1. Describe yourself in one word:
I cheated and asked my other half. He replied ‘special’ (good man!), so I’m going with that.
2. The best thing about being a wordsmith:
I’m a mean Scrabble player… But I love getting lost in my worlds. They’re such thrilling places, and because I write romances, with each book I get to fall in love along with my characters.
3. You wish you wrote:
The Rain Queen or The Hunter’s Wife both by Katherine Scholes. They’re beautiful. The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley ditto. But I wouldn’t have minded writing the Harry Potter series!
4. If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Umm… cooking, reading, playing a lot of golf? I’m not sure, really. I’m living my dream so it’s hard to imagine doing anything else.
5. Favourite fictional character:
Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character is one of literature’s most memorable. I’ll never tire of the Sherlock stories. Anthony Horowitz did a great job of resurrecting him in The House of Silk too.
6. If you were a character in a novel, you’d be:
Taggie Campbell-Black from Jilly Cooper’s Rivals. Imagine capturing the heart of that super sexy and oh-so-naughty toff Rupert. What fun!
7. What book has changed your opinion/stance on something important to you, and why?
Tricky question. I would have to choose The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears. Set in Provence, the book focuses on the lives of three men, each at critical turning points in history: the collapse of the Roman Empire, the sweep of the Black Death and the horror of the Second World War. While the entire book is amazing, the story thread involving the French Vichy government was a complete eye-opener. The Dream of Scipio is the sort of read that keeps you thinking long after the last page.
8. The one author you would you spend your last $20 on?
Probably Stephen King. He’s an brilliant storyteller. Or his son Joe Hill who is equally as good.
9. Biggest accomplishment to date:
I’m very proud to have had three novels released that readers have enjoyed. Receiving messages, emails and in person praise is incredible and quite humbling.
10. What’s next for you?
I’m currently polishing my next rural romance, which will be published next year. I can’t wait to reveal more about this one. The setting is pretty special and I’m completely in love with the hero, as usual. He’s so dreamy! As soon as that goes off for edits, it’ll be on to my 2015 book.
11. What attracted you to writing about rural Australia?
Oh, that’s easy. These are simply the settings and characters I want to read about. I spent years trying to find Australian romances with rural settings, but they were rare and I used to read English set novels to get that country fix. Now we have a whole genre of our own.
12. Do you have a background in rural Australia?
Yes, I’m from Mt Gambier in the lower south east of South Australia, went to uni and studied Agriculture then worked in the pasture and turf seed industries.
13. What’s one thing you’d like readers to know about the rural romance genre?
That it’s not all droughts and flooding rains and cranky old farmers hanging on to tradition. These are complex, emotional stories dealing with modern issues. And they’re bloody good reads!
HEARTLAND by Cathryn Hein
When Callie Reynolds arrives at Glenmore, the property she’s recently inherited, the last thing she wants is to be saddled with a warty horse, an injured neighbour and a mad goose. Haunted by her sister’s death and her fractured family, all she wants is freedom. But Callie hasn’t counted on falling for Matt Hawkins, an ex-soldier determined to fulfil his own dream of land and family. Nor could she predict the way the land, animals and people of Glenmore will capture her heart. Callie is faced with impossible choices. But she must find the courage to decide where her future lies, even if it costs her everything she holds dear. Get your copy of Heartland here.