Give away!

Not long now until The Codebreakers is released and I have one special Advance Reader Copy available to give away. To enter, all you need to do is sign up for my newsletter here (and if you’ve signed up previously you are already in the draw!). Entries close 11.59 AEDT, 2 February, 2021.

Stay tuned for a special announcement for pre-orders!


Behind the Story: Sarah Williams

Retouched 1.jpgToday I’m excited to introduce you to Sarah Williams. 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 Queensland to raise a family and follow her passion for writing. She currently resides in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. 

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. If that’s not enough, she also mentors and teaches writing workshops and hosts Write with Love- a weekly writers and readers podcast.

Sarah, please tell us your story behind the story!

The Brigadier Station Series is a family saga about three sons who each have their own love story. They are very family and small-town community focused.

The Sky over Brigadier Station is the second in the Brigadier Station series which is set near Julia Creek in the isolated Queensland Outback of Australia.

In this novel I reversed the gender stereotype. Riley, my heroine is very Alpha and dominates the relationship while Noah is the one who gets left behind on the station, so she can go fly Helis!

The Sky over Brigadier Station also touches on Domestic Violence and PTSD. These are both big issues I wanted to draw attention to.

The-Sky-Over-Brigadeer-Station-Kindle-FINALMore about Sarah’s book: 

Noah McGuire stayed away from Brigadier Station for a reason. He’s spent almost a decade in New Zealand’s South Island, trying to forget his past. But the memories still haunt him and the last thing he wants to do is see his estranged family and attend his brother’s wedding. 

However, the only way he can collect his inheritance is if he returns to his family’s property and faces the demons he’s been hiding from. 

When it comes to rounding up hundreds of cattle in a day, doing so by horseback doesn’t do the trick quite like a helicopter does and Riley Sinclair is one of the best pilots in the country. It’s a dangerous job, but she has nothing to lose. Until she meets Noah and her bravery is finally tested.

Can they make a life together or is the pull of the sky too strong? 

To connect with Sarah or purchase her book: 

Print and digital through all the usual online retails. Here’s a link:

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning. 
You can find her online at:

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia


Photo by Sébastien Jermer seb  (Wikimedia Commons)

One of the things Tina and I are excited about with the Writers at Sea retreat we’re running at the end of August this year, is the amazing places participants will get to experience. If the idea of sandy beaches and warm azure waters appeals, then the Isle of Pines is the perfect place to visit.

The Isle of Pines is situated 100 kilometres by ocean from New Caledonia’s capital, Noumea, and a visit to this beautiful island will leave you refreshed and inspired. Surrounded by the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, there’s plenty of opportunity to go snorkelling, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, hiking, or lying on the beach reading a book, working on your own book, or having a nap (because why not?).

The world’s largest gecko resides on this island that once served as a French penal colony in the 1800s. When Captain James Cook first saw the island he named it the Isle of Pines because of the tall native pines. It’s an impressive sight and one you’re likely to remember forever.

Aptly nicknamed l’île la plus proche du paradis (the closest island to Paradise), a visit to the Isle of Pines is likely to be high on your list of favourite places ever visited. Yes, I’m that sure you’ll love it!

We stil have some places available on the Writers at Sea retreat and Carnival currently have a sale on cabins so you can snap up a bargain!

For more details, please CLICK HERE.



Behind the Story: Pat Esden

Pat_Esden 2-12Today I’m delighted to introduce you to fellow Kensington Publishing author, Pat Esden. Pat would love to say she spent her childhood in intellectual pursuits. The truth is she was fonder of exploring abandoned houses and old cemeteries. When not out on her own adventures, she can be found in her northern Vermont home writing stories about brave, smart women and the men who capture their hearts.

An antique-dealing florist by trade, she’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.

Thank you for stopping by to tell us your story behind the story. Take it away, Pat!

I’m so excited to be here today. Actually, I’ve been dancing on air since the end of June when REACH FOR YOU, the final novel in the Dark Heart series, came out.

