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Wordsmith Wednesday

Highlighting wonderful women writers 

Today I’m talking to Leisl Leighton, author of paranormal and romantic suspense novels. Her eighth book, Climbing Fear, a romantic suspense, is out now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

The most significant one was Anne of Green Gables. I’d read many books before this that I loved – Nancy Drew, Black Beauty, The Hobbit, Little Women, Milly Molly Mandy and so on – but Anne was the first person like me that I ever saw in a book. There’d been elements of other characters in other books I read that were like me, but Anne almost seemed like she was me. Her story felt real and personal and I’ve read it – and all the other books in the series – over and over again. It was also super special because my Nanna gave these books to me because she’d read them when she was the same age as me and loved them because they spoke to her little red-headed heart as well.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Anywhere. I don’t have a favourite place because I write wherever I can. I do have a lovely desk set up at home with a view of the elm tree in our front yard, but it’s too cold in there at this time of the year. I write in my armchair with the dogs and cats lying around me, which is lovely.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

Keep going. Don’t think all advice is the advice for you, but still listen and think about it and every book is a new beginning – enjoy the ride.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I talk with my writing friends and workshop the problems. They always help – and not because they necessarily come up with the answers, but because they help me to rethink it and figure out what the problem is and come up with a solution. Normally I knew what it was, but just need to say it out loud and have their affirmation and confirmation to help me take that step.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I love the Emily Larkin Baleful Godmother series. Also, anything by Nalini Singh – I just love her paranormal books.

What was the inspiration behind Climbing Fear?

My love of horses, my experiences on horse riding camps when I was younger, my husband proposing to me on horseback, and a trip to Walhalla years ago all came together in my head and created the story that became Climbing Fear. I’m not sure why the suspense element, other than the mountains and hills always seem so mysterious and ripe to be the setting for a suspense story.

Tell us about your Climbing Fear.

A Coalcliff Stud novel—His beloved home is under threat, and with it the beautiful, haunted woman he’s never been able to forget …

X-Treme TV sports star Reid Stratton has everything—until his best friend falls to his death on a climb while shooting their show. In the fierce media fallout, Reid begins to question everything about himself. Crippled by a new fear of climbing, Reid returns to CoalCliff Stud, his family’s horse farm, to recover.

Single mother Natalia Robinson is determined to start afresh, away from the shadow of her past. A job at CoalCliff Stud where she lived as a child is the perfect opportunity to live the quiet life she always wanted. But she is unprepared to see Reid, and is even more unprepared for the passion that still burns between them.

But after a series of menacing events threaten the new home she is trying to build, Nat realises that Reid is the only person she can rely on to keep her and her daughter safe. Together, Reid and Nat must face the pasts that haunt them if they are to survive the present and forge a future of hope.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

‘Right. Here goes nothing.’ Or something. Reid really hoped it was something.

He dipped his hands into his chalk bag, wiping the chalk over them, shaking off the excess then stepped up to the rock face and took a deep breath. His lungs filled with the scent of dirt and lichen and the sharp scents of the eucalypts that gave the Blue Mountains their moniker. In the distance a bird cawed, the sound echoing and lonely. He couldn’t take any notice, must concentrate on the wall of rock before him.

Heart pounding, he rolled his shoulders and tried to ignore the perspiration trickling down his forehead, his back. His palms itched. This was the moment of truth. His moment of truth.

He should probably have got Steve and the production crew involved in this climb, to capture his big comeback for posterity—and the ratings it would undoubtedly bring—but he’d wanted to do this in private. It seemed right somehow that his first climb after the accident wasn’t in front of the cameras. The first time ever he hadn’t wanted to show off for the world. He could just imagine what Luke would have said about that.

But then, Luke couldn’t say anything. He was dead.

He shuddered, a cold sweat prickling his skin. Don’t think of that. Think of the climb. Only the climb.

Only the climb. It had been their mantra and had served him well through championships and their TV show, but now the words hung empty.

Race you to the top. The echo of Luke’s voice rang in his ears. He shook his head and looked up at the wall of rock in front of him. He’d done this climb at Echo Point many times before, the view from the top of the famous sandstone plateau one you could breathe into your soul and keep with you forever.

