AUSSIE MONTH with Sandra Antonelli
Describe yourself in one word:
Tell us about yourself:
Hi I’m Sandra. I write romantic leads who are ‘mature’, meaning they are over forty and not dead from the waist down. My novels Driving in Neutral, For Your Eyes Only and A Basic Renovation, are all smartassed tales of finding love later in life (and in the case of A Basic Renovation, sometimes even much, much later in life) and getting it on.
What inspired this novel?
The inspiration for all my novels stems from a love of rom-coms, thrillers, my worship of witty banter in Screwball comedies from the 40s, and my annoyance that there are, still, so few women over 40 portrayed as heroines and protagonists in novels and films. It’s time to stop talking about it and do something more than a token middle-aged female character (yes, I’m looking at you, SPECTRE). If I want to change the landscape to reflect society, as romance fiction so often does, I have to write that story, particularly in the romance genre, which is so often considered ‘a younger woman’s tale.’ Mature women deserve to be lead characters, not secondary characters, or stereotypes of age. Rather than as caricatures, positive models of mature women need to presented, in the realistic ways they exist, but since so few positive models are shown, there persists a belief is that no one is interested in seeing mature-aged women in anything but the usual stereotypes (cougar, granny, mother, crazy old cat lady), since there are so few positive models showing otherwise. It’s a vicious circle that needs to end. My books break out of the circle. ARE YOU LISTENING, HOLLYWOOD?
What are you reading right now?
Stiff by Mary Roach. No, kids, it’s not about sexy times. It’s about the secret life of cadavers—and it’s fascinating and quite amusing.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list?
I don’t have a bucket list. I just do stuff I want to do.
Best thing about being an Aussie?
I never have to shovel snow.
What you want readers to know about the romance genre?
Romance is all about choice. There is something for every taste. From sweet first kiss to scorching the sheets, from light-hearted to deeply emotional, from gritty to fantastical, from Historical to Dystopian, romance has it all.
What have you got in store for your readers in 2016?
Gee, well, I’ve sent off Next to You to my Editor. Next to You is my attempt at a modern Gothic-ish drama-comedy (didn’ t they used to call them dramedies?). It’s a smartassed tale of an Albino man and his recently institutionalised new next-door neighbour. I have a thing for writing smartasses. My tag line? Will wants uncomplicated. Caroline wants normal. Looks are deceiving. Assumptions are misleading. Grabbing life by the balls can get tricky—love can be so lethally complicated.
However, at the moment, I’m post-beta reader editing a quirky smartarsed (yes, the ares is deliberate) romantic thriller tentatively titled At Your Service. It’s a tale about a butler, her boss, her dead husband, a trust fund, and a toilet brush. Think Janet Evanovich meets James Bond and Jane Eyre. So my long-winded answer: I am waiting to see if my Editor likes Next to You. I’ll also be shopping around At Your Service. Meanwhile, if you’re after a little mature smartassed, sexy, quirky romance there’s A Basic Renovation, For Your Eyes Only, and Driving in Neutral
What were your big achievements of 2015?
Managing to eat four cherry pies and four blueberry pies in three weeks and coming to terms with the loss of my my little companion Budman.
Driving in Neutral
Levelheaded Olivia Regen walks away from her car-racing career and the wreckage of a bad marriage to take on new work that’s far removed from the twists of racetrack. Her new life is about control, calm and the good friends that she adores.
But her first task on her very first day involves getting up close and too personal with her claustrophobic boss, alone in a broken elevator. Her unconventional solution for restoring his equilibrium shocks them both and leaves Olivia shaken.
Determined to stick to her plan, Olivia drives headlong into work and planning her best friend’s wedding, leaving no room for kissing, elevators, or workplace relationships. But Emerson is not one to be out-manoeuvred. Can he convince Olivia that her fear of falling in love again is just another kind of claustrophobia – one that is destined to leave them both lonely?
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