Even though REACH FOR YOU is the third book in a trilogy, the concept for it came to me at the same time as the first book. My decision on how to end the series came directly from my love of fairy tales. More specifically, the idea came from tales where lovers are separated for a majority of the novel and the hero must battle dragons and chop their way through a walls of thorns to save their love.  Well, in the case of REACH FOR YOU, there aren’t any dragons or princes and the one doing the rescuing is a woman, but the idea is the same. The only thing hard about using this fairy tale concept is finding ways for the couple to have sizzling romantic moments when they are apart for a large portion of the novel. It took some creativity, but believe me it’s possible and perhaps even hotter because of the emotional pain caused by the forced separation. I should add, I also included one of my other favorite concepts that fairy tales often lack. I love the idea of strong people being even more powerful as a couple, and that is how I chose to close the very last chapters of the series. A true HEA.


Her passion is her greatest weakness.

His legacy is his prison.

 To reunite, both must fight the demons within.

A world of deception and danger separates Annie Freemont from her mother—and from Chase, the enigmatic half-ifrit with whom Annie’s fallen in love. But she vows to find her way back to them, before Chase succumbs to the madness that threatens his freedom. The only person who can help is the magical seductress, Lotli, a beautiful, manipulative woman . . . a woman who has disappeared.

Annie must stay strong, even as the future she imagined is slipping away. With the help of family and friends, she discovers that Lotli is being held against her will, by those who want to exploit her powers. But though weakened, Lotli remains a powerful alley and adversary. A bargain is struck. And now Annie’s only chance to rescue Chase could also tear them apart . . .

Loyalties will be tested, walls will be breached, and enemies will be fought, yet Annie’s greatest battle lies within her own heart—to trust her love for Chase to overcome its greatest enemy, and to save those she holds most dear from the terrifying realm of the djinn . . .





Behind the Story: Shona Husk

profile.jpgToday I’m excited to introduce you to Shona Husk, who is the author of the Shadowlands, Blood and Silver, and the Face the Music series. You can find out more information about Shona at or follow her on Twitter @ShonaHusk, Facebook or join her newsletter:

Shona, please tell us about your story behind the story …

The Blood and Silver series came out of a challenge I set myself when I was made redundant during the Global Financial Crisis. I’d been writing for a  couple of years and had finished 2 novels (which still lurk in the back of a cupboard, but around that time I’d come to the realization that if it took me over a year to write a novel it was going to take me a long time to learn the craft. So I’d turned my attention to novellas and was reading heaps of them (on my computer because I didn’t have an e-reader…I’m not even sure e-readers were around or had reached Australia back then). Novellas had plot and character and dialogue and setting, all things a novel needed but without subplots. I thought if I could learn to write a novella, I’d be able to transfer those skills to a bigger project.

So while I was jobless and looking for work I set myself the goal of plotting and writing a novella every 2 weeks. I was aiming for more words a week than I’d ever written, but then I did have more spare time because of the lack of a job.

Lady of Silver wasn’t called that back then. It was the last 15k novella that I wrote before finding a job. It was also the one which I knew could be more.

The other three novellas sold. The next novel I wrote sold (so my theory about honing story structure by writing novellas paid off, YMMV). Lady of Silver got re-written and expanded. I plotted the next book in the series because I now knew what the overarching plot thread would be—I like series linked by a plot thread (although I have written a few stories that share a universe but no common thread).

Then the paranormal romance market died. As a paranormal romance writer this hurt both creatively and financially.

So I dabbled with contemporary romance, I started writing urban fantasy under a different name and I kept writing paranormal romance on the side because I knew it would come back eventually.

I re wrote Lady of Silver again, because I still believed in the idea and it combined a few of my favourite things.

I love lost civilizations. Stories about ruined cities found in a jungle/under water/buried in a desert will always get my attention. What happened to the people? What was it like when they lived there? Who were they?

Medieval witch hunts have also fascinated me, how can people be whipped up into such a hateful frenzy? And be so cruel to others (I’ve been to a medieval torture museum and it was sickening)? Unfortunately as I’ve gotten older I can see how easily it happens…

I also wanted to read a story where the hero was human and the heroine was the one with the magical powers and he had to come to grips with her world because usually in paranormal romance it’s the other way around.