The line he’d chosen wasn’t a difficult climb—bloody easy compared to what he’d done before—but a good solid one to cut his teeth on. What he and Luke had become famous for. And if he was to get their TV show up and going again, do the charity climb in Luke’s name that he and Steve planned on the soaring pristine lines of the Gorge at Mt Buffalo—Luke’s favourite place to climb and the first place they’d ever filmed themselves climbing to post online—he needed to do this.

‘Right.’ He clapped his hands together, chalk blooming up, making his nose twitch. ‘One grip at a time.’ He stepped to the rock face, reached, took the first hold, fingers gripping over the small ridge of rock and pulled up. He settled his feet into grooves in the striations of the sandstone—only five reach holds, none of them difficult, before he would position the first cam to clip the lead rope to. He would normally free climb this section, but nerves had him needing to anchor the rope. It was a bit of a stupid thing to do without a partner, but given what happened the last time he climbed with one …

He swallowed hard. He’d checked his rope, the cams and carabiners a hundred times before getting here and again once here. They were safe. Nothing would break. He was good. He needed this. He reached for the next hold, gripped, found a foot hold, pushed up grabbed the next grip. Easy. There was no reason for his heart to be a thunder of hooves in his chest. For his breath to be coming in short-sharp gasps, razoring his throat, as if he’d just run the London Marathon. No reason for sweat to be dripping off him. Or for the ghost pain to be driving through his shoulder like an ice spike. His shoulder was healed and aside from the pull of the scar tissue, it shouldn’t be hurting. It was strong. He’d worked hard to make it strong again. Why else had he done that if not to get back to this?

Push through, Stratton. Eye on the prize. Think of the climb. We can do this.

He blinked the sweat out of his eyes, rubbing his face against his shoulder before he pushed up for the next grip. Two more and he’d reach the fissure he could push the cam into and create his anchor.

He settled his toes firmly in the thin ridge of rock, feeling the dig of the sharp stone through his thin, flexible rock climbing shoes, before reaching up again. His fingers found purchase on a little jut of weathered stone. He pulled up.

Rock crumbled through his fingers. He began to slip. He made a desperate grab for a nearby small ridge in the rock, but his foot slipped. For a moment, he hung, scrabbling at the rock, trying to find the holds he’d found before, but it was as if the rock face had become a sheet of marble, slippery and smooth. He could find nothing. Nothing. His shoulder was screaming, the pain spiking through him. His fingers were slipping. He couldn’t hold on. He was going to fall. Going to fall.

Buy links

iTunes

Amazon Aus

Amazon US

Kobo

Google Play

Where can readers find you online?

If you’d like to know more about me, my books, or to connect with me online, you can visit my webpage www.leislleighton.com, follow me on twitter @LeislLeighton https://twitter.com/LeislLeighton, or like my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Leisl-Leighton-Author-367381126695193.

Leisl Leighton Author Bio

Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.

My other books are: Dangerous Echoes: Book 1 of the Echo Springs Series. Or if you like your suspense mixed with the paranormal, then you should try my four book Pack Bound series: Pack Bound, Moon Bound, Shifter Bound and Wolf Bound—available now.

Buy Links for Dangerous Echoes:

iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, Amazon AU

Or you can buy the four book series, Echo Springs, in paperback at Big W, Kmart and online at Angus&Robertson, Booktopia, The Nile, Boomerang Books, Dymocks

Buy Links for the Pack Bound Series:

Amazon Here, iBooks Here, Google Play Here, Kobo Here

 

Virtual Book Tour – Lion Dancing for Love

Fabulous roses Jean Grant and Peggy Jaeger helped me celebrate a publication day for Lion Dancing with Love, in Australian and America. If you’d like to read the posts, you can click on their names for the link. I’m now on tour for the month with Goddess Fish who have put together a fabulous lineup for me. I’d love to see you pop by and say hi if you have the time.

Please note the schedule is US Eastern Standard Time, starting very early in the morning! Thank you to all my hosts – I do hope you are all making use of your schedule buttons!

Here is my schedule:

April 1: Romance Novel Giveaways

April 2: Christine Young

April 3: Straight From the Library

April 4: Edgar’s Books

April 5: The Reading Addict

April 8: T’s Stuff

April 9: Romantic Reviews

April 10: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters

April 11: Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!

April 12: Fabulous and Brunette

April 15: BooksChatter

April 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

April 17: Renee Wildes Weblog

April 18: All the Ups and Downs

April 19: Readeropolis

April 22: Joanne Guidoccio

April 22: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

April 23: Long and Short Reviews

April 24: Kimber Li

April 25: Locks, Hooks and Books

April 26: Viviana MacKade

I’ll update daily with the topic of discussion.

