A Little Romance: Writing A Novel With Romantic Elements

A Little Romance: Writing A Novel With Romantic Elements

As my readers know, all my novels feature a little bit of romance. Not a lot, but a little. In the publishing world this is known as ‘romantic elements’. So, since today is Valentine’s Day I thought I’d tell you why I include these elements in my stories, and why I go for a little bit or romance rather than a lot. Conflict My main characters are always conflicted. In all four of my published novels the main characters are women who are dealing with quite a bit of family drama. Some of them have issues from the past surfacing and all of them have present day conflicts that take up most of their time. Untangling their personal problems is, for me, the main point of the story. Whether that be dealing with grief, uncovering a family mystery, learning to forgive in order to move on or making a life-changing decision, all ‘my women’ have enough to keep them busy. Tension So, of course, that’s where the romance comes in: when they’re not looking, love creeps up on them. There’s no better way to complicate a character’s story than by adding a romance into the mix. Whether it’s the man of her dreams, an ‘unwanted’ former lover or someone who makes her heart sing even if she’s in denial, its absolutely guaranteed that the protagonist’s life is going to get a lot tougher. The Crossroads has three very different ‘romantic’ set ups for its three main characters. For Rose it’s the appearance of old flame David Ryan that complicates her story right from the start. Her daughter, Stephanie is...
Strong Women – In Reality And Fiction

Strong Women – In Reality And Fiction

This week I’ve been inspired by women standing up for themselves and for others in the face of what seems to be a bad B grade movie. Scenes of women marching in cities all over the world flooded the internet (see pics here) after Trump’s inauguration along with a myriad of articles, posts, tweets and images promoting sisterhood and unity. Influential women around the world have addressed the issue in person and in print. In Washington Gloria Steinhem applauded those who protested and urged women to follow their instincts. And in Sydney, writer Jane Caro urged marchers to ‘keep fighting’. On almost every continent women banded together to express their outrage and unity. In recent times the word feminism has been much maligned. Like every political or social movement there are certainly extreme versions of it, but historically it’s been the more extreme individuals among us who have most successfully effected change. And let’s face it, where would we all be today if the suffragettes hadn’t stood up for their rights and votes, or if no bras had been burnt in the 60’s? Personally, I’ve never had a problem with the word or the idea. Surely feminism is all about championing women’s rights and I’m not sure why anyone would have a problem with that. Women standing up for themselves is one of the main themes in my writing, and while I might only write commercial fiction and my books aren’t going to change the world, I’d like to think that the strength of my female characters is one the main features of my writing … In Blackwattle Lake, Eve...
Characters of The Crossroads Part 3: Family, Friends and Pigs!

Characters of The Crossroads Part 3: Family, Friends and Pigs!

This is the final post in my ‘characters of The Crossroads’ blog series. Last week you met the men and the week before, my three main characters, Rose, Stephanie and Faith. All good stories have a great support cast and The Crossroads is no exception. Rose, Stephanie and Faith all need a little help from their friends and family so I thought I’d introduce you to a few of the characters who help them along the way. Rose Since the death of her husband, Mick, and the loss of her parents Rose has been pretty much on her own – apart from daughter, Stephanie. There is her mother-in-law, Letty, but there’s no love lost between the two and Rose’s weekly visits to Letty are more than torture. Thankfully Rose does have Cleo. They’ve been friends for years and despite her own share of problems Cleo is always there for Rose, and vice versa. She lives with her son and ailing father on a remote property – along with a collection of four legged friends for extra company. There’s Tiddles (Cleo’s pet pig), Bob (a cheeky Shetland) and Suzie Q