So the premise for the Blood and Silver series was the survivors of an ancient and magical civilization struggling to live on, while being hunted by those who still see them as a threat. Oh and there’s vampires…evil vampires…because it’s about time vampires got back to feeding and killing and be bad.

lady-of-silver-highres-smallMore about Blood and Silver: 

A man on a mission
A brutal crime is haunting detective Dale Morgan. A young woman has been murdered on the city’s outskirts, and her blood drained. Dale suspects the leader of a depraved cult may be to blame. Yet with barely a shred of evidence at the crime scene, Dale will have to turn to the one person despises almost as much as the killers he puts behind bars.

A woman with secrets
To humans, Saba Venn is a psychic, but she’s Albah, a race long forgotten by humans but who live amongst them, her powers fueled by blood and silver. She agrees to help Detective Morgan, if it means stopping the vampire cult she believes is behind the killing. But the attraction she feels with Dale is immediate, and as their relationship intensifies she begins to doubt she can keep her secret from him.

Buy links: Amazon Kobo iBooks Barnes and Noble All Romance eBooks

Story Behind the Story: Christina Philippou

prfileToday I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Christina Philippou. Christina’s writing career has been a varied one, from populating the short-story notebook that lived under her desk at school to penning reports on corruption and terrorist finance. When not reading or writing, she can be found engaging in sport or undertaking some form of nature appreciation. Christina has three passports to go with her three children, but is not a spy. Lost in Static is her first novel.

Welcome, Christina. Can you please tell us about your story behind you story?

Hello Alli, and thank you so much for having me on your blog today to talk about the story behind Lost in Static.

Based in a university, Lost in Static tells the same story of first year betrayal, lust, and violence through four students’ (sometimes very) different perspectives. Rather than the story, I’m going to talk about what the book’s focus really is about: the writing structure.

For years, I have hunted down multi-point of view stories, as people’s different perspectives have fascinated me. I loved The Alexandria Quartet by Alexandre Dumas, mainly because it does what few other multi-POV stories actually do: retell the story from a different perspective rather than ‘pass the baton’.

And then came my own history. Every time my (long-suffering) husband and I reminisce about how we got together, our versions of events are markedly different, and not all of that is to do with the passage of time – they always were completely different. Every one views events through their own likes, dislikes, ‘tinted glasses’, culture, and personal history, amongst other things, and I’ve always been intrigued by that and it’s lack of exploration in fiction.

When I sat down to write a piece of fiction (that subsequently became my debut novel), I started thinking about perspective. To add to the husband’s version-of-events disagreement, a friend and I had been to a party the previous evening and our recollections were not aligned.

“Right,” I thought, “let’s get this human predisposition for spinning the truth depending on narrator into a story.”

And so Lost in Static was born, along with its four protagonists, which required a lot of thought to enable me to tell the story the way wanted to: from a variety of viewpoints. This is why, for example, the protagonists are not polar opposites to each other. I didn’t want culture to play too large a part in the differences in the narrative, so I gave them all English middle-class (albeit with disparities in income and county of origin) backgrounds. With similarish cultural background, one of the variables in reasons for altering perspectives was ‘stable’.

For similar reasons, I didn’t include disability or obvious racial differences (of the protagonists). I made them similar in those ways and then hit them with differences in schooling, intelligence, character (part nature, part nurture) and money. I then rendered my characters raw by giving them secrets they would go to great lengths to ensure remained so, and then put them in situations that would bring prejudices (or lack of) to the fore.

Writing the same events from four different perspectives was very stretching, as I kept having to put myself in (sometimes very dislikeable) shoes and see how the event in question would appear to them. But it was also very rewarding.

One of the things I have loved most about reading reviews of Lost in Static is how individual readers seem to like or sympathise with different protagonists. And that, to me, has been the most rewarding thing about bringing this multi-perspective seed to life.

coverLost in Static

Sometimes growing up is seeing someone else’s side of the story.

Four stories. One truth. Whom do you believe? 

Callum has a family secret. Yasmine wants to know it. Juliette thinks nobody knows hers. All Ruby wants is to reinvent herself. 

