Q&A With Author Fiona McArthur!

Today’s feature post is my Q&A with author Fiona McArthur! Fiona discusses her newest novel Heart Of The Sky which is available now! Welcome to Talking Books Blog Fiona! 😀


How many hours a day do you write?

The more consistent I write the easier it is to get the words – I only aim for 500 words and fionamcarthurthat seems to be the perfect brain stream length for me for a new scene. That can take one to two hours. I’m happy to get up after that and go to my day job. Closer to deadlines I spend a lot more time polishing, re-reading, expanding all those 500 word episodes until I get lost in the whole thing. But I still work as a midwife 28 hours a week so I can’t write then.

Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the cut in your latest novel?

Thank you. I laughed at this question. Can I! I had a wedding in THE HOMESTEAD GIRLS at the end and it had to be cut. So I tried to start HEART OF THE SKY with it. But it had to be cut. I loved that scene. Did you want to read it 🙂

What is the most difficult aspect of your artistic process?heartofthesky_fionamcarthur_penguinaus

Reminding myself that I can’t be too brief. Too staccato. That’s how my mind works and I need to slow my pace so other people can see the picture I can see.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

Apparently 160 days –(I kept a record of every day I wrote and how many words this time) So 160 spread over six months. If I’m a good girl. 🙂

What can readers expect next from your writing?redsandsunrise_fionamcarthur

After HEART OF THE SKY, I have Sienna’s story. She was the least mentioned sister in RED SAND SUNRISE. The city obstetrician who solves medical mysteries. That’s what I’m polishing at the moment and I’m seriously loving it. I hope everyone else does too.

Thanks for reading my book and letting me drop in to chat – I wish you all a 2017 filled with wonderful stories xx Fi


About Heart Of The Sky by Fiona McArthur

heartofthesky_fionamcarthur_penguinausA year after a tragic accident changed her life forever, Tess Daley is in desperate need of a change. When she is offered a position with the Flying Doctor Service, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start. Yet once she arrives in remote Mica Ridge she feels like an outsider, unable to connect with her patients and unsure if she’ll ever fit in with this outback community.

Station owner Soretta Byrnes has grown to love the company and chaos that comes with living in a house filled with boarders. So with tenants moving out and bills piling up, it’s a welcome relief to have Tess and new pilot Charlie Fennes arriving in town and looking for somewhere to stay.

As they share life’s triumphs and challenges, it isn’t long before everyone at the station feels like family. But Charlie has yet to reveal his motive for coming to Mica Ridge and his secret will change the life of someone in the house forever …

Heart Of The Sky is available now and is published by Penguin Random House Australia, RRP $32.99.

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House Australia  *  Booktopia  *  Angus & Robertson  *  iBooks  *  Amazon Australia  *  Google Play


Add to your reading list on


About Fiona McArthur

Fiona McArthur has worked as a rural midwife for many years. She is a clinical midwifery educator, a mentor to midwifery students and is involved with obstetric emergency education for midwives and doctors across Australia.

Fiona has been nominated for Romantic Book of The Year with Romance Writers of Australia and the US-based CataRomance Readers Award. She has sold over 2 million books, in twelve languages.

Fiona’s passion for rural fiction titles grew from her admiration of Australia’s outback pioneers, the community spirit within these towns and the medical staff who care for them.

She lives on an often swampy farm in northern New South Wales with her husband and any children and grandchildren who drop in.

Author Social Media Links

Website  *  Twitter  *  Facebook  *  Blog



Also By Fiona McArthur

aussiemidwives_fionamcarthur_penguinaus thehomesteadgirls redsandsunrise_fionamcarthur

633 total views, no views today

Q&A With Author Penelope Janu!

Today’s feature post is my Q&A with author Penelope Janu! InpenelopeJanu_author At The Deep End by author Penelope Janu is available now.  Welcome to Talking Books Blog Penelope!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to think of yourself as a writer even though you are only imagining your characters, and not actually writing anything down. But make sure that one day, when the time is right, you do actually write something down …

What research do you do when you are trying to brainstorm for writing a book?

inatthedeepend_penelopejanu_harlequinausI’d like to say a lot but … not terribly much. In the early stages of writing I think up my characters, and then I work out what they’re passionate about. I find a voice for the main character. Then I make sure the character has an interesting story to tell. That’s when the research kicks in!

Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the cut while writing In At The Deep End?

Good question! I wanted Harriet (outgoing) and Per (aloof) to dance together. But the scene was only sketched and didn’t quite fit in anywhere so I hit delete (sob!). However … in my next novel there is a dance scene between my characters early on, and it is crucial to the plot in so many ways. The scene very different to the one Harriet and Per would have had, but it’s a dance scene nonetheless!

