Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Blitz: Maybe This Time by Claire Yezbak Fadden

About the Book
Architect Kate Jameson has sworn off men. That is until she meets Eric, the handsome son of her current client. Fresh out of a messy relationship with a co-worker, Kate’s not ready to trust her judgement where men are concerned. She dodges Eric’s advances, but can’t deny the attraction growing between them. Everything–especially his soul-searing brown eyes–makes her want to throw caution to the wind and try again. At her sister’s prodding, Kate finally agrees to date Eric, surprised at the joy he brings into her life. But when their budding romance is threatened, Kate is forced to make hard decisions and fight for her true happiness.
Undercover CIA agent Eric Wiley has survived enough loss in his life to ever want to risk being hurt again. He has long since given up on true love. Still, he’s drawn to Kate in a way he can’t rationalize. Avoiding her isn’t working and for the first time in a relationship, he wants to be truthful about his past and his career. Before their romance can bloom, however, Kate goes missing. Recognizing the danger, Eric stops at nothing to rescue the woman who has captured his heart.

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY FREE! 


About the Author
When she’s not playing with her granddaughter, Pennsylvania native Claire Yezbak Fadden is writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her books feature strong women who overcome life’s challenges, always putting their families first. Claire loves butterflies, ladybugs and holds a special affinity for carousel horses – quite possibly the result of watching “Mary Poppins” 13 times as a young girl.
Claire loves to cheer on the San Diego State Aztecs, her alma mater, and is a big fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The mother of three, she lives in Orange County, California with her husband, Nick and two spoiled dogs, Bandit and Jersey Girl. Claire’s work as an award-winning journalist, humor columnist and editor has appeared in 100 publications across the United States, Canada and Australia.
Maybe This Time is a continuation of her Begin Again series, starting with her debut novel, A Corner of Her Heart.
 Follow Claire @claireflaire, email her at claire@clairefadden.com, join her Facebook Fan Page or visit her at clairefadden.com.

 Participating Blogs




EXCERPT

 Kate walked faster, but Colleen stopped. “There’s a guy back there waving at you. Kinda nice looking. Now he’s coming our way.” Colleen smiled as though inviting him to come closer.
“Don’t encourage him,” Kate said.
“Too late. Here he is.” Colleen made a sweeping motion as though she were a hostess on a game show introducing today’s prizes.
Oh God, his eyes are browner than I remember.
“Kate, I’m glad I caught you,” Eric said. “Sorry I missed you on the phone. I got back into town early.”
“I see that,” Kate muttered, her icy tone coating each word. Not going through this drama again. Crazy guy. Multiple girlfriends. Bad endings.
“I’m Eric Wiley,” he said, offering his hand for Colleen to shake before returning his attention to Kate.
“So maybe we can set up that coffee date. There’s a great little place a couple of doors down.”
“I know. Colleen and I just had coffee there.”
“And scones,” Colleen chimed in, handing Kate her bag of leftovers. “I’ve got to get going. I have class in thirty minutes.”
“Teacher or student?” Eric asked.
“Yoga instructor.”
“Nice. Maybe I can take your class sometime. It’s not that sweaty yoga, is it?”
“No, it’s more of a flow class. Kate can tell you all about it.” Colleen tapped Kate on the shoulder. “I’ll see you later,” she said before scurrying toward the yoga studio.
“I like your friend,” Eric said gesturing to Colleen’s back.
“She’s pretty terrific. We met in her class. Used to be a cop.” Kate wanted to run away, but her feet grounded into the earth as though an alien force rooted them in place. All the small talk didn’t comfort her. Minutes before this guy was kissing another woman, and now he was flirting with her. Was there no end to his nerve?
“Now that’s really switching career paths,” Eric said. “I consider doing that sometimes.”
“And leave the family business for what? I don’t see that happening.” You’re such a privileged mama’s boy, Kate wanted to say, but didn’t. Truth was during their earlier interactions, Eric didn’t strike her as someone who life had been easy on. It was obvious his parents leaned on his judgment. Eric presented himself as a self-made man, working for what success came his way. Still, he was hiding something she couldn’t quite put her finger on.
Granted with business-owner parents, his path may have been smoother than many. Even if your folks set you up, you’re the one who has to walk that path. Kate knew lots of privileged folks who took the benefits they were born into and managed to drink, gamble or in some other way squander their advantage, as though opportunity was an all-you-can-eat buffet. Made a bad choice, no problem. Just get a clean plate and try again. The sports pages and movie magazines were filled with celebrity examples. A couple of Kate’s sorority sisters were still trying to find themselves. That’s what they claimed at the last reunion.
“You’d be surprised. I can tell you more about my future plans over a hot mocha.”
Kate readjusted her purse strap and leaned away. “Thanks for the invite, but I need to get to work. We’re already brainstorming the next complex. Proposal is due in two weeks.”
“Yeah, I know. We talked about your innovative ideas. I thought they were great. You’re great.” Eric licked his lips and stepped closer. “Seems to me like we connected, at least a little bit, but if you’re not interested, just say so. You don’t have to go through not answering my calls and giving me the brush off. Just be honest. It will save us both a lot of time.”
Kate shoved her paper pastry bag in her coat pocket and crossed her arms. “Honesty? Is that the most important value to you, because I believe in always telling the truth. I always tell the truth.”
“And you’re suggesting I don't?” Eric’s nostrils flared with anger, causing Kate to step back. “We are standing in the street arguing about I don’t know what. Do you want to have a cup of coffee with me or not? It’s just that simple.”
“Not until you answer a question first.” Kate straightened to her full five-foot-six height. “Who were you kissing a moment ago?”
“Kissing? What are you talking about?”
“Near the cab. The woman who kissed you. Who is she? You’re an only child, so I know that wasn’t your sister. A cousin, maybe?” Kate huffed.
Eric’s eyes widened.
Is this how he stalls for time, cooking up a lie, Kate thought. This should be really good. She waited, even tapped the toe of her boot a time or two. “Well?”
“Like I said on my call, business ended early. I grabbed a cab with a coworker. End of story.”