They are brought together by circumstance, torn apart by misunderstanding. As new relationships are forged and confidences are broken, each person’s version of events is coloured by their background, beliefs and prejudices. And so the ingredients are in place for a year shaped by lust, betrayal, and violence… 

Lost in Static is the gripping debut from author Christina Philippou. Whom will you trust?


 Lost in Static is available from, amongst others, Amazon UK, Amazon US, and direct from the publisher, Urbane Publications.

You can connect with Christina on her websiteTwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+.

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.



Behind the Story: Camille Taylor

profileToday I’m delighted to introduce you to the lovely Camille Taylor, a romantic suspense author who lives in Canberra, Australia. She spends her time reading, writing and procrastinating on Pinterest looking at nail art, books, and cake decorating. A bookworm, she enjoys most genres, particularly romance and mysteries and is HEA chaser. Her short story, The Healing Gift appears in the 2016 Romance Writers of Australia Little Gems Anthology. Camille is an incurable genealogist and has traced her heritage to England, Scotland, Ireland and Russia.

Camille, please tell us about your story behind the story:

I’ve always written. I can’t not write. It’s almost an addiction. As far back as I can remember I wrote. Many of my ideas came to me while living on a rural property in Victoria during my teens. Back then we didn’t have internet or much of a connection to the outside world except for TV and books. I watched a lot of Indiana Jones and James Bond (I had a serious crush on Timothy Dalton). I also read Agatha Christie novels and my eldest sister’s Mills and Boons romances she’d smuggled in. I guess the combination of crime and romance cemented in my subconscious and now that world comes naturally to me.

My first book, though not the first published, came to me one evening walking along a lone stretch of highway near our house. A herd of sheep we’d been taking care of had escaped the paddock and we were busy heralding them back onto the property. It was dusk and while the main road for the area, and joining to a smaller town several kilometers away only a couple cars drove past. My mind wandered, as it often still does, wondering what it would be like to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere at night with a broken down car and help so far away. The idea took hold and in the next minute I had a serial killer involved and Not Forgotten, first titled The Butcher was born.

Writing a novel wasn’t my first choice of careers. A bit of a daydreamer, I’d imagined being an actress and made up stories with me as the heroine who would be as far from my character as possible. Confident. Sassy. Perfect. I’d also get the hunk instead of mooning after the boys who never noticed me in school. But when the words inside my head wouldn’t be quietened, I began writing them down.

As I grew up, I decided acting wasn’t for me. I still am to this day super shy. Instead, I turned my attention to polishing my old screenplays I’d written in hopes of seeing them played out on the big screen. Yet another of my many dreams before I found my place as an author. After a few years, I once again moved on and tried my hand at converting the script into a novel and the first draft was written way back in 2003.

quoteAt first, I wanted to be a brilliant psychological thriller writer like Lisa Gardner. But I love my HEA’s too much and my all-time favourite part of being an author is matchmaking my characters. I’m a big fan of wounded souls overcoming the darkness in their lives for a chance at happiness.

Not Forgotten is the first in the Australian set Harbour Bay series and focuses on psychologist Natalie Miller as she is called in to assist Detective Matt Murphy in unlocking the mind of the only witness to a horrific crime. Her own dark past resurfaces while she and Matt fight their attraction. Bringing a killer to justice might just be last thing Natalie does…

Once a standalone, as were all my stories I sent off Not Forgotten for an assessment and turned to Open Wounds, already in first draft stage and on a whim I decided to make them into a series. I, myself absolutely love series which focus on different characters each novel but also include characters from other books and give a glimpse into their lives after their HEA’s. Thus the Harbour Bay series was born and I still continue to work on them today.

About the Series:

Harbour Bay is a fictional town set on the Australian New South Wales coast. The series focuses on the hot detectives of the LAC, their family and friends and the women who stole their hearts. Often one or both have wounded souls, or a dark past which they must overcome to find happiness. Each book, while a part of the series, is standalone and can be read in any order (buy links below).

Buy Links:

Not Forgotten (Book 1):

Open Wounds (Book 2):

The Dead Don’t Lie (Book 3):

Doppelgänger (Book 4):


Social Media Links:



Story Behind the Story: Elizabeth Ellen Carter

profile eec.jpgToday I have the pleasure of introducing you to the delightful Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.

