Q&A With Author Barbara Hannay!

Today’s Q&A post features author Barbara Hannay! Ms Hannay’s latest novel The Country Wedding is available now and is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

 

What was your hardest scene to write in The Country Wedding?

This would probably be the scene near the end of the novel where Flora makes an important decision that will impact the rest of her life. Until I reached that point, I still wasn’t sure what she was going to do. (grin)

Who was the most challenging character and why?

Writing about a classical musician brought challenges, because I don’t play a musical instrument. Luckily I have a daughter, Emma, who’s a violinist, so I was able to call on her for help.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I would teach writing and run writing retreats, no doubt here in our lovely hillside home, just has my husband and friends have often urged me to do.

What is the first book that made you cry?

I have the clearest memory of this. It was early on a Sunday morning and I was seven or eight years old, reading in bed before the rest of my family woke up, and I got to the scene in Seven Little Australians when Judy dies.
I was devastated. I ran to my parents’ room sobbing and they wondered what on earth had happened.
‘J-Judy’s d-dead,’ I sobbed.
They were quite worried until Mum, who had also read the book, twigged. They were so relieved to know I was just being soppy about a book.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

This is a very difficult question to answer as I know of many, many wonderful romance novels that aren’t recognised in the literary world in the way they deserve to be. I recently read Anne Gracie’s Marry in Haste, a fabulous regency-set romance that has done very well in America, but would not be widely known in Australia.

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

For The Country Wedding, I travelled to Shanghai. Even though the Shanghai sections aren’t huge, I found it really helpful to be able to walk the streets of the French Concession where my characters lived. We had a wonderful helpful guide who was happy to answer my hundreds of questions and she took us to a coffee shop (an unusual find in China where they mostly drink tea). The shop also sold secondhand books and I found a book in English that I’d been searching for all over the internet, so that was a double bonus.
I do spend a lot of time searching for the right reference books, especially for my historical research.

What can reader’s expect next from your writing?

I’ve given my work in progress an interim title of New Girl in Town. It’s set around a small country newspaper and returning readers will recognise Finn Latimer, the editor of The Burralea Bugle. Finn has a dark past, and the young city journalist who comes to work with him is trying to escape her own troubles. And there’s another secondary character readers will recognise from The Country Wedding who has gone missing.

 

About The Country Wedding by Barbara Hannay

Two country weddings, fifty years apart … and the miracle of second chances In the tiny Tablelands township of Burralea, Flora Drummond is preparing to play in a string quartet for the wedding of a very close friend. The trouble is, she can’t quite forget the embarrassing teenage crush she once had on the handsome groom.

All is as it should be on the big day. The little church is filled with flowers, the expectant guests are arriving, and Mitch is nervously waiting – but his bride has had a sudden change of heart.

Decades earlier, another wedding in the same church led to a similar story of betrayal and devastation. Hattie missed out on marrying her childhood sweetheart the first time around, but now she has returned to the scene of her greatest heartache.

As Flora is drawn into both romantic dramas, she must also confront a relationship crisis of her own. But the past and the present offer promise for the future and there’s a chance for friends, old and new, to help each other to heal.

From the rolling green hills of Far North Queensland to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this is a beautiful romantic saga that tells of two loves lost and found and asks the questions – do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

Purchase Links

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

 

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New Release! The Country Wedding by Barbara Hannay

Two country weddings, fifty years apart … and the miracle of second chances In the tiny Tablelands township of Burralea, Flora Drummond is preparing to play in a string quartet for the wedding of a very close friend. The trouble is, she can’t quite forget the embarrassing teenage crush she once had on the handsome groom.

All is as it should be on the big day. The little church is filled with flowers, the expectant guests are arriving, and Mitch is nervously waiting – but his bride has had a sudden change of heart.

Decades earlier, another wedding in the same church led to a similar story of betrayal and devastation. Hattie missed out on marrying her childhood sweetheart the first time around, but now she has returned to the scene of her greatest heartache.

As Flora is drawn into both romantic dramas, she must also confront a relationship crisis of her own. But the past and the present offer promise for the future and there’s a chance for friends, old and new, to help each other to heal.

From the rolling green hills of Far North Queensland to the crowded streets of Shanghai on the eve of the Second World War, this is a beautiful romantic saga that tells of two loves lost and found and asks the questions – do we ever get over our first love, and is it ever too late to make amends?

Purchase Links

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

 

Add to your reading list on

Goodreads

 

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Q&A With Author Kerry McGinnis!

Today’s feature Q&A post is with author Kerry McGinnis! Secrets Of The Springs by Ms McGinnis releases in paperback format on July 17, and is also available on Ebook. Secrets Of The Springs is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

What was the hardest scene to write?

I think the accident where Mark is trapped in the vehicle. I had trouble visualizing the inside of the cab and in the end got a box to represent the vehicle and tipped it on its side, then lay on the floor looking at it figuring out where everything was and what Orla would be able to see and reach. Sounds crazy but I’m not good with spatial stuff.

Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the finished story for Secrets Of The Springs?

I can’t think of a particular scene that was cut. There were lots of adjustments and rewrites and unnecessary bits deleted but they weren’t scenes. It is hard to remember after so many rereads and rewrites, but basically the story is pretty much as it came to me when I sat down to work it out.

What is the first book you read that made you cry?

A novel called There Is No Armour. Howard Springs wrote it, the title comes from a line of poetry: There is no armour against Fate. It’s about the futility and cost of war, not to nations or economies but to ordinary people, the ones who are never asked before their lives are given over to it. It was poignant and beautiful and unbearably sad (and I was about sixteen!) He wrote a lot of books, old Howard but that was the one I liked most and read least because of its powerful effect on me.

How many hours a day do you write?

It varies. I go by output rather than time. If the writing is difficult I stay at my desk until I’ve produced two pages. Otherwise I just write until the rest of life – household or garden matters, or social stuff, overtakes me. I greatly enjoy the creative process and feel no pressure to finish anything quickly. The enjoyment is in the creation of my fictional world, and I feel quite lost when I finish a work.

What can readers expect next from you writing?

My next book which, like Wildhorse Creek and Tracking North is set in the Gulf Country and revolves around the lives of the family that own the pub in a tiny railhead ghost town, where twenty odd years before the drovers brought their mobs to truck to the coastal meat-works. I have just finished it and am now casting around for another story to keep me writing.

About Secrets Of The Springs by Kerry McGinnis

When Orla Macrae receives a letter asking her to return to the family cattle property where she grew up, she does so grudgingly. Her estranged uncle Palmer may be dying, but he is the last person she wants to see, not when she’s made a new life far away from where she lost so much. But on his deathbed he utters a few enigmatic words about a secret locked away and a clue as to its whereabouts.

Intrigued, Orla decides to stay, reconnecting with old friends and taking a chance on a long-time dream of opening the homestead to tourists. Continuing the search for her uncle’s elusive secret, she discovers far more than she bargained for – a shocking truth about her parents’ marriage, and the confession of a chilling murder.

Set in the stunning countryside north of the Barrier Ranges near Broken Hill, this is an authentic tale of life on the land and a gripping mystery about old family secrets and finding love in the harsh Australian bush.

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House  *  Amazon Australia  *  iBooks Australia  *  Booktopia

 

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Q&A With Author Nicole Alexander!

Today’s feature Q&A post is with author Nicole Alexander. Ms Alexander’s newest novel An Uncommon Woman is available now and is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

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

For the last eight years I’ve been contracted to write a book a year. Fitting in my rural responsibilities  as well, means I actually only have about seven to eight months to write a book. I have weeks where I may only write for two days and others where I can do a lot more. A rule of thumb for me is to try and attempt at least 5,000 words a week. Some of that will undoubtedly be deleted, but consistency helps the narrative to flow.

Can you tell us a scene that did not make it into the final print for your latest novel An Uncommon Woman?

With An Uncommon Woman I actually added a chapter during the editing process to ensure clarity and to show a particular characters reaction to a major historical event. In the case of An Uncommon Woman, this was the October 1929 stock market crash in New York that impacted the western world at the time and eventually led to Australia’s Great Depression.

Have you read anything that has changed the way you view fiction novels?

D’Arcy Francis Niland was an Australian author who wrote prolifically during his lifetime. He is well-known for his classic novel The Shiralee, a best-selling book which has never been out of print since its first publication in 1955. The Shiralee captivates me. I’ve read it a number of times. A shiralee is a swag, a burden, and in D’Arcy Niland’s novel, the lead character, Macauley’s is Buster, his four year old daughter. The narrative illuminates the bush in all its beauty and roughness. The bush that I know through my own family’s tenure on the land. The simple arc of the narrative combines with a sense of time and place which you rarely see in works of rural literature today. The Shiralee is simply a wonderful bush yarn.

My second would be Gone With The Wind. This is a feisty woman, determined, opinionated and living life on her own terms. Her greatest love is the family plantation, Tara. History and strong female characters. What a combination. Unfortunately for Rhett, for most of the time Scarlett didn’t give a damn either.

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

To be patient. Writing is all about redrafting, redrafting, redrafting, ensuring the finished manuscript is the best it possibly can be.

What research do you do when you are brainstorming a story?

As all my works include Australia’s pastoral history, research is a major component of my work. Once I’ve decided on a time period and location I then read widely on the subject. Once I start writing I utilize archives from state libraries and where possible my own families records. It’s easy to become caught up in research so once I’ve begun the narrative I only look research particular things when the narrative calls for it.

What can readers expect next in your writing?

