Describe yourself in one word:
Resilient. Why, you ask? Long story…perhaps I’m mysterious as well!
What is your background with regard to writing?
Since being at High School, I have written poetry and stories. I then spent all my working life writing reports, assessments, submissions, speeches and media releases. When I could no longer go to work, about 5-6 years ago, I decided I wanted to write fiction and so wrote my first book. That one is still in the bottom drawer but it ignited my love of writing and I haven’t stopped since.
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
As above, at first I just wanted to know I could write a complete novel. Then I joined RWA, took writing courses, bought a plethora of craft books and launched into the next novel. My critique partner, Tamara Gill, convinced me Beyond Innocence was good enough to publish. It was published November 2012 and my second novel, Shadow Beneath the Sea was published September 30, 2013.
What is your writing routine?
Wish you hadn’t asked that one…I really do intend to have a writing routine and next week I will start one.
Favourite snack whilst writing?
I make these beautiful bliss balls which are ground nuts, dates, lots of cocoa and honey and roll them in coconut…so yummy! I have a store of them in the fridge and freezer.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Hmm…as my family are grown and left home, I don’t go to work anymore and my mind never stops working…if I wasn’t channelling that chatter into books, I think I might just be wearing a white jacket, blathering incoherently in a nice, soft, padded room.
What piqued your interest in the historical romance genre?
When I first decided to write a novel, I also wanted to increase my knowledge and as I love history, it was a no-brainer. For me, a book also must have a love story of some kind so what else but historical romance?
Can you share with our readers one piece of historical information that has special meaning to you?
I have a strong Scottish heritage and have done much research into my ancestry. So when I read about the battle of Culloden in 1745 between the Scottish Jacobite sympathisers and loyalist troops led by Cumberland, which almost wiped out all the Scottish clans, I had a powerful emotional response. There was sadness and also pride at the do-or-die conviction of these men, my ancestors, fighting to retain their cultural heritage and their freedom.
One thing you’d like readers to know about the historical romance genre:
It is not just about characters finding their way through emotional and physical mazes, it’s about these characters doing so with the unique pressures, limitations and morés of the particular time period, so different from the present day. And the historical genre spans a huge time period from early civilisation right up until WW2.
The one book that you’ve read over and over is…
I am not a person who can keep re-reading a book so I have to admit once the last page is turned, that’s it for me. However, having said that, I have broken that rule with a non-fiction book – Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. Every time I open the book, it is like an oracle with a new message which is always perfect for that moment.
Favourite fictional character:
No hesitation there – has to be the handsome, fearless, passionate Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Believe it or not, I have done everything on my “bucket list”. Someone asked me that last year and I couldn’t think of anything I still haven’t done. I’ve travelled to amazing places, had a stimulating and interesting career, have a wonderful family and beautiful friends. Too good to be true? Okay, I admit I would like to have a book on New York Times bestsellers list.
What book has changed your opinion/stance on something important to you, and why?
Again, as above, it would be A New Earth which has changed my perspective on almost everything and given me a better way to live.
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Hard to separate a few momentous ones: raising two wonderful sons, having my first book, Beyond Innocence, published in 2012 and winning an Australia Day Medal in 2002 for my work in dispute resolution.
What’s next for you?
Put your fingers over your ears … The next one is a contemporary novel which I am plotting at the moment. I am very excited about it as this is different from anything I have written before with a quite unconventional heroine and hero. I am also presently promoting my newest release, Shadow Beneath the Sea (2013 RTTA finalist) which is the tragic story of the 202nd crossing of the Lusitania from New York to England during WW1, when the Atlantic was crawling with German U-boats. It is available on all e-book sites.