Please, tell us about your story behind the story …

Toward the end of last year my husband and Lisa, a good friend of mine, were commissioned to chronicle the lives of the men and women of the Canungra district who volunteered to serve during The Great War.

There are many such cenotaphs and obelisks marking the service and sacrifice of our Diggers around the country, but the Canungra memorial in Queensland memorial is different – it marked all who served, not only those who fell.

Some of their stories were inspiring – the brothers who became brothers-in-arms; poignant – the faithful fiancée at home writing for news of beloved who would never return and humorous – the 15 year old boy who lied about his age and was pulled off the troop carrier by his irate father, leaving his hit to go on the journey without him.

Those who came back did not do so unscathed. Some suffered shell-shock and spiralled into alcoholic depression, others lost limbs, and others, the full use of their lungs ravaged by mustard gas.



Jim McDonald Sharp

One man who survived to leave a legacy beyond his war service was a man by the name of James (Jim) McDonald Sharp.

Initially reported dead, Jim was critically wounded and later credited his survival to the courage and bravery of his best mate, Jack Bartle, who secured his removal to a dressing station behind the front line.

With shrapnel wounds to the left foot and leg, left temple, ear drum and head, Jim was evacuated to England and admitted to hospital in London on May 15, 1916.

There, a steel plate, which he would carry for the rest of his life, was inserted in the left side of his skull. The damage to his eardrum was irreparable and he remained partially deaf.

After the war he became a successful dairy farmer and for many years served the local community and local government.

Jim’s service was recognised with awards of the King George VI Coronation Medal in 1937 and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal in 1953.

The web site was launched in late December last year on the 100th anniversary of the evacuation of Gallipoli and, after reading page after page of these remarkable stories, I started thinking of a war 100 years earlier – the Napoleonic Wars.

I thought about what it must have been like to come back physically broken and what courage and fortitude it must take to build a life irrevocably changed.

Inspired by those incredible stories I wrote my first novella, Nocturne in January this year.

The hero, Thomas Worsley is blind and lame because of his wounds in the Battle of Quatre Bras. He is a recluse, partly by choice, partly by the machinations of his brother.

He would be largely content with his life lived after dark, where he plays piano alone and in peace, if it not for the arrival of the inquisitive new governess Ella Montgomery.


Detail from the Battle of Quatre Bras by Lady Butler

So, as you see history was brought to life to me through this remarkable web site. It reminded me that the men and women on memorial are more than just names – they were people who lived, loved, laughed and have since died.

Nocturne gave me the opportunity to explore the aftermath of war and to count some of its great cost.

And that is the story behind the story.

In her first posting as governess, Ella Montgomery discover beautiful Blackheath Manor hides family secrets and suppressed passions.

EEC cover

Mysterious music in the darkness of night draws Ella to the talented Thomas Worsley, the brother of her employer, the Earl of Renthorpe.

Grievously wounded in the Napoleonic Wars that killed his beloved twin brother, Thomas is held prisoner at Blackheath by more than his blindness and scars.

Fuelled by a bitter jealousy, the Earl has ensured Thomas is only a memory, his name etched on a marble memorial in the Bedfordshire village graveyard.

Drawn together by their love of music, Ella and Thomas begin a clandestine affair, but how far will the Earl go to keep his family’s secret?



Elizabeth has kindly offered the chance for three lucky commenters to win an e-copy of Nocturne. Just leave a comment below for your chance to win. 

Buy Links



Barnes & Noble:

Story Behind the Story: Cassandra O’Leary

profileToday’s guest for the Story Behind the Story is the delightful Cassandra O’Leary, who is a romance and women’s fiction writer, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things. 

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Maze/HarperCollins UK and her debut contemporary romance/romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, releases in July 2016. She was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest run by Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous.

Cassandra, please tell us about you Story Behind the Story!

Travel is one of my joys. Since my first flight at about five years old, from Melbourne to Brisbane, I’ve found it exciting and fascinating. Back then, kids were allowed to walk right into the cockpit and meet the captain – I’ve never forgotten the moment I received a shiny pair of wings that Mum pinned to my shirt.