Something big and bold. Thank you for having me to visit. N x

 

About An Uncommon Woman by Nicole Alexander

A new world is waiting for her …

It’s 1929, and the world is changing. Cars are no longer the privilege of the rich. Hemlines are rising. Movies are talking. And more and more women are entering the workforce.

For Edwina Baker, however, life on her family’s farm in Western Queensland offers little opportunity to be anything other than daughter, sister and, perhaps soon, wife.

But Edwina wants more. She wants to see the world, meet new people, achieve things. For while she has more business sense than her younger brother, it will be Aiden who one day inherits the farm.

Then the circus comes to town. Banned from attending by her father, Hamilton, Edwina defiantly rides to the showground dressed as a boy. There she encounters two men who will both inadvertently alter the course of her life: pastoralist Mason with his modern city friends; and Will, a labourer who also dreams of escape.

And when the night ends in near-disaster, this one act of rebellion strikes at the heart of the Baker family. Yet it also offers Edwina the rare chance to prove herself in a man’s world. The question is, how far is she prepared to go, and how much is she prepared to risk?

 

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House  *  iBooks  *  Booktopia  *  Amazon Australia

 

 

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Q&A With Author Janette Paul!

Welcome today’s Q&A post featuring author Janette Paul. Ms Paul’s newest novel Amber And Alice is available now and is published by Penguin Random House, RRP $32.99.

 

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

Just start writing. Don’t think about your stories, write them down. They’re not silly and getting published isn’t a pipedream. You can – and will – get there!

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

The brainstorming part that comes before I start writing a new book is a kind of dreamy, kind of thought-filled process of moving ideas around in my head. I don’t do much focused research until I’ve worked out what I want to write about. Once I’m there, I start to collect ideas that I think will fit with each other. Sometimes I’ll jot down a thought or put aside an article I’ve read, but mostly it happens in my head. And yes, it gets a little crowded in there but it just doesn’t work for me on paper or a screen. The actual research – Googling, reading, asking and answering specific questions – doesn’t start until I’m ready to write. And most of that is done when I need to know something for the scene I’m writing. I’m a pantser, I don’t like to get ahead of myself or a story, and I find if I do a lot of research too early, my muse starts to panic about getting the facts right.

Can you tell us a scene that didn’t make the cut while writing Amber and Alice?

There was a lot that didn’t make it into the final version of Amber and Alice! I wrote the original version more than ten years ago. It was the first novel I finished and I thought it was great but it went nowhere so I tucked it away and wrote something else. Then a couple of years ago, with six novels under my belt (five thrillers writing as Jaye Ford and my first Janette Paul rom-com Just Breathe), I pulled the old manuscript out again, read the first couple of chapters and realised it was awful! But I remembered the trip I took into Central Australia that had inspired the story and I decided to rewrite it. What got chucked out? Terrible characters, themes that didn’t work, boring dialogue, bad jokes. Most of the scenes, in some way or another remained – worked over, reworded and injected with something fresh and funny. And the book on the shelves isn’t much different from the manuscript I handed over to my publisher.

What is the most difficult aspect of your artistic process?

The deadline. It tends to hold down my muse when it needs to be up and roaming around. I find writing is so often a balancing act between freeing up my creativity to find the joy in a story, and getting enough words down to hold off the panic that I won’t meet the deadline. I never know how many words it’s going to take to finish a story or how many months I’ll need to write it. Consequently, I’m always trying to stay ahead of my word count and telling myself not to panic through the weeks when the story isn’t playing well. Probably not surprising that I love editing.

How many hours a day do you write?

Writing is my job and I like to keep business hours. Usually, I start around 9am, work through the morning, take a lunch break, then work through the afternoon. It works out at somewhere between five to eight hours most days, five days a week. I’m my own boss, which is good and bad. I get time off to do other stuff but I’m also a bit of a slave driver (see answer above!) and have to remind myself to take a break.

What can readers expect next from your writing?

I’m working on another rom-com at the moment, a quirky story about a woman who loves rain, a town that believes she’s the reason for their claim to fame as the wettest place in Australia, and a man who gets stranded there and thinks they’re all nuts.

 

About Amber And Alice by Janette Paul

When Amber Jones wakes up in her sister Sage’s speeding car, with no idea how she got there (though the hangover is a clue), all she wants to do is go home. But Sage is convinced a road trip to Alice Springs will finally answer the burning question: who is Amber’s father? Because nine months before Amber’s birth, her late mother Goldie made the same trip . . .

Armed with just a name and Goldie’s diaries, Amber agrees to search for a man she’s never met in one of the world’s biggest deserts.

And that means spending two weeks in a convoy of four-wheel-driving tourists and camping in freezing desert nights. To make matters worse, her fellow travellers hate her and the handsome tour leader Tom thinks she’s an alcoholic.

But slowly the desert starts to reveal its secrets – and Amber must decide which horizon to follow . . .

Purchase Links

Penguin Random House Australia  *  Booktopia  *  Amazon Australia  *  Google Play

 

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