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: http://www.books2read.com/TheSkyoverBrigadierStation

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning. 
You can find her online at:
http://www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com
http://www.facebook.com/sarahwilliamswriter 
http://www.twitter.com/SarahW_Writer

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Behind the Story: Cathryn Hein

Cathryn Hein author photoI’m super excited to have Cathryn Hein on the blog today. Cathryn is the best-selling author of ten rural romance and romantic adventure novels, and a regular Australian Romance Reader Awards finalist. A South Australian country girl by birth, she loves nothing more than a rugged rural hero who’s as good with his heart as he is with his hands, which is probably why she writes them! Her romances are warm and emotional, and feature themes that don’t flinch from the tougher side of life but are often happily tempered by the antics of naughty animals. Her aim is to make you smile, sigh, and perhaps sniffle a little, but most of all feel wonderful.

Cathryn currently lives at the base of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales with her partner of many years, Jim. When she’s not writing, she plays golf (ineptly), cooks (well), and in football season barracks (rowdily) for her beloved Sydney Swans AFL team.

Welcome, Cathryn. Please tell us your story behind the story!

I come from a land of volcanoes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Not what you think about when you think of Australia, is it? But it’s true. Australia has one of the best volcanic fields in the world. The Newer Volcanic Province stretches from Melbourne through to Mt Burr, north-west of my home town of Mt Gambier, and contains a whopping 400+ volcanoes. There are at least 20 eruptive sites around Mt Gambier alone.

Volcanoes are what I grew up with. As a kid, a great day out was climbing to the top of Mt Schank crater, south of Mt Gambier, and sliding to the bottom again on your bum. We also did it around Mt Gambier, from the Potter’s Point lookout to the Valley Lake far below. We’d get filthy, tear clothing, occasionally hurt ourselves and have the best fun imaginable.

Mount Elephant in western VictoriaThere’s a kind of romance about volcanoes too. They’re ancient, majestic and the view from the top is spectacular. I love them – their crooked forms and cratered bellies, their eroded slopes and stony ridges. And I’m particularly pleased that my favourite, Mt Schank, is only dormant. That it’s like a hibernating bear, snoring softly as it waits for the right moment to reawaken.

It seems inevitable then that I would one day write about a volcano. Not only write about one but develop a whole series of stories set in the shadow of my fictional Mt Schank, Rocking Horse Hill.

Rocking Horse HillRocking Horse Hill is the first in my Levenham Love Story series, and features an old money rural family with an historic property at the base of a volcano. The hill plays a pivotal role in the story, as a place of beauty and passion, as well as great drama and heartache for both its heroine Emily Wallace-Jones and sexy hero Josh Sinclair. At its heart, Rocking Horse Hill is a lover’s reunited story, but it’s also a story about friendship and family, and its lush southeast South Australia setting is stunning.

My latest release Wayward Heart continues the story. It’s a friends-to-lovers romance, a much-favoured trope. And in the Jasmine and Digby’s case, these friends are also two very broken people—Digby from tragedy and grief, Jasmine from heartbreak and humiliation. When circumstances bring them close, they discover unexpected strengths and wonders in each another. What happens next is deeply emotional and passionate, but it’s a relationship tangled with family drama and the wreckage of Digby and Jasmine’s past, and their happily ever after isn’t going to be easy.

Summer and the Groomsman 800x1200Other books so far in the Levenham Love Story series are Summer and the Groomsman – set around Josh and Em’s wedding – and RomantiSanta and the Saddler - 400x600c Book of the Year finalist Santa and the Saddler, which introduces two new characters and their families. Its follow-on story, Chrissy and the Burroughs Boy will release this year and there are plenty more to come. I think at last count I had at least 5 more in the pipeline.

I can’t keep away from the place but there’s a reason for that. I feel passionately about the setting, it’s in my memories and in my heart and I want my characters to find as much happiness in this land of volcanoes as I had growing up.

Wayward Heart by Cathryn HeinCathryn’s latest release is WAYWARD HEART, available in all good bookstores and online now.

Blurb for Wayward Heart:

Jasmine Thomas should feel safe in her cosy cottage at Admella Beach after finally putting an end to an ill-advised romance. But her perfect sanctuary is shattered with the arrival of hand-delivered threatening notes. Someone has discovered her secret.

When the notes escalate to vandalism, Jasmine’s anxiety rises. But in such a small place, telling the police would mean the whole town finding out.