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Never ask a question you’re not prepared to answer. Right? In honor of the release of Lion Dancing for Love, my second contemporary romance, and a novella in the Deerbourne Inn series, here are my answers to the Deerbourne Inn author Q&A.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?Dick&Jane

The first book I remember reading was a school reader about Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. Books have improved for first graders since then! The books whose titles I can actually remember were by Enid Blyton. The Magic Faraway Treewas a favorite, as was Five On A Treasure Island. I still have my copy of the latter on the top shelf of the bookcase.

What’s your favorite place to write?

I have a little red desk which is only big enough for my laptop. I like to sit downstairs in the TV room with my doggies and the family while I write.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

You can always do better. If you have time for one more revision, do it!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I listen to my characters. They know what they want to do. Sometimes, they just want to sit and gossip over a really boring cup of coffee, and I have to cut the scene later, but it gets me going.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I just finished reading Down & Dirty, the final book in Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series. I’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Axel’s story and he didn’t disappoint.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I liked the collaborative nature of the project. The idea of putting my characters into someone else’s world was intriguing and challenging.

What was the inspiration behind Lion Dancing for Love?

It’s partly a fish out of water story. I wanted to find out what would happen if I put a city girl into a small town. I also wanted to put together two people from different backgrounds and see what triumphed, the differences or the similarities.

Tell us about Lion Dancing for Lovein 100 words or less.

LionDancingforLoveLicking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn’t planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life.

Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

“You don’t have to be good at it. You have to be able to follow and count to three.”

She put her hands on her hips. It was his turn to raise a brow. “I can follow—if I choose to.”

He chuckled. “Such sass. Prove it.”

He held out his left hand, and she moved forward and placed her right inside it. He twined their fingers and pulled her into position. A heady combination of scents rose from her, vanilla and pheromones and something uniquely Caitlin. Her skin was slick against his. “Rest your head against my chest,” he murmured.

“I don’t recall that as an official position.”

“It’s the one I favor. Stand on my feet. That’s it.” He adjusted her arm, so she had a good hold around his neck and drew her even closer. “Step with your right foot first…back across, together. Forward, across, together. Back, across, together. Forward, across, together.”

Halfway through the song, he let her feet slip to the ground. At the end he kept a firm grip on her waist while he hit replay, then led her through a series of fast twirls, their bodies so close they were almost one. When the song ended, they collapsed in a heap against the wall. She was giggling.

“What?”

“I get why it was considered scandalous when it was first introduced.”

He smiled and tipped her chin toward him with a finger. “It’s only scandalous if you do it properly.” He brushed his lips softly across hers, then claimed her mouth as she breathed into him.

Buy links

DeerbourneInnSeries

You can find me online here on my blog or Facebook page and on TwitterInstagram,  GoodReadsBookbub and Amazon.

 

Cheers to Caitlin and Cory

Happy publication day to Caitlin and Corey, whose story Lion Dancing for Love is out in the wild today. I really fell in love with these two characters. It’s a case of opposites attract – or is it? On the outside, they look very different. Caitlin is a sassy city gal from a multicultural background in her 30s. Corey is a third generation small town Vermont store owner in his 40s and a man of few words. On the inside they’re both hurting, Caitlin from rejection and Corey from the death of his first wife. Fate and their friends seem to think they’re destined to heal each other, but will they listen?

Buy links:LionDancingforLove

Amazon US

Amazon Australia

Amazon UK

iTunes

Kobo

Google Play

If you’d like to read more about the goings-on in Willow Springs, you can check out the Deerbourne Inn series here. There are seven books to date, across multiple genres, covering Deerbourne Inn’s past, its present and its paranormal inhabitants.