What is the most difficult aspect of your artistic process?

I don’t plot my novels, so it is often difficult to assess ‘where I am going’ and ‘will I ever get there.’ Time is the other thing – I love writing and am so lucky that I now have the opportunity to write many days of the week.

But writing is also hard work and you have to dedicate time to it. A lot of time!

How many hours a day do you write?

I try to write for an hour early in the morning before the house wakes up. On the weekend I stretch this out to two hours. In the evening I try to write for another two hours. And whatever I can squeeze in during the day (at lunchtime if I’m at work, on public transport, wherever). It would probably be more efficient (and easier on my family) if I only wrote five days a week, but I don’t feel I get enough hours done that way. My characters clamour for attention seven days a week!

What can readers expect next from your writing?

My next novel is another lighthearted book, and the heroine has an interesting backstory, just like Harriet does. The novel is very much stand alone, but the hero is Per’s twin brother Tør, a Norwegian diplomat (he is a fantastic dancer, by the way).


About In At The Deep End by Penelope Janu

A quick-witted, contemporary romance about losing your cool.

inatthedeepend_penelopejanu_harlequinausWhat woman doesn’t love a real-life hero? Harriet Scott, for one. The fiercely independent daughter of famous adventurers, she grew up travelling the world on the environmental flagship The Watch. So when Harriet’s ship sinks in Antarctica and she has to be rescued by Commander Per Amundsen, an infuriatingly capable Norwegian naval officer and living breathing action hero, her world is turned upside down.

Like their namesakes, the original Scott and Amundsen who competed to reach the South Pole first, Per and Harriet have different ways of doing things. Per thinks Harriet is an accident waiting to happen; Harriet thinks Per is a control freak. But when Harriet realises that Per is the only one who can help her fund the new ship she desperately wants, she is forced to cooperate with him.

Per refuses to assist unless Harriet allows him to teach her to swim. But there is more to Harriet’s terrible fear of water than meets the eye. Can Harriet face her fears and come to terms with the trauma and loss of her past? And will she begin to appreciate that some risks are well worth taking—and that polar opposites can, in fact, attract?

Purchase Links

Harlequin Books Australia  *  Booktopia  *  Amazon Australia  *  iBooks



Add to your reading list on




Author Social Media Links

Website  *  Facebook

531 total views, 1 views today

Q&A With Author Joy Callaway, Author Of The Fifth Avenue Artists Society.

Today’s feature post is my Q&A with author Joy Callaway! Joy’s latest novel The Fifth Avenue Artist’s Society is available now and published by Allen & Unwin Australia RRP $29.99.

Welcome to Talking Books Blog Joy!

joycallaway_author_allenandunwinausCan you tell us a bit about your newest release The Fifth Avenue Artists Society.

The Fifth Avenue Artists Society is a book especially close to my heart as it’s based on the lives of my great-great grandmother and her artistic siblings living in the Gilded Age Bronx, New York, on the fringes of New York high society. It’s a story of secrets and family and love and history. Pitched as Edith Wharton-meets-Little Women, my main character, Ginny Loftin (my great-great aunt in real life), is an aspiring novelist caught between the boy next door and a mysterious author who inducts her into Manhattan’s most elite artistic salon. Glitter and glamour aside, the story is really about what it means to be both a woman and an artist, and sounds the emotional depths Ginny is willing explore to protect her art, her family, and her chance at love.

What was the most difficult scene to write in the story?

I can’t answer this question in depth, because that would spoil some things :), but there was a point in the story where I had to decide whether to remain true to a painful family rumor or alter it for the sake of a more comfortable scene. I ended up telling it as I’d heard thefifthavenueartistssociety_joycallaway_allenandunwinit. It was quite difficult.

Which character was the most challenging to write about?

All of the characters had their challenges. I wanted to portray the family as accurately as I could with the resources I had (letters, photos, documents, etc.), but my keepsakes didn’t necessarily tell me everything I needed to know about their daily lives or their personalities, so I had to guess as best I could from the tone and content in the letters. We know the least about Bess and Franklin, so they were the most challenging members of the family to write, and then outside of the family, I wanted to make sure that the fictional characters seemed just as realistic.

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been a creative person. As a child I loved to write plays and stories, but then I grew up and although I still loved writing, I sort of forgot about the creative side. I think a lot of people do that–sort of abandon what they loved as children for the sake of practicality. So, I wound up getting degrees in marketing and working in that field for a while, and then one summer, after reading about a zillion books on vacation, I wondered why I’d never tried writing a novel. The rest is history, I suppose! I never plan to stop. It’s my dream job.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on several projects right now, but my next novel is called Secret Sisters, a historical novel based on the founding of America’s first sororities.


