AUSSIE MONTH with Rowena Holloway
Describe yourself in one word:
Late! I’m always trying to fit too much in and underestimate the necessary time. J
Tell us about All That’s Left Unsaid:
Well, I love to write about fractured families and killer secrets. My favourite novel (so far) is All That’s Left Unsaid, partly because it’s set in Positano, Italy, a place made for romance and intrigue, and partly because it has been such a labour of love—it took me ten years of writing and rewriting to make it the story I knew it could be. Essentially it’s about love and death and the secrets that shape us. When Harriet Taylor learns her mother once lived in Italy, a secret kept for thirty years, she accepts the challenge to determine if the remains known only has the Positano Skeleton belong to her mother’s long lost friend. Yet how can she probe old secrets when she doesn’t speak the language and no one wants to talk to a foreigner about the skeleton or the past? Then a homeless man hands her a photograph and she must decide how much she will risk to discover the truth. Because a mother’s silence can be deadly.
What inspired this novel?
All That’s Left Unsaid is as much about the love between and mother and a daughter as it is about romantic love. So it’s probably no surprise to anyone that some of my mother’s past inspired this story. As a young woman my mother lived in Tripoli acting as nanny to a wealthy family and while there made friends with a woman named Jacquie. Over the years they lost touch but one of my most persistent memories is of mum sighing and saying, ‘I wish I knew what happened to my friend Jacquie.’ Many years later I took that idea, twisted it into something dark and menacing, tossed in a delicious Italian love interest and All That’s Left Unsaid was born.
What are you reading right now?
Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg and The Chosen by Kristina Ohlsson
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
You know, I don’t have a bucket list… I wouldn’t mind backpacking through Europe again, maybe with a better class of accommodation! Or maybe a yacht around the Greek Isles might be better.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
Sunshine and sandy beaches. We lived in the UK for a year when I was a teenager and those were what I missed most of all—yes, more so than my friends!
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
Romance is for everyone—whether it’s light and flirty, sexy to erotic, dark and suspenseful romance gives us insight into life and character. We can escape for a few hours and come back refreshed with a new view of the world around us and restored by the Happy Ever After.
What have you got in store for your readers in 2016?
For a while now I’ve had an idea for a series and I really hope to get that underway in 2016 (although see my answer to question one …). My third novel, Ashes to Ashes, is another contemporary suspense due April 2016. It is set in London’s Fleet Street and like my previous two books explores relationships and secrets in a pacey and suspenseful way. Ex-pat Aussie Charlotte Ashe is sick of being the weather girl/travel reporter for her London television station and outing a corrupt developer is the perfect opportunity to prove her worth. Then she finds Allie, her informant and best friend, murdered. Certain she knows who did it and why, Charlotte sets out to find justice for her friend. But she hasn’t reckoned on her powerful attraction to the corrupt developer or the dark secret that will put both their lives in danger. Exposing the truth behind Allie’s death may cost Charlotte much more than her career.
What were your big achievements of 2015?
- After all that polishing it was great to see All That’s Left Unsaid out in the world.
- Faced down my fear of technology and built my own website, continuing education about internet marketing and effective social media, and I’m currently playing around with graphics packages and learning about design.
- Formed a partnership with my friend and fellow romantic suspense writer Sandy Vaile—As the Suspense Sisters we’ve been doing book tours and are preparing workshops, one of which we hope to deliver at RWA2016. It’s great to share these experiences with Sandy.
- Interviewed some absolutely awesome writers for my Writer’s Block blog, including Jenn J McLeod, Posey Graeme Evans and Jaye Ford, just to name a few.
- Finally convinced my partner that three walls of bookshelves is absolutely essential to my wellbeing!
- And of course I had a brilliant time at the RWA in Melbourne with all those dynamic women (and men) who love writing and romance.
All That’s Left Unsaid
In the dark chasm of Italy’s past, some things are best left buried.
“All my life, I waited for my mother’s affection. Now I must compete with a dead woman.”
A mother’s secret: Intrigued to learn her mother once lived in Italy, a secret she has kept for thirty years, Harriet (Harrie) Taylor accepts the challenge to determine if the remains knowns only as the Positano Skeleton belong to her mother’s long lost friend. It’s as good an excuse as any to escape Australia and the stench of career failure. And succeeding just might prove her worth—as a journalist and a daughter.
An Italian odyssey: Harrie finds beautiful Positano isn’t quite the sun-soaked paradise of the holiday brochures. No one wants to talk to a foreigner about the skeleton or the past, least of all the local commissario who has fresher bodies to worry about. How can she probe old secrets when she doesn’t speak the language and no one wants to talk to a foreigner about the skeleton or the past? Then a homeless man hands her a photograph and she must decide how much she will risk to discover the truth—because a mother’s silence can be deadly.
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