“Not quite. Here comes your coworker, and she looks ticked.”


Monday, June 26, 2017

Virtual Tour: Modern Love by Beau North

About the Book

"Love at first sight wasn't meant for millennials," thinks Alice Aberdeen: art student, recovering addict, David Bowie enthusiast. Alice is among the recently dumped and only wants to keep her nose to the grindstone until she finishes her degree. Her sister has other ideas and sets her up with new-in-town Will Murphy--tall, dark, and aloof. To say it wasn't an instant attraction is an understatement: He finds her abrasive, with her sharp tongue and don't-screw-with-me attitude. She thinks he's excessively reserved, too damn serious. But the more time Alice spends with Will, the more their slow burn begins to thaw her heart. A man of two worlds, half-Irish, half-Indian, Will feels at home with Alice. He soon realizes her tough shell is hiding extensive scar tissue--from her addiction and recovery to her spectacularly bad ex-girlfriend to the loss of her mother. Modern Love isn't a story about love at first sight but learning to love yourself before being able to see the one you love.

Tour Schedule

July 10 – Brianna Remus Books – Review
July 11 – Chick Lit Goddess – Guest Post & Excerpt
July 11 – Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt
July 12 – Living Life With Joy – Review &  Guest Post 
July 13 – SNS Promotions and Reviews – Excerpt
July 17 – Jersey Girl BookReviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
July 17 – Chick Lit Plus – Review


About the Author

Beau North is a native southerner who now calls Portland, Oregon home with her husband and two cats. She attended the University of South Carolina where she began a lifelong obsession with English Literature. In her spare time, Beau is the brains behind Rhymes With Nerdy, an internet collective focused on pop culture.


Twitter: @BeauNorth






Thursday, May 25, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Dear Banjo by Sasha Wasley

About the Book

They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.
Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighbouring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget. Now ten years have passed since she’s even spoken to Tom.
When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Paterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it too late, and all too complicated, to make amends?
Tom’s heartfelt, decade-old letters remain unopened and unmentioned between them, and Willow must find the courage to finally read them. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.
Dear Banjo is a wildly romantic and utterly captivating story about first love and second chances from an exciting new Australian author.