About Joy Callaway

Joy Callaway’s love of storytelling is a direct result of her parents’ insistence that she read books or write stories instead of watching TV. Her interest in family history was fostered by her relatives’ habit of recounting tales of ancestors’ lives. Joy is a full-time mother and writer. She formerly served as a marketing director for a wealth management company. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations from Marshall University and an M.M.C. in Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She resides in Charlotte, NC with her husband, John, and her children, Alevia and John. THE FIFTH AVENUE ARTISTS SOCIETY is her first novel.

Author Social Media Links

Website * Twitter * Facebook


About The Fifth Avenue Artist’s Society by Joy Callaway

The Bronx, 1891. Virginia Loftin, the boldest of four artistic sisters in a family living in thefifthavenueartistssociety_joycallaway_allenandunwingenteel poverty, knows what she wants most: to become a celebrated novelist despite her gender, and to marry Charlie, the boy next door and her first love.

When Charlie instead proposes to a woman from a wealthy family, Ginny is devastated; shutting out her family, she holes up in her room and turns their story into fiction, obsessively rewriting a better ending. Though she works with newfound intensity, literary success eludes her-until she attends an elite salon hosted at her brother’s friend John Hopper’s Fifth Avenue mansion. Among painters, musicians, actors, and writers, Ginny returns to herself, even blooming under the handsome, enigmatic John’s increasingly romantic attentions.

But just as she and her siblings have become swept up in the society, Charlie throws himself back into her path, and Ginny learns that the salon’s bright lights may be obscuring some dark shadows. Torn between two worlds that aren’t quite as she’d imagined them, Ginny will realise how high the stakes are for her family, her writing, and her chance at love.

Purchase Links

Allen & Unwin Australia * Booktopia * iBooks * Amazon Australia


Add to your reading list on




Connect With Allen & Unwin Publishers

Website * Twitter * Facebook

462 total views, no views today

Q&A With Georgina Penney!

Happy new book release to author Georgina Penney! Today’s feature post is my Q&A with the author. The Barbershop Girl by Georgina Penney is available now and is published by Penguin Random House Australia RRP $32.99. Welcome To Talking Books Blog Georgina!

georginapenneyWhat was your hardest scene to write?

The end one! I think the end of a book is the most important. If it doesn’t feel satisfying, I always feel like I’ve left something half finished. Plus I wanted something really funny that cracked me up. Hopefully it will leave my readers with a smile too!


If you were not a writer, what would be your chosen profession?

Something based outside. I used to want to be a forester. After living here in Scotland for two years and meeting a couple of people in that profession, it looks like a great job, if not a challenging one! The one thing I find hard about writing is having to be in one place to write all the time. My husband will be the first one to tell you I’m not a natural sitter. I can’t even stay still long enough normally to watch a full movie without getting up and pottering around.


thebarbershopgirl_georginapenney_penguinrhausWhat is the first book that made you cry?

This is such a hard one to answer! Hmm, well, I read an awful lot as a kid and can’t really remember. Actually, I do know… the bible. I was raised rather religious and I’m sure I probably had a moment or two over the various deaths that appear in the bible stories I read as a kid!


What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

Can I write a huge list here? There are so many! I think the one I throw at people most, ordering them to “READ NOW” would be But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes by Anita Loos. She was the amazingly talented screenwriter who also wrote the novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (that was published a long time before the movie with Marilyn Monroe was made) and both books are hilarious and so incredibly sharp. I read both books a number of times while writing The Barbershop Girl and hope a little of Loos’ genius brushed off on me.


What research have you been known to do when you are trying to brainstorm for writing a book?

Does crazy travel count? I tend to try and go to the place the book is based. It’s the only way to really capture how a place looks, smells and feels. I really think it’s important to get the sensation of being in a place right.

I always talk to people doing the job my characters have. There’s nothing like getting first-hand stories. That was a lot of fun for The Barbershop Girl because hairdressers and barbers always have the best stories! Ben in The Barbershop Girl is the result of talking to a number of men in journalism over the years. I just took all the cheeky, naughty bits from them and their stories and amalgamated them into the one character.

In general though, I drink a lot of wine my characters drink (mandatory) and I like to make sure I’m tuned in to what my characters are feeling. If there’s a scene where a character is sad, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I was writing the scene while cry-eating chocolate at some stage!


What can readers expect next in your writing?

