Author Spotlight: Charmaine Ross
Firstly, congratulations on your latest release, Four-Leaf Clover – Thank you, I’m very excited to be here!
Four-Leaf Clover is described as “a sexy, sugar-laden David vs Goliath story” centred on a small local bakery taking on a national bakery chain. How did you come up with the concept of Four-Leaf Clover?
I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but McDonalds has recently opened in a little town called Tecoma in the Dandenongs which has caused a lot of conjecture. There are quite a few local cafes and restaurants in the street and a lot of reasons for and against wanting McDonalds there, one of them being the competition between small local businesses against huge world-wide brands. I just wondered what would happen if that particular set-up had a face – and Clover and Liam were born!
Throughout Four-Leaf Clover, we are taken on the heroine Clover Loveday’s journey of establishing a business to enable her out of a bad financial situation only to eventually fall (quite literally) into the arms of her competitor, Liam Sinclair. Was there a particular idea/reason that sparked this storyline for you?
The ‘how they meet’ scene is the most fun to work out. When an idea comes to me for a book, the idea is usually a ‘what-if”. What if big business met small business in a quirky little town where I live… Then I work out how I can bring this into the story, who the characters are going to be, and how they meet. I could just see the first chapter in my mind.
Liam watching Clover from across the street as she sets up her café, attracted but not wanting to be. He walks into her café and upsets her precarious position on the ladder. I wanted to make the characters have no excuse but to start talking to each other, and then the sparks could fly from there.
The novel is set in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges; does this spot hold a special significance for you?
I live in the Dandenong Ranges and my life is surrounded with these quirky little towns. When I write, I normally take off to a local café which is always a lovely experience for me. Sitting in one of them one day, I knew I wanted to write a romance set in a quirky little café just like the ones you find in the Dandenongs. It is quite literally a beautiful part of Australia. I regularly go for walks in the national forests, the 1,000 steps and especially through Kallista where the tree ferns are taller than I am. I think the area is quite magical and really has a unique presence.
How do you best describe your style of writing?
I’m not really sure, actually. I have been told I have a nice voice, very Australian, and I think my style is relaxed and conversational. My books are light, flirty little romances, so I wanted my writing style to reflect that. Easy enough to sit down and read, put down and pick up when the reader is next ready to enjoy the book.
Is there something you’d like readers to know about the romance genre?
There are so many categories of the Romance Genre. When I mention Romance, some people immediately think about the Mills and Boon of the eighties, but there is so much more to Romance Books than that. They can encompass anything from Paranormal, Erotic to Sweet, the range is amazing. There’s sure to be something for people to find to read and they might be surprised at the depth of books that fall into the romance category.
When you’re not writing, what do you read? Do you have a favourite genre and author?
Years ago the Diana Gabaldon series took me away. I DEVOURED those books. I love the Maya Banks series – that girl can write anything! I love the way Keri Arthur has made Melbourne into an alternate world. I wished I lived in her world! I love Illona Andrews for her magical worlds and face-paced plot lines. All of our local home-grown talent. I take my hat off to you all, ladies!
Four-Leaf Clover is your sixth romance novel to be published, tell me: what’s your favourite love story/scene from a popular book or film?
Man, I can never go past Colin Firth as McDarcy in the BBC series of Pride and Prejdice, when Elizabeth Bennet and her Aunt and Uncle come upon his mansion and he’s swimming in the lake. It’s the first glimpse of the man behind his name. He’s caught off guard, there are no protective walls. It’s where both he and Elizabeth see each other as real people — and like what they see.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
Okay – this isn’t something I broadcast, but I’m really into my sci-fi television series – Believe, Continuum, The 100, Bitten, Lost Girl, Almost Human, Intelligence, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow – oh yes, the list goes on…
What’s next for you?
I write Paranormal Romance. ‘Daman’s Angel’ and ‘Paradise Island’ are both Paranormal Romances. I like writing them as I can really go wild with the characters and the background. I can create whole worlds where my characters live by different rules. Like the ideas of magic, phsycic talent and a good old ghost story.
I’m finishing off Book Two of a Paranormal Romance at the moment and will continue on with Book Three. I have a contemporary romance trilogy I’m finishing, as well as a thriller. Too many stories, so little time!
Describe yourself in one word:
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Having my first novel ‘Double Exposure’ published. (Apart from marrying my husband and having my two gorgeous children)
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
I’d like to trek through the tropical Balinese mountains. They are breathtaking. Not a lot of tourists there.
Favourite travel experience?
I backpacked around Britain when I was in my twenties – a life time ago now – I was in the middle of no-where in the Aisle of Skye in Scotland. I went for a walk along a Loch and met up two gents who were wildlife photographers (nothing untoward I promise). When it was time to leave the area, one of them actually drove me three hundred kilometres down to Glasgow and gave me a personalised tour of the most beautiful, rugged parts of Scotland! It was absolutely amazing!
Favourite fictional character:
Actually, I like Chris Pine and Captain Kirk!
- Milk or dark chocolate? All of the above.
- Red, white, bubbly? Red – aged with oak. Yum.
- Salty or sweet? Sweet.
- Beach or mountains? Mountains.
- Give or receive? Give.
- Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.
- Romance or erotica (for reading and/or writing)? Both.
- Dog or cat? Cat.
- Summer or winter? Summer.
- Star-gazing or storm-watching? Storm-watching.