Participating Blogs



Dear Banjo is now available worldwide in paperback and e-book editions. Some purchase links are below or search your favourite outlet.
·         Booktopia (Aus & NZ, $6.95 postage) - http://www.booktopia.com.au/dear-banjo-sasha-wasley/prod9780143784524.html
·         Book Depository (international, free postage) - https://www.bookdepository.com/Dear-Banjo-Sash-Wasley/9780143784524
·         Amazon Kindle - https://www.amazon.com/d/B06XKGW9YT/


Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.
She has completed a PhD in cultural theory and loves nature, Jane Austen and puns.
Sasha is a farming wannabe, with a passion for animals and the land. Although she’s in her forties now, she still wants a pony.
Her debut novel, a young adult paranormal, was published in 2014. Today, she lives and writes in the Swan Valley wine region with her partner and two daughters, surrounded by dogs, cats and chickens.
Sasha writes mystery, paranormal and young adult novels as S.D. Wasley. 

Follow Sasha

·         Website: https://sashawasley.com/books/
·         FB Author Page URL: http://www.facebook.com/sdwasley
·         Twitter URL: http://www.twitter.com/sdwasleyauthor
·         Instagram: https://instagram.com/sdwasley_author/

International Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Dear Banjo, Sasha is giving away some super-cute cattle-related prizes, including an udderley adorable mug and an adult colouring book all about cows.

Excerpt from Chapter 1

Somehow she managed to pack up the entire apartment overnight. On the way to the airport the next morning, Willow got the taxi driver to drop in at Tanya’s place. Her friend was still in her pyjamas when Willow gave her the keys to her apartment and a couple of hundred dollars. Tanya tried to refuse the money but Willow pushed it into her hand.
‘No, Tan, I’ve booked professional cleaners and I need you to pay them for me. Keep whatever’s left over as a thanks. And could you possibly go in and get rid of the boxes I’ve left behind? You can have anything from them or just donate it all to charity. And then if you could just drop the keys off to the real estate agent, I’ll be grateful forever.’
Tanya nodded and her eyes went a little glassy. ‘You’re really going, aren’t you? For good, I mean.’
‘Yeah. Going home at last. I can’t believe I stayed in the city this long.’
Tears spilled down Tanya’s cheeks. ‘I’m going to miss you.’
‘Oh, Tan. You should come visit.’ Willow hugged her. ‘I’ll stay in touch.’
‘It’s not the same,’ Tanya sobbed.
‘I’ll call you in a couple of days, okay?’
Tanya nodded and gave her another tearful hug before letting Willow leave.
Jeez, Willow thought as she ran back to the taxi. Shows of emotion had never been her thing. Okay, she was moving a couple of thousand kilometres away, and she’d miss seeing Tanya at work, but surely it wasn’t worth crying over.
A memory of her sessions with a psychologist surfaced. Willow, you tend to hold people at arm’s length. Why don’t you try letting people in a little more? Willow snapped her attention back to the present, logging into the power company’s website on her phone to cancel her account.
She checked in for her flight and paid an exorbitant amount for her excess baggage before watching it glide away on the conveyer belt – the sum total of her adult life in two large suitcases. No, she remembered. 3700 square kilometres, 6500 head of cattle, a ground­breaking, humane, organic beef operation. That would be the sum total of her adult life.
She settled into her seat and thanked the heavens she’d been placed next to a young fly-in-fly-out type, probably contracted to the Herne River catchment project. He was already plugged into his tablet and watching a show involving zombies, so she wouldn’t have to talk to anyone during the flight. She wanted to write a to-do list. As soon as they were in the air she reached into her bag for a note­pad and her hand met something unfamiliar. Not her notepad.
Tom’s letters.
Willow considered them, her heart rate bumping up all over again. Wouldn’t it almost be an invasion of Tom’s privacy to read them now, so long after he’d intended her to? Maybe those sleeping dogs should just be left to lie?
Yes, she would bin them all – drop them into the roving rubbish bag the next time the steward came around.
But she would be living next door to the Forrests again once she got home. By now, Tom would soon be taking over Quintilla, just as she was about to do with Paterson Downs. Their families were as close as ever. She’d need to resume some kind of relationship with Tom Forrest, no matter how difficult the initial patching up phase would be.
Maybe she could use this three-hour flight from Perth to Mount Clair to read all of Tom’s letters at last. She hadn’t even given the poor guy a chance after looking at the first couple. She’d been so absorbed in her own pain; grappling with the panic she felt every time she thought about what he’d done. Perhaps there had been an apology in one of those letters – an apology she should have acknowledged by now. A retraction of that awful moment when he’d said those words . . .
Tom’s handwriting was scrawled across the front of the topmost envelope – always familiar, no matter how long it had been. Willow took a shaky breath. Seven-thirty in the morning was a little early for a stiff drink, so she requested a coffee and pulled out the first two letters; the ones she’d opened and read ten years earlier.