Digby Wallace-Jones is stumbling through the motions of life, wrapped in a fog of grief since his fiancée Felicity died. Withdrawn from his family, Digby doesn’t care about anything beyond his loss. But in a chance meeting with Jasmine, his sister’s best friend who he’s known forever, even he can see the tension she carries. Worried and feeling protective, he continues to drop by, but it’s more than that. Jasmine soothes him; and, unlike the rest of his family, he can talk to her about his pain without fear of judgement. But as much as he likes Jasmine, Digby’s enduring love for Felicity means he has nothing left to give and he pushes Jasmine away.

Jasmine knew they were supposed to stay friends ‘with excellent benefits’ but she can’t help her wayward heart from falling for this tortured, kind and sexy man. How can she ever loosen the grip Felicity’s memory has on Digby’s soul and remind him he still has a life ahead of him?

If you’d like to see Cathryn climbing Mount Schank click here!

A SPECIAL GIVEAWAY!

Cathryn has kindly offered to send one lucky commenter on the blog a book of their choice from the volcano/Levenham stories: Rocking Horse Hill, Wayward Heart, Summer and the Groomsman, or Santa and the Saddler. 

What we’d like to know is: what’s your favourite landmark and why? It can be from your childhood or now.

Good luck everyone! Comment by June 30 for your chance to win!

Discover more about Cathryn and her stories at cathrynhein.com or email Cathryn at cathryn@cathrynhein.com

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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!

Blurb:

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:

http://mybook.to/TheBrothersofBrigadierStation

https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Brothers-of-Brigadier-Station-Sarah-Williams/9780648046202

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:

www.sarahwilliamsauthor.com

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

www.facebook.com/sarahwilliamswriter

www.twitter.com/SarahW_Writer

 

 

 

 

Behind the Story: Alissa Callen

 

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Photo credit: Gabrielle Battistel

Today I’m excited to introduce you to the gorgeous Alissa Callen. Alissa is a USA Today bestselling author who is happiest living far from the city fringe. Alissa writes small town and rural fiction and is published with Random House, Tule Publishing Group and Harlequin Australia. Once a teacher and a counsellor, she remains interested in the life journeys that people take. Her books are characteristically heart-warming, authentic and character driven. Alissa lives with her family on a small slice of rural Australia.

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

The Long Paddock is a story that has been woven from the scents, sights and sounds of my everyday world. While Woodlea, the town of windmills, is fictitious, the landscape surrounding the town and the experiences of the local community are grounded in reality. My real life has a way of wriggling into my words much like how our Jack Russell sneaks into our kitchen.

Coonamble Rodeo3.JPGI live on a small farm with my family in the central west of NSW where we grow winter oats and graze cattle. Our menagerie of animals, and the natural beauty around us, never fails to inspire me — even though one brown snake swimming in our pool is enough for inspiration, along with one grassfire. I hope never to see smoke in our front paddock again.

The plot for The Long Paddock owes its genesis to a past summer when rain was scarce and I’d drive through mobs of cattle grazing on the roadside verges. Concern has grown over the management and future of the travelling stock routes and this was an issue I wanted to explore. Another issue I wanted to touch upon was rural mental health. Droughts can parch more than the earth and bushfires can burn more than windmill grass.

our-carrot-eating-cowYarn bombers had decorated the trees in Dubbo’s main street and the colours and textures soon found their way into my story. After attending the Coonamble Rodeo and Campdraft, not only did I find myself with a bull-rider hero, but also a misunderstood bull who was determined to take center stage. Since I wrote The Long Paddock I discovered a bull like Reggie really does exist. His story may be different, and he may snore at night, but there are real people who have given a misjudged bull a forever home just like Cressy did.

I hope readers enjoy spending time in Woodlea as much as I enjoyed bringing this small, close-knit, rural community to life.

the-long-paddockMore about The Long Paddock:

Country-girl Cressida Knight fills her days with her farm, a rogue bull called Reggie and her volunteer emergency services work. The busier she keeps, the less she thinks about the cowboy who left her behind. She’s convinced the small-town Woodlea grapevine that she’s moved on but now it’s time to move on for real. 

Champion bull rider Denham Rigby shares Cressy’s deep love for the land and all he’s ever wanted was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Cressy through life. But three years ago a dark family secret left him no choice but to run. Now family duty gives him no choice but to return to the bush.