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Deerbourne Inn Dates: Jean Grant

Today I’m talking to Jean M. Grantauthor of three romances and one Women’s Fiction (set to release in April). She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series, and perf5.000x8.000.inddher book Soul of the Storm is available today.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

Oh, good question. I am sure I did read books earlier than this, but I distinctly remember the thrillers by R.L. Stine in my tweens. I also remember Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Sweet Valley Twins. Judy Blume’s 1980s classics. Am I dating myself here…? I guess I can’t remember the wee early ones. If I was to pick my current favourites that my kids used to read, I would pick all of Mo Willems books. Love them.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Desk, couch, coffee shop, under a blanket. I am versatile. I usually write on my laptop but when traveling I use a good old pen/pencil and notebook. I remember bringing a draft version of one my manuscripts (printed on paper) on a hike up a mountain a few years ago. We were staying in a hiker’s hut that night and besides taking in the gorgeous view, eating a scrumptious cooked meal, and playing cards, I wanted to get some work done. It was a peaceful setting to read and edit as the sunset (and rose) on top of a mountain.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

My motto is the 3 P’s: Patience, Perseverance, and Putting in the time. I’m working on getting thicker skin. Rejection is part of the journey, as are those 3 P’s. For some writers, “success” (or whatever we define as success) happens quickly, for some us it takes years. My advice: keep on keepin’ on and find some buddies to come along with you for the ride to cheer you on!

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I jump around in my manuscript if needed (though I am a plotter and I do a lot of character development up front), work on other projects (there are always other projects…), or focus on something else in my house/family/life that I need to work on. I’ve only been really blocked once, and it was a hard month, but I got back into the swing quickly! I tend to be spinning plates, so I am never bored and never not have something to do!

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I’m enjoying the novella-length books in this series so far. Recently, I read one in the Candy Hearts series by CJ Fosdick called Hot Stuff. It’s more like a novelette. Short, about 50 pages. I read it in one sitting. Her voice and the polished writing just lured me in! In my TBR pile is another book (full novel) by her, The Accidental Wife. I can’t wait to read it.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?

I live in New England so writing about a state near me (Vermont) was enticing, and I

sots vt and nz collage 1

Vermont New Zealand Collage

already had this “hiking/New Zealander/woman with a hurt past” idea percolating in my mind. I loved the idea of writing something shorter (novella, about 150 pages) and being part of a series with other authors.

What was the inspiration behind Soul of the Storm?

A bit of my own life, but it’s quite fictionalized. I lost my sister to an accident when she was young. I’ve been burned by an ex. I love to hike. I absolutely love New Zealand. And before I knew it, this idea came together.

 

Tell us about Soul of the Storm in 100 words or less.

Charlotte lost the thrill of conquering mountains five years ago when her sister disappeared on a hiking adventure without her. Charlotte heads for a vacation to Vermont but she’s still plagued with guilt and questions. Matiu is an outdoorsman and works multiple jobs to save for his dream of owning an outfitter in New Zealand. He’s restless and yearns for his Maori roots. Matiu and Charlotte form a bond through their shared love of the outdoors. But can Charlotte surmount her demons to assist Matiu on a mountain rescue when a late-season snowstorm hits? Can love help her heal?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

She went to feel her ring on her finger with her thumb…but the ring wasn’t there. That old habit would not die even years later.

A dog bark intruded. The man crossed to the back door. “Reka, sweet girl, take your nap. Only a few hours here and then home, okay?” He spoke to her like a father to a toddler. The dog barked again. “A swim and walk this morning weren’t enough for you?”

He approached the dog, petted it, and whispered affections.

Charlotte made a soundless “Aww” and kept perusing.

The man returned, nearer. Residual sweat traced his brow. He pointed to a selection of books in the middle. “These are the best. Depends on what you’re looking for. Honest reviews or glorified fantasies?”

“Honest reviews, always.”

He stroked a hand through his neck-length black hair, the longer top layer falling over his forehead. He squatted and withdrew a few books from the lower shelf. “You could go with the popular or famous names, sure, but I like these authors.” He handed her one.

A book on South America sat in her hands. She muttered, “Thanks. Don’t need that one.”

“Oh, already been there, eh? All good, all good.” He took it and shoved it back on the shelf. “Where do your dreams lie then?”

She swallowed. No, I wasn’t there in that way. I was supposed to have been there. Five years ago. Instead she said, “Well, Vermont for now.”

“You’re in luck. I’m from Willow Springs.”

Buy links

Buy links for Soul of the Storm:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ GooglePlay

You can also pre-order for my April 17th release, Will Rise from Ashes:

Amazon

Where can readers find you online?J Grant JPEG square

 

Website~ Twitter  ~ FacebookGoodreads~

Bookbub~ Amazon Author Page~

The Wild Rose Press

 

Read about more Deerbourne Inn titles:

 

Deerbourne Inn Dates

Today I’m talking to Julie Howard, author of three mysteries, Crime and ParadiseCrime Times Two, and recently Spirited Quest. She is a contributing author to the Deerbourne Inn series. Spirited Quest is available now.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favorite childhood read?