Dear Banjo,
Happy New Year. I guess you’re settled in at the student hall by now. You sure went early. The other kids who got in aren’t leaving until February. I don’t know where you’re staying so I asked Beth to send this on to you. You might have heard I’m probably not going to take up my offer of a place at uni. I’m thinking I’ll defer my course – for now, anyway. Dad’s not fazed. He won’t have to hire extra help this way, not to mention the savings on the tuition fees. Mum’s not overly happy but I keep telling her it’s only for the year. She asks a lot of questions. Not really sure what else to say to you, Banjo. It’s weird without you. Whenever I’m on the quad I turn towards Patersons before I remember you’re not there any more. I keep thinking I’ll see you at the eastern gate, sitting on Rusty, ready for a fenceline race. You knew I’d always beat you but you’d have a go anyway. So, yep. Really weird. You’ve always just been there. I guess it doesn’t quite compute yet. Take care of yourself in the big city, okay?
Tom
P.S. We should probably try to sort this mess out.










Thursday, May 11, 2017

Release Day Blitz: The Brothers of Brigadier Station by Sarah Williams

About the Book

She came to the outback to marry the love of her life. She just didn't expect him to be her fiancé's younger brother.

When Meghan Flanagan, a vet-nurse from Townsville, moves to Brigadier Station in outback Queensland to marry the man of her dreams, she is shocked to discover that perhaps her fiancé isn't the man she wants waiting for her at the altar. The man she's destined to marry, just might be his younger brother.

Cautious of women after a disastrous past relationship, Darcy is happy living on his beloved cattle station, spending his spare time riding horses, going to rodeos and campdrafting. He didn't expect the perfect woman to show up on his doorstep. Engaged to his brother.

With the wedding only hours away, Meghan must make the decision of a lifetime. But, her betrayal could tear the family apart. She knows all too well the pain of losing loved ones and being alone.

Now that she has the family she so desperately wants; will she risk losing it all?

Set in the drought stricken plains of Julia Creek, North Queensland and the coastal city of Townsville this is a rural romance that will leave you asking: Will she marry the right man, for the right reasons?

The Brothers of Brigadier Station is the first in the Brigadier Station series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Sarah's stories are linked so you can find out what happens to the other brothers and your favourite characters in future books.

Participating Blogs:


About the Author

Sarah Williams spent her childhood chasing sheep, riding horses and picking Kiwi fruit on the family orchard in rural New Zealand. After a decade travelling, Sarah moved to tropical North Queensland to enjoy the heat and humidity and play with Crocodiles. 

When she's not absorbed in her fictional writing world, Sarah is running after her family of four kids, one husband, two dogs and a cat. She helps to run the local writers centre and supports her peers achieve their publishing dreams.

Sarah is regularly checking social media when she really should be cleaning. 
Buy the Book: http://amzn.to/2r05EI5




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Blitz: Are You There Krishna? By Rachel Khona

About the Book

Rachel knew even as a young child that she wasn’t like the rest of her Indian family. While her parents were plotting how she could make it into med school with her mediocre grades in chemistry and biology, she had other things on her mind, including such gems as:

· Why can’t she go to the temple on her period?
· Why don’t her Indian cousins like her?
· Why was it OK to be sexualized at a beauty pageant but not for herself?
· How can she straddle two cultures while retaining her sense of self?
· Why are women considered sluts and men considered studs?
· Why do people keep asking her if she was born in India?
· Should she wax down there?
· Why does she have crazy eyes?

