Writing Inspirations: Who and What Inspires Rural Romance Author Jennie Jones

Writing Inspirations: Who and What Inspires Rural Romance Author Jennie Jones

This week on Writing Inspirations I welcome the lovely Jennie Jones. Jennie and I met a couple of years ago at the Romance Writers of Australia Conference and share a love of writing, good wine and horses.     Jennie writes Rural Romance and her latest novel, The House At the End Of The Street (released August 1st) is rocketing up the book charts.       Bestselling Jennie Jones takes us back to Swallow’s Fall: Gemma has a burning need to stay and make a home. All Josh has ever wanted is to get out. Now he has the chance, and all he needs to do is tie up a few loose ends…  Gemma Munroe loves hard, laughs hard and plays hard. Or at least she did before today. Her dream is finally within her grasp – owning the toy shop in Swallow’s Fall and establishing herself permanently. Only one person has the power to get in her way: Josh Rutherford – the love of her life who kissed her and left her ten years ago is coming home. Josh will be in town for only five days. He’ll finally sever the ties to a youth filled with poverty by selling the properties that are now his. He’s returning healthy, wealthy and emotionally stable, and then he’ll leave forever. It’s all in the plan. Except for Gem. He never forgot her, but he definitely forgot the effect she has on him. Now she’s got problems, and he can’t seem to leave without trying to help her solve them. The town itself has its own plans: Gemma and Josh...
Getting Inside a Character’s Skin

Getting Inside a Character’s Skin

I’ve spent the last year writing, revising and polishing my third novel. Close to Home started out as a story about a vet investigating an outbreak of hendra virus in the town where she spent her adolescence. But as the story developed, as is always the case with my writing, it became more about the relationships between the vet, Charlie Anderson, and the people in the town to which she reluctantly returned. I’m the type of writer who starts with a basic idea and lets that idea – and the characters – dictate the story, so it was no surprise when this novel began to touch on bigger issues than the outbreak of a potentially deadly equine disease. What did surprise me was that Charlie had spent her teen years in a household that was dysfunctional and that the ‘head’ of that household, her Uncle Jim, was abusive towards his wife. What surprised me even more was that Charlie’s cousin, Emma, married a man similar in too many ways to her father. The issue of domestic violence has been receiving a lot more media attention of late, due in no small part to the amazing courage of a woman called Rosie Batty. By the time Rosie received recognition in the form of the Australian Of The Year award (http://bit.ly/1nLGo1I), I was in the final stages of editing my novel. I mention this because I do not want to be seen as ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ or to trivialize this issue in any way. I write genre fiction – Rural Romance to be more specific – but at the heart...
Friday Inspirations: How A Conversation About Hendra Virus Sparked a Novel

Friday Inspirations: How A Conversation About Hendra Virus Sparked a Novel

Last Friday in my Inspirations series I wrote about how horses have been part of my writing journey. Today’s post is a follow up to that – why I chose to write a novel based on an outbreak of the Hendra virus. Those of you who aren’t horsey types may not know much about this disease. It’s a virus that is carried by flying foxes and can be transmitted to horses via secretions. Horses living in areas where there are flying fox colonies can be exposed when they eat grass, food or water that has been contaminated by bats. The virus can be transferred from horse to horse and in a couple of instances has been detected in dogs. Unfortunately it can also be transferred from horse to human. The virus was first detected in a racing stable in the suburb of Hendra in Brisbane in 1994 when a number of horses became seriously ill. A horse trainer and 14 horses died during that outbreak. The following year a farmer in Mackay also died of the disease. There have been a number of outbreaks since then resulting in four human deaths, a further 3 people who contracted the disease but survived and around 80 horses have died. All the outbreaks have occurred in northern NSW or Queensland. A vaccine was developed and made available to the public in 2012 and the Department of Primary Industries has encouraged all horse owners to vaccinate their horses.     Although this all sounds pretty scary Hendra remains a very rare disease and with greater awareness the numbers of horses and humans at...
Inspirations: How Horses Inspired Me To Write

Inspirations: How Horses Inspired Me To Write

Writing and horse riding are two things I came to later I life, both around the same time and both at a point where I was looking for a new challenge. For anyone who has read my books – or even seen the covers – you’ll know that horses feature strongly in my writing. So today I thought I’d tell you a little about how my love of horses developed and how they came to feature in my stories. Like many people I spent the odd few hours trail riding when I was a teenager. I never had a fear of horses but didn’t have the undying adoration some other teenage girls have. It was a pleasant way to spend a few hours with friends in a nice setting. Many years later I was fortunate to buy a holiday property on the south coast with my husband, just down the road from where I’d ridden as a girl. By this time I had two young daughters who wanted to go for a ride every time we visited. It was the perfect set up – plenty of access to horses without the cost of owning one ourselves. But when the riding school closed down that perk ended and we found – too late – that the girls were hooked.       Many hours of lessons and many dollars down the track, my eldest daughter ended up riding a horse for a friend-of-a-friend who was pregnant and couldn’t ride. That was probably the turning point. My daughter fell in love with the horse, Sprite, who we ended up buying and...
My Novel Soundtrack: Chapter 3, Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Higgins

My Novel Soundtrack: Chapter 3, Everyone’s Waiting by Missy Higgins

I had a strange experience when I was revising Close To Home – one of those moments of synchronicity that are often hard to comprehend. My daughters and I were watching the wonderful Missy Higgins perform onstage and running behind her was a film clip, being played as a backdrop to Everyone’s Waiting. This became a favourite Missy song of mine as soon as I heard it but as I listened to her sing the words and watched the film version of her stand on the shore of a deserted beach and then walk into the water another almost identical scenario ran through my head. Instead of Missy stepping into the sea it was a younger version of Charlie, the protagonist of my book, grieving and lost, unsure about what she would do with her life, lured by the pull of the ocean. I wrote this scene before the book itself had even been thought of (and long before Everyone’s Waiting had been released), when it came to me one day and I just had to get it down. As Charlie’s story and backstory unfolded it seemed to fit perfectly with her narrative. While Missy wrote the song about her decision to continue with her singing career the lyrics can apply to so may life situations. The opening lines capture Charlie’s feelings perfectly:   I know all the lines to say The part I’m expected to play But in the reflection I am worlds away   In Chapter Three, Charlie stands on the beach at Curlew Point and remembers back to a time sixteen years earlier when she’d stood...
Welcome to My New Website, Blog and Newsletter

Welcome to My New Website, Blog and Newsletter

Welcome to my new website and the new home for Flying Pony. I’ve been juggling two spaces for the last couple of years and decided it would make more sense to combine my blog with my author website. I’m over the moon with the result and hope you love it too! I’ll also be sending out a monthly newsletter to keep readers up to date on my book news and events. To celebrate the launch of the newsletter, anyone who signs up before June 30th – the release date for Close To Home – will go into a draw to win one of three signed copies. All you have to do is fill in your details on the Subscribe to My Newsletter form (at the bottom of the Home page of this website) and confirm your subscription when the email appears in your inbox. But back to the blog … I’ll be posting three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For the next little while the Monday series will focus on the soundtrack I’ve selected to accompany Close to Home, touching on the themes of the book and the music I love. Flying Pony has always had a strong focus on the writing process so I’ll be continuing that each Wednesday with posts that will interest both writers and readers. On Fridays I’ll be running my series on Writing Inspirations covering my own inspirations along with guest posts from other writers. I’m also happy to take suggestions from readers so if there are any topics you’d like me to blog about, or any questions you have about...