I started reading very early, at age three. My parents even started me in a private kindergarten a couple of weeks before I turned four because of this. I don’t remember what that first book would have been – most likely Dr. Seuss – but my favorite childhood read was My Friend Flicka.

I had a huge horse crush as a girl, and probably read Black Beautyfifty times. All through school, I was in the library every Saturday as soon as it opened and carried out an armload of books.

What’s your favorite place to write?

In cafes! I love the buzz of conversation around me as I write. I think this goes back to my days as a newspaper reporter and editor, working in a bustling newsroom where people moved about, TVs were on, and even arguments broke out. I can shut out almost any noise, but I find it difficult to write in complete silence.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

Never give up. And never give up on yourself. Writing and getting published isn’t easy. I have much more admiration of writers now that I’m published and understand a bit of what they’ve been through too. I don’t get discouraged easily and the early rejections didn’t stop me. In fact, they urged me on and prompted me to get better. Sort of like “Oh, you didn’t like this? Let me try again.”

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I’m a big believer in outlining my books and this helps enormously in not running into writer’s block. Every once in a while, however, I hit a spot where the plot just isn’t working, and I do get stuck. At that point, I move on to another scene later in the book. Usually, by the time I’m done with another scene, a resolution comes to me for the earlier scene I was stuck on. If not, I just keep moving forward. I never let myself stop writing.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I loved The Golem and the Jinii by Helene Wecker. This isn’t your ordinary romance since the characters aren’t human (and Golems aren’t technically alive) and it’s more a romance of the heart than the body. It’s a great story and so well-written. I’m anxiously awaiting the author’s next book.

What was it that appealed to you about the Deerbourne Inn series?SpiritedQuest_w13051_750

To be honest, I’m surprised I ended up writing for the Deerbourne Inn series at all. I didn’t know if I could write a good short mystery. But once I learned there was a ghost at the Deerbourne Inn, the plot came to me in a flash. All of a sudden I HAD to write the story. It was as though the ghost haunted me until I wrote about her. Now I’m hooked on writing shorter novels and would love to write more of them.

What was the inspiration behind Spirited Quest?

Since childhood, one of my favorite types of books to read has been magical realism. It was just a matter of time before I sat down to write a ghost story. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to write this one. I’ve always believed there was something behind the closet door and under the bed, but these days I’m not afraid of them.

Tell us about Spirited Quest in 100 words or less.

My main character, Paige Norman, believes in a tangible, explainable world. When her ghost-hunting niece comes for a visit, she tries not to scoff. But someone, or something, is stirring up trouble at the Deerbourne Inn and her niece, Jillian, is at the center of the mystery. Paige is certain the handsome Aussie photographer is behind unexplained disturbances. Meanwhile, Jillian gets to know the spirit of the Deerbourne, who foretells an encounter with “two men.” Then the pranks turn dangerous. Has her niece attracted a stalker or has she conjured up evil? Can the culprit be the man who has captured her heart?

Do you have an extract you can share with us?

He nodded a friendly greeting to her, his gaze grazing past to include others on the porch. “G’day, ma’am. G’day all.”

An Australian. Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, to be twenty-five, even thirty-five, again. His gaze settled on her niece, and as always happened to men where this girl was concerned, his jaw slackened, then tightened.

Next to her, Jillian grew still, lifting wide blue eyes to the newcomer. The moment passed. He was through the front door and into the lobby, and the door closed behind him.

“You’re in for some nice company this week,” Paige commented with a smile.

A frown flickered across her niece’s face. “I’ve seen him before.”

“You’ve met?”

“Not exactly. He appeared to me in a dream.” Jillian’s blue eyes were troubled as she gazed at the Inn’s front door. She lifted one hand and rubbed the back of her head, then gave a shiver. “There was blood and I was afraid.”

Buy links

Julie Howard pix.jpg

Where can readers find you online? 

Wordsmith Wednesday

Today is the first in my 2019 interviews with women wordsmiths. Up first to reveal her secrets is MV Ellis, author of four contemporary romances. Her new novel, Finding MV headshotMarnie, was released earlier this month. MV will be attending the Australian Romance Readers Association Romantic Rendezvous ARR2019 author signing in Sydney on 24 March.