After leaving home, Rachel got high in Amsterdam, met her pop singer idol in a bathroom, argued with a ghost, and got lost in the Pyrenees. But that didn’t stop her from questioning while men still tell her to smile. 'Are You There Krishna? It’s Me, Reshma. Or Rachel. Or Whatever.' weaves stories of Rachel’s life with observations on race, class, sex, feminism, and culture with humor and candor.

Tour Schedule

April 17 – Karan Eleni – Excerpt
April 18 – BookLove – Review
April 18 – Cafinated Reads – Review
April 19 – T’s Stuff – Interview & Excerpt
April 19 – Chick Lit Plus – Review
April 20 – Living Life With Joy – Q&A
April 21 – Books Dreams Life – Interview & Excerpt
April 24 – Chick Lit Goddess – Excerpt 


Author Bio


Once upon a time in an exotic land called New Jersey, Rachel used to dream of one day playing tambourine in an all-girl rock band. That never happened.
Instead she became a writer. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim, and Cosmopolitan among others.
When she’s not writing or designing, she is busy drinking wine and singing off key, bike riding, pretending she’s friends with Mindy Kaling and Amy Poehler, eating absurd amounts of cheese, or listening to rock music at an appallingly loud volume. Sometimes all at once.

Check out her book at bit.ly/areyoutherekrishnabook 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Release Day Blitz: The First Year by Genevieve Gannon

About the Book

The first year of marriage is hard no matter what. Throw in jealous exes, high-pressure careers and two wildly different families, and the degree of difficulty goes up a few more notches. Determined to beat the odds, one couple comes up with a plan to keep their romance alive - but life has other ideas.
Saskia is an up-and-coming jewellery designer, waiting tables at a trendy cafe to keep her fledgling company afloat. Andrew is a corporate lawyer who wants to be known for more than his family's money. They're passionate about their work and each other, but with Andy's job in jeopardy and Saskia's jewellery label taking off, the pressure is taking its toll.
As life pulls them in different directions, the two of them are forced to decide: Just how important is their marriage? And how hard are they willing to work to protect it?

'Genevieve Gannon writes with a fresh and funny narrative voice ... chick lit at its very, very best' Tess Woods, author of Love at First Flight


'A clever and entertaining read-into-the-wee-hours-of-morning story about love, creativity and the things that make us tick. Genevieve Gannon writes with passion and wit in a story you'll relate to whether you've struggled through love, art or the wrath of public transport ticket inspectors.' Claire Varley, author of The Bit in Between

Bio

Genevieve Gannon is an Australian journalist and author. She has worked in newsrooms in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in The Age, The Australian, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, among others. Most recently she covered crime in Melbourne for Australian Associated Press before moving to Sydney to be a feature writer for The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Her favourite books are We Need To Talk About Kevin, Middlesex, Atonement, Prep and One Day. She likes Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and wasabi (not together) and hates mangoes.
Her first book, Husband Hunters, was published in 2014. The First Year is her third novel.
Twitter: @gen_gannon
Instagram: @gen_gannon

 Buy the Book!

Buy links

Participating Blogs




Questions:

What is your new novel about?
The First Year is a novel about a newly-in-love couple who got married way too fast. Andy Colbrook is a high-flying lawyer with a snobby family and Saskia Hill is a bolshy jewellery designer whose father has done several stints in jail. On their honeymoon, Andy offers to support Saskia so she can quit her day job at a café and devote herself wholly to her art. But Saskia’s fledgling business is only just recovering from the financial blow it suffered when her ex-fiance cheated on her then ditched her with the bill for the wedding, and she is uncomfortable being reliant on her new husband. Tensions begin to emerge. Things are exacerbated when Andy discovers his law firm is in financial trouble. Despite their best efforts to keep the flame alive their marriage begins to suffer. Then Saskia makes a discovery that blows her world apart. 