What Denham hasn’t come home to do is to hurt Cressy. He’s nothing but a liability and the beautiful cowgirl has to remain off-limits. But when faced with Cressy’s desperation to save her drought-stricken farm, he can’t keep his distance. He joins her out droving on the long paddock. When Woodlea is hit by more than just rodeo fever, they are further thrown together. Denham loses the battle to lock down his emotions.

But has he left it too late to stop running? And will the woman he’s always loved be prepared to risk her heart for a second time?

BUY LINK:

http://www.harlequinbooks.com.au/product/9781489214560

You can find out more about Alissa at https://www.alissacallen.com/

Behind the story: Susanne Bellamy

 

2011-headshots

Today’s special guest is the delightful Susanne Bellamy, who was born and raised in Toowoomba, Australia. Susanne is an author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters.

Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her. 

Susanne is a member of the RWA and was a finalist in their 2011 Emerald Award. She placed third in the 2015 Pan Macmillan short story competition with Chez Romeo. Mentoring aspiring writers, and working as a freelance editor keeps her off the street! She loves connecting with readers and fellow writers. 

What inspired you to write Hearts of the Outback?

My first rural romance was released in September last year. Second Chance Love (A Bindarra Creek Romance) was written as part of a wonderful series set in the fictional NSW town of Bindarra Creek, a place all thirteen of the authors ‘know’ exists. I loved the experience and genre so much I decided to create my own rural series set in northwest Queensland.

 During NaNoWriMo, I set my goal to complete the first book in one month. I wanted to write about the wonderful Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and acknowledge the invaluable service they give to remote parts of our vast land. My plan was to write stories connected by both setting and characters, and Captain Amy Alistair’s brother was to get his turn after her. But when it came time to begin book 2, one minor character from book 1, Lizzy Wilmot, would not be quiet and I had to find out why.

My brother-in-law had passed away earlier in the year and my sister was trying to deal with the loss of her husband. In Heartbreak Homestead I think I was trying to work through my own grief by working through Lizzy’s. Certainly her story is darker than the others. She has to deal with death and unexpected responsibilities, and face the demons of her past when she returns to the family property.

The process of writing about difficult and emotional events is cathartic and that may be what resonates with readers who can identify with characters’ feelings. Feisty, independent, passionate Lizzy is a strong character with resilience, much like several women I know, and her success in dealing with all the ‘stuff’ life throws at her is uplifting.

hoto_hhWhy did you decide to set the series in northwest Queensland?

While my earlier books had contemporary settings (from Melbourne, to Hawaii and Italy) there is something about small towns that is incredibly appealing. Writing a series where I could stay in that world for more than a single story was a very attractive idea, and each new book excites me as I return to the Isa.

 Many years ago, I taught in Cloncurry. It was the northwest hub for several government departments, including Main Roads, and Queensland Rail, and had even been the base for the RFDS until the 1960s, when it was moved to Mt. Isa. The people I got to know were open, hardworking, and wonderful, willing to lend a hand, and incredibly community minded as so many in our small towns and remote places are. I wanted to create a series that celebrated them and a way of life that I think captures the essence of what it is to be Australian. While a sense of community etcetera is in no way limited to the Outback, it is perhaps more noticeable in remote places.

I hope you enjoy a brief sojourn in my beautiful state as you read Hearts of the Outback.

hoto_-woc_coverWinds of Change (Book 4) is available on pre-order, and releases 1 December

More about the book:

When famous actress, Willa Raynolds, comes home to the Australian outback to film a mini-series, the last person she expects to see is her first love, Jax Heathwood. Their breakup was unpleasant and he is the last person she wants on the set.  Jax, an army major, is on injury leave and to his dismay has been seconded to provide technical advice on location for Willa’s series.

But when Willa is the subject of a stalker, Jax’s protective instincts kick in with a vengeance and he realises he’s never got over her.

Who wants to harm her? Can Jax keep her safe and convince her to take another chance on them?

You can buy a copy of Susanne’s book here: http://amzn.to/2drvVGt

You can find her at the following:

  1. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/susanne.bellamy.7
  2. Twitter https://twitter.com/SusanneBellamy
  3. Website http://www.susannebellamy.com/
  4. Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/susannebellamy/
  5. Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/6869630.Susanne_Bellamy

Or on her website: http://www.susannebellamy.com