What’s the first book you remember reading on your own as a child, or your favourite childhood read?

One of the first books I really remember loving as a child was a beautifully illustrated Winnie the Pooh picture book. I was enthralled by the combination of words and pictures. I still have a soft spot for Pooh to this day. There were many favourites though—Where the Wild Things Are was another that stands out in my mind. I was a big reader from day one, so my first solo read was so far back I don’t remember it, but I do remember reading Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol at around nine or ten, which started my love for Dickens.

What’s your favourite place to write?

Hmmm…I write at my three-metre-long kitchen table. However, I do have an office (aka the spare room), but it’s currently serving as a bit of a junk room during our home renovations. When that’s all done, I’m planning on taking it back over and creating a beautiful writing haven. In the meantime, when I want a break from the dining table, I head to our local café, or even IKEA for a change of scene.

What’s the most important lesson you have learned on your writing journey so far?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one, as the past year as a published author has been a steep learning curve. However, one thing I’m currently living by is that you just have to keep on keeping on. It’s not always easy, but you’ve just got to get your eyes down, bum up and keep working and moving forward. I write every day, more often than not, into the small hours of the morning, but I know that’s what I need to do to achieve my not inconsiderable short and long term goals. My current motto is “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I’m fortunate enough to never have suffered from writer’s block, but on the few occasion when motivation wanes, I force myself to write, no matter how paltry an amount. Failing that, I watch TV. I’m a very visual person, and I find that consuming visual forms of storytelling helps keep my creative juices flowing, while not specifically trying to write.

Writers are readers too. Please recommend a romance you recently read and enjoyed.

I recently read LJ Shen’s Dirty Headlines, and as is always the case for me with her books, it didn’t disappoint.

What was the inspiration behind Finding Marnie?

finding  marnie_fprjpegs_frontcover.jpgBeing the fourth book in a series, Finding Marnie was somewhat inspired by the previous books, but also by reader requests to know more about some of the supporting characters from the first three books—Marnie and Luke in particular. It was a chance for us to learn more about the troubled pair, and see events portrayed in the other books from a whole new perspective, and in a very different light. Having said that, it’s a standalone novel, so great to read even if you haven’t read the other books.

Tell us about Finding Marnie in 100 words or less.

Finding Marnie: Rock Star Romance (Heartless Few Book 4), the highly anticipated fourth installment of the Heartless Few series, takes us back to the rock ‘n’ roll world of the Jones brothers, but now from a different point of view. “Quiet twin” Luke has preferred to live in his twin brother’s shadow, but when Marnie, his life-long crush, finds herself at rock bottom he’s desperate to save her, even if it means defying Arlo. In this book we see this sexy rock god finally step into the light and become the man he was meant to be, proving to both himself and Marnie that they are worth fighting for.

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I’D LEARNED to make myself small from an early age—even before my parents had decided that I wasn’t worth living for. They’d always been all about them, and I’d always felt like an inconvenient by-product of their love, rather than a cherished part of it. The state-ordered psychologist I saw after they died had said that nothing and nobody could take away or diminish the way I felt, but it was unlikely that my parents hadn’t loved me. They may have lacked the parenting skills to adequately demonstrate it and been hampered by mental illness and addiction, but apparently, nothing in their treatment of me suggested I had been unloved.

 Try explaining that to a three-, four-, or five-year-old who was never a consideration. I was just there. Not living but existing. I quickly learned that the less space I took up, the less mental real estate I commanded from them, the happier they were with me. The smaller, the better. If I could have made myself invisible, that would have been ideal.

 I curled myself into a ball next to Luke, hugging my knees to my chest. Fuck, he made my heart hurt. In fact, he made all of me hurt. No, that wasn’t right. He made me ache. All of me ached for him. When I was feeling weak and being stupid, I allowed myself to imagine what it would be like if things were different. If I were different. If I were the kind of woman who deserved the love of a man like him. The kind of girl who could match his gentle nature and give him the love he deserved.

 I was clearly feeling more stupid and weak than normal, allowing myself to think that way when Luke was within arm’s reach. When I could just stretch out my hand and run it through his thick dark hair like I’d imagined myself doing ten thousand times before. When I could brush my hand across the stubble of his strong jaw. When I could kiss his ripe, shapely lips just once.

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