So many things. I’ve got a lot of projects on the go. I’m currently writing a fantasy novel with my lovely husband. And I have a number of other romances ready to go to the publishers. I’m also hoping to write Scott Watanabe’s story in the next year. He’s one of my absolute favourite characters and has proven quite slippery when it comes to getting him on the page.


About The Barbershop Girl by Georgina Penney

You don’t become a notorious British celebrity without rubbing a few people the wrong thebarbershopgirl_georginapenney_penguinrhausway, so writer and comedian Ben Martindale has decamped to Australia until the media frenzy surrounding his latest scandal dies down. When he meets Amy Blaine, a perky blonde barber who dresses like a 1950s pin-up girl, he knows he’s hit the comedy jackpot.

He begins to fill his weekly London column with snarky observations about her house, style, troubled family members and dramatic employees. It doesn’t occur to him that Amy, who is slowly letting her guard down for the first time in her adult life, might be just a little bit upset when she finds out …

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House Australia * Booktopia * Amazon Austraila * Kobo * Amazon US


Add to your reading list on



Author Social Media Links

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Connect With Penguin Random House Australia

Website * Twitter * Facebook

582 total views, no views today

Q&A With Author Victoria Purman!

Happy new release to author Victoria Purman! The Three Miss Allen’s is available now! victoriapurman_authorToday’s feature post is my Q&A with Victoria Purman and the author’s latest novel The Three Miss Allens is in the spotlight. Welcome to Talking Books Blog Victoria!


Can you tell us a bit about your newest release The Three Miss Allens.

“The Three Miss Allens” is a family saga about two generations of women, a seaside guest house and the discovery that someone has disappeared from the Allen family’s history. Part of the story is set in 1934, and part in 2016, and it compares the rights and freedoms of women today, in my three modern characters, with those of the three Miss Allens from 1934.

What was the most difficult scene to write in the story?

This is so tricky – the most difficult scene to write in the book was a pivotal moment near the end. And I can’t say any more because – spoilers! In general, I worked very hard to find the authenticity for those parts of the book set in 1934, which meant lots of research. At the beginning of the process of writing the book, I thought that might be difficult, but honestly, it was the most fun I’ve ever had writing a book – and I’ve written ten! In the name of research, I got to disappear for hours into old copies of The Australian Women’s Weekly to look at what women were wearing, what the social mores of the time were, popular foods and radio programs. Consulting old cookbooks was also fun, although some of the recipes should remain firmly back in time!

Which character was the most challenging to write about?

In think Ruby, who is the oldest of the Allen sisters and appears in the 1934 section of the story, was the hardest to write. I really had to understand the notion of independence for women of that era, and how they believed they had none. That was very difficult for a modern feminist like me. The sacrifices they made, and the things they gave up because they were women, made parts of the story especially heartbreaking for me to write.

What inspired you to become an author?

As a child and teenager, I always loved reading, and the dream grew that maybe one day I could write a book of my own. It took a few years, but that dream came true in 2013 and I haven’t stopped writing since.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m in the middle of writing my next book for Harlequin MIRA, and although I’m suspicious about giving too much away, it’s based on the experiences of hundreds of thousand of Australians who came to Australia as migrants in the post-war years. My mother and her family were just some of them and I’m having so much fun doing the research for this one. Expect to see it on the shelves in 2017.


About The Three Miss Allens by Victoria Purman

How much of who we are is destiny and how much chance?

In 1934, the three Miss Allens – Ruby, Adeline and Clara – arrive in the seaside town of thethreemissallens_victoriapurmanRemarkable Bay for their annual summer holiday. It’s the last time they’ll spend summers as a family. Adeline is engaged, Ruby is weighing up an offer, and Clara is just eighteen and about to start her life. But by summer’s end, the lives they have known will change irrevocably and a mysterious secret will tear the family apart.

Eighty-two years later, Ruby’s great-granddaughter Roma Harris moves to the now sleepy Remarkable Bay, retreating from tragedy. Roma’s distant cousin Addy arrives too, fleeing a life with too much drama. It’s only when the women discover an old guest book that they start asking questions about the mysterious third Miss Allen. Who was she? Why has she disappeared from the family’s history?
If they solve this mystery from their past, could it change the women’s futures?

The Three Miss Allens by Victoria Purman is published by Harlequin MIRA, RRP $29.99, available now.

Purchase Links

Harlequin Books Australia * Booktopia eBook * Amazon Australia * iBooks


Add to your reading list on



Author Social Media Links

Website * Twitter * Facebook


Connect With Harlequin Books Australia

Website * Twitter * Facebook