creating the characters in The Codebreakers

Many of the real-life women of Central Bureau had never lived away from home or experienced any degree of independence. When they joined this elite organisation most were young, often without tertiary qualifications but with natural aptitude for the work they did. Not only did they learn new skills and adapt to working in non-traditional roles in a male-dominated environment, they had other challenges to deal with such as homesickness, the grief of losing loved ones and the heavy responsibility of working with some of the country’s biggest secrets. 

The Codebreakers is the result of two years of research which included countless interviews with the actual codebreakers who inspired the story of Ellie and the Garage Girls. I hope you enjoy learning about these amazing women and help the legacy of their work live on!

The Codebreakers is available at all book retailers in-store and online, including:

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Behind the Story: Darry Fraser

x240Darry Fraser’s first novel, Daughter of the Murray, is set on her beloved River Murray where she spent part of her childhood. Where The Murray River Runs, her second novel, is set in Bendigo in the 1890s, and her third novel, The Widow of Ballarat, takes place on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s. Darry currently lives, works and writes on Kangaroo Island, an awe-inspiring place off the coast of South Australia.

Welcome to Behind the Story, Darry! Please tell us about your brand new release, Elsa Goody, Bushranger, and also about your give away!

You know me and historicals – how did we women really fare back in the day? Not too far back for me, I only go back to the late 19th century in Australia but still, how did things work for women then?

So many things were happening. Some big iconic events – Eureka Stockade, for one, trade on our rivers. Federation was around the corner, some colonies had the vote for women and – there were bushrangers. I’d already written The Widow of Ballarat set just after the Eureka incident (and there are many stories still to be told from those days), and set three books on the Murray, our beloved, beleaguered river – Daughter of the Murray, Where the Murray River Runs and The Good Woman of Renmark. Many stories there, too.

So, bushrangers. Australia loves them, hates them but they’re ours – Ned Kelly and co being probably the most famous. Ben Hall another. They definitely take a writer’s eye; some thought they were heroes of their day. Now the not-so-bad ones are legends we love to love (mostly) for all sorts of reasons. But there weren’t so many bushrangers after Ned’s demise in 1880, so how was I going to write about a bushranger, and a female one at that sixteen years after bushranging stopped being safe for one’s health?

My heroine came to her fame accidently. She was on a mission to find what she believed to be rightfully hers and ‘something’ happened on the way. Throw in a deadline to be back home for the first election in Australia in which as a woman she was entitled to vote, a snarky older sister with her own agenda, and a family of three brothers in another colony. What could stop her? What could go wrong?

Elsa Goody BushrangerI was also able to use a family legend of my own in the form of the tin of gold coins Elsa Goody is trying to retrieve. Gold sovereigns were hard to come by, much less thirty of them. And how would a dirt-poor farmer be able spend one, let alone more of them, without raising suspicions?

I found a wonderful line of country in which to set Elsa Goody, Bushranger: Robe through Penola in South Australia, across the border into Victoria and the town of Casterton, the home of another of our icons, the kelpie.

So I was set – great countryside, an icon, a quest for gold, a so-called lady bushranger – with a twist.

Hope you enjoy the read.

Thank for having me, Alli.

http://www.darryfraser.com

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON AUSTRALIA

GIVE AWAY!

Darry is kindly offering one lucky commenter a copy of her new release, Elsa Goody, Bushranger. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell us about your favourite historical female – real or fictional. Give away entries are open until 1 July, 2020 at 11.59 pm AEST. 

 

 

 

Behind the Story: Michelle Montebello

Low_Res_File_Michelle_Montebello_032-3Today 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-Quarantine-Station-EBOOK (final)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.

Buy Links:

PRINT EDITIONS

AMAZON

iBOOKS

KOBO

BARNES & NOBLE

To find out more about Michelle, you can visit her website: www.michellemontebello.com.au

GIVE AWAY:

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!

 

 

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:  https://bit.ly/2Cp1ywN

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2DenZ9o

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2FEcIAR

Booktopia: https://bit.ly/2TSL6fp

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Mhf61G

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Mlz8IN

 

New release!

BURNING-FIELDS.png

Release days are always exciting, and today I’m happy to announce the release of Burning Fields – the international edition. So for those of you who have been patiently waiting for it to be released outside Australia, it’s now available in print and e-book worldwide!

Here’s a little more about Burning Fields:

A powerful and sweeping historical novel of love, loss, and hope, set against Australia’s vast sugarcane fields in the turbulent days after World War II.  

1948: Change has come to every corner of the globe—and Rosie Stanton, returning home to northern Queensland after serving the war effort in Brisbane, plans to rescue her family’s foundering sugarcane farm with her unstoppable can-do spirit. Coming up against her father’s old-world views, a farm worker undermining her success, and constant reminders of Rosie’s brothers lost in the war, Rosie realizes she wants more from life and love—but at what cost?  

Italian immigrant Tomas Conti arrives at a neighboring farm, and sparks fly as Rosie draws close to this enigmatic newcomer. When an enemy appears with evidence of Tomas’s shocking past, long-held wartime hatreds rekindle . . . and an astounding family secret sets Rosie’s world ablaze. At the dawn of a new era, Rosie must make her own destiny amid the ashes of yesterday—by following her heart.

Kobo has a special edition that contains exclusive bonus content if you buy a copy this month (November, 2018). You can find out more HERE

You can also purchase a copy through these retailers:

BOOK DEPOSITORY

AMAZON

iBOOKS

GOOGLE

BARNES AND NOBLE

Release Day!

Burning FieldsRelease days never get old and I’m so excited to let my Aussie and New Zealand readers know that Burning Fields is hitting the bookstore and e-book shelves today!

I also want to take this opportunity to thank every one of you for your support and I am sure I can say this on behalf of every author: when you share posts about our books, take the time to read them, tell other people about our stories and/or review on your blog or on places like Good Reads – anything that helps get the word out about our stories – it is always greatly appreciated. Really, really appreciated! So, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s a little more about Burning Fields:

1948 The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.

As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.

Rosie Stanton finds it difficult to return to the family farm after years working for the Australian Women’s Army Service. Reminders are everywhere of the brothers she lost in the war and she is unable to understand her father’s contempt for Italians, especially the Conti family next door. When her father takes ill, Rosie challenges tradition by managing the farm, but outside influences are determined to see her fail.

Desperate to leave his turbulent history behind, Tomas Conti has left Italy to join his family in Piri River. Tomas struggles to adapt in Australia—until he meets Rosie. Her easy-going nature and positive outlook help him forget the life he’s escaped. But as their relationship grows, so do tensions between the two families until the situation becomes explosive.

When a long-hidden family secret is discovered and Tomas’s mysterious past is revealed, everything Rosie believes is shattered. Will she risk all to rebuild her family or will she lose the only man she’s ever loved?

With an engaging, gutsy heroine and a lush North Queensland setting, I found so much to love about Burning Fields – Barbara Hannay

PRINT:

MIRA Harlequin (Harper Collins)

Booktopia

Bookworld

Dymocks

 eBOOK:

iBooks

Amazon

Google Play

Kobo