What inspired the book?
This one came about slowly. When I sat down to write my first two novels, the concepts were fully formed in my head. I rejigged the stories and characters a lot, but when they were finished, they were how I had imagined them from the beginning. With The First Year, I found myself unsure what I wanted to do. I had an idea of following a couple day-by-day through their first year, but I didn’t know what would happen to them over that time. I thought the concept of the first year of marriage being the hardest was a good one to explore in a romantic comedy. So I wrote a few chapters and scene fragments, then I hit a bit of a wall. I knew I wanted Andy to be a corporate type, and Saskia to be an artist, but I didn’t have much more detail than that. Then one day I came across an article about a designer who had made the same discovery Saskia makes in the book. I did a bit of research and it turns out it is a really common problem. I don’t want to spoil the plot by revealing the big discovery, but once I had that I knew what I wanted Andy and Saskia’s story to be.

What makes the main character who they are?
Saskia Hill comes across really brash but she’s actually quite vulnerable. She loves a man, Andrew Colbrook, who wants to support her as she builds her business, but the idea of being reliant on him conflicts with her feminist values. She eventually accepts his offer to back her financially until she is established, but it never sits right with her and ultimately is the cause of much tension. 
One of my favourite lines in the book comes when Saskia receives a letter from her mother-in-law addressed to Mr and Mrs Andrew Colbrook. She has not changed her name and when the letter arrives she asks of Andy, “What am I? Some sort of subsidiary of you?” I feel like this sums her up perfectly.

Do you base your characters on real people?
My characters are original creations, but inevitably I find myself incorporating traits of family and friends. Usually it’s just a little thing to give the character a ring of authenticity. When trying to *show* rather than *tell* - something that a lot of writers struggle with - I find it helpful to think about how real people display their emotions - the way their postures change, the tone of their voice, what they do with their hands and eyes. Sometimes I’ll lift a small anecdote (with permission) or give a sly nod to a friend by including a personal joke. But generally I try to ensure the characters are wholly their own people.

How long did it take you to write The First Year?
I am often asked this question but this is the first time I’ve ever been able to answer it properly. For about a year, I had a few fragments of this story and a vague concept but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. Then I made the discovery that revealed the plot to me and it was all very fast. It took me about three months to write a three chapter sample, a synopsis and a plot outline. I pitched it to HarperCollins in November, got the go ahead in December and had completed the manuscript by June. It was quite a fast process because I had been thinking about the characters and the supporting players for so long. As is always the case, it needed some major reworking and I relied heavily on my amazing beta-readers. But it basically took one year of procrastination and six months of furious writing.  

What is your typical writing routine?
I used to write at night and on weekends but now that I live in Sydney I find myself getting up early and writing before work. I assume that’s because it gets hot and sunny here very early. That being said, I still try to get some writing in after work. And I can be found most weekends in a café somewhere with a pile of manuscript pages and a laptop.
People love to ask writers if they are planners or pantsers. I think I’m a combination of both. I like to have a plot outline before I begin, but sometimes it is very vague and details emerge – and characters are created or killed off – as the writing progresses.

Where do you write?
I do a lot of writing at my dining room table – but I far prefer to write in cafes. It’s not always possible, of course. Sometimes you have a burst of creative energy at 2am when all the good cafes are selfishly closed, and realistically it’s just not possible to mainline lattes for eight hours and a Saturday or Sunday. But my preference is definitely to write in a café. When I was living in Melbourne I would write a lot at Milkwood in East Brunswick (try the white beans on toast) or a Minor Place (more white beans, these come with Dukkah and avocado). Another favourite is a café called True North in Coburg. They have lovely booths that I like to spread out in, and do great sandwiches with heaps of vegetarian options.

What book do you wish you had written and why?
This is a complete departure from the type of fiction I write, but I am in awe of We Need To Talk About Kevin. Lionel Shriver creates so much tension and complexity. I adore her prose and the way she uses a million little perfectly phrased observations to make-up the story.  I love the way she tricks the reader into thinking they know what is happening, only to discover all is not as it seems as the narrative slowly reveals itself.