Once I grew up and started earning money, I took off, travelling to some fascinating places. My first trip was a university study tour, an eight-week whirlwind from Hong Kong to London and across Europe. I added on a solo trip through Italy, to Vienna by train and then across to New York City. The food, culture, music…the food! I loved it all. I guess I was infected by the travel bug! Later I travelled heaps with my boyfriend (now husband).


Cassandra in Seville, Spain

I took a long time to come to creative writing, having worked in PR, marketing and communications for years. When I started writing my debut novel, Girl on a Plane, I found inspiration in places I’ve visited including: Melbourne (my home city), Singapore, London, Paris and Thailand. I also have a family member who is an ex flight attendant who has some stories! I was interested in the idea of writing about someone whose home is the entire world, but nowhere, at the same time. If you’re always in transit, it can be hard to form friendships and relationships or find your true north.

I also love romantic comedy movies and those influences flooded into my work. In Girl on a Plane, you might spot references to Love Actually, When Harry Met Sally and maybe more. I don’t think I’ve mastered the witty banter that screenwriters like Richard Curtis or Nora Ephron are so brilliant at, but it’s something I aspire to emulate.

Girl on a Plane is a contemporary romance/romantic comedy that’s sexy and sassy, about an Irish flight attendant named Sinead, who meets a gruff and gorgeous Aussie CEO, Gabriel, in first class. Their Melbourne to London flight is diverted when a storm hits in mid-air, and they’re thrown together in a Singapore hotel. What follows could be a one-night stand, or something else entirely.

I started writing the book about two years ago, in a short story incarnation, and re-worked it several times. I received a publishing contract for Girl on a Plane after winning the global We Heart New Talent contest run by HarperCollins UK in 2015. That was a thrill! The digital-first team at Avon Maze have been fantastic to work with, and we’re preparing for take-off now, as the e-book released globally on 18 July.

brighton beach

Brighton Beach, Melbourne, where part of the story takes place

My main character in Girl on a Plane, is Irish flight attendant, Sinead. She’s 26 years old and has been working for Mermaid Airlines for five years. The story begins with Sinead on board a flight, going through the motions of a silly dance to the airline’s theme song. She’s getting tired of the routine and the constant travel, even when she plasters on a pretty smile.

Sinead is quirky and funny, but also resilient – tougher than her glamorous exterior might suggest. At first glance, if you saw Sinead dressed in her flight attendant uniform with immaculate hair and makeup, you might assume she’s a light-weight, but you’d be wrong. Without giving away spoilers, she’s had family issues and an ex-boyfriend stalking her, and trouble finds her again. Her background and hesitant reaction to the hero are explained as the story progresses.

The hero, Gabriel, isn’t what he seems either. He’s a handsome, rich, Aussie surfer-in-a-suit CEO who’s cocky and sure of himself, but under the façade, he’s struggling with life-changing personal issues. Giving Sinead and Gabriel a happy ever after was satisfying as a writer, and I hope readers enjoy Girl on a Plane too!

coverGirl on a Plane 

A sexy, sassy, summer read. CLIMB ON BOARD . . .

When feisty Irish flight attendant Sinead Kennealy locks eyes with sexy Australian CEO Gabriel Anderson in First Class, sparks fly. But as they jet across the globe from Melbourne to London, it’s clear that they’re in for a turbulent journey . . .

Stressed-out Gabriel doesn’t do relationships. And Sinead isn’t about to be fooled by another bad boy after escaping her stalker ex. Then a storm hits, causing the plane to land unexpectedly, and Sinead and Gabriel are thrown together in Singapore.

The pressure rises as Sinead’s unhappy past threatens to catch up with her. But might Gabriel be the one to heal her heartbreak? If he could open up about his troubling secrets, maybe a relationship could actually get off the ground. Fasten your seatbelts – this WON’T be a smooth ride . . .

Buy links:

Amazon US –

Amazon AU –

Amazon UK –

HarperCollins AU –

Kobo –

Google Play Books –

iTunes US –

iTunes AU –