Who are you favourite writers?
This is such a difficult question to answer because there are so many, and I turn to different writers for different things. I love Caitlin Moran for the sheer joy she gives me with her hilarious stories. No less important is the strong feminist message in everything she does. I really admire Curtis Sittenfeld’s skill as a story-teller, and Gillian Flynn for the ease with which she spins complex narratives, imbuing her characters with light and shade. Jeffrey Eugenides remains an all-time favourite. Whenever I’m asked about my favourite books Middlesex is always at the top, and his first novel, The Virgin Suicides, was hauntingly, devastatingly beautiful. Oh, and Michael Chabon for so many reasons, especially inventiveness.
In terms of my own genre – which I consider to be a loose grouping of contemporary chick lit with rom-com tendencies -  I LOVE Lauren Sams who wrote She’s Having Her Baby and Crazy Busy Guilty. I also can’t go past fellow HarperCollins authors Tess Woods and Sunni Overend. The Regulars by Georgia Clark is great fun.

Who is your favourite literary character?
I have racked my brain, trying to come up with an answer that isn’t a total cliché, but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Elizabeth Bennett is a sublime literary creation, and has to be my favourite character. She’s clever, sensitive, witty and warm. She loves her sister Jane and her friend Charlotte Lucas, and she’s loyal but not without flaws. She speaks her mind and isn’t intimidated by those who think them better than she is. At a completely different end of the spectrum is Uncle Oswald, a recurring character in the short stories of Roald Dahl. Uncle Oswald is a hilarious, wealthy, horny old man who often finds himself entangled in pseudo-scientific schemes with hilarious outcomes.

What are you working on at the moment?
Having just finished a book I’m a bit of a free agent at the moment. I have two ideas that are in the very early stages, so I’m playing with both of them, thinking about the characters and deciding which one to commit to. I have just started a new job as a feature writer so I am finding that at night I’m spending the time I would normally dedicate to fiction thinking about feature ideas. That being said, I want my next venture to be a departure from my usual books. Neither of the concepts I’m currently playing with could be described as romantic comedies. The First Year has parts set in a court room, which came about because I spent the past few years covering courts as a journalist and my two new ideas are also inspired in part by that part of my job.

What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
This one is tricky because writing is both my hobby (fiction) and my livelihood (journalism). My other hobby is baking, so perhaps if it all falls in a heap I could retrain as a pastry chef. I have made a few wedding cakes for friends, and I really enjoy playing with flavour ideas and pretty shapes. Strangely, when it comes to savoury meals I’m terrible, but I have mastered cakes.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty which I devoured, barely lifting my eyes to draw breath. Liane dazzles me with her ability to tease and entice. I am also reading Sweet Bitter by Stephanie Danler. I cheated on Sweet Bitter with Moriarty because I found myself at the airport without a book and knew I couldn’t go wrong with one of Liane’s books.

Coffee, wine or something else?
I am completely addicted to coffee. I don’t drink much wine, unless I’m sharing a bottle at a dinner party or something. If I’m at a bar I’ll order sloe gin (rocks and lime), a gin and tonic or a cocktail. Sometimes when it’s really hot I’ll take my laptop to a pub and write while drinking cider and ice. But generally on those days my preference is a café and an ice coffee.

What is your favourite social media platform and why?
I am addicted to social media. I love Instagram and Twitter but for different reasons. In my day job, I work as a journalist, so I love being able to keep an eye on the issues of the day as they unfurl on Twitter. I follow major news outlets, journalists I like and admire, politicians and specialists in my areas of interest. I also follow a few funny accounts to break it up. I like checking-in on Twitter when I take a break from work. Instagram is great for book recommendations, food and bar recommendations, fashion, recipes and just keeping up with what my friends are doing. I recently moved interstate, so it’s great to be able to see what my friends have been up to with a few swipes of my phone.

Of all your books, do you have a favourite one?
This is like being asked to choose between your children! I hate to admit it, but I do have a favourite one. My latest novel, The First Year, is my third. I think because I had been through the process twice before it was less daunting and stressful. I had a lot more confidence and I think it shows in the writing. I also quite like the story. My previous books were what I’d call caper romances. In both, the protagonists hatched hair-brained schemes in order to find love. The First Year is a lot more grounded in reality. The characters’ families and work colleagues play a great role and I feel like they’re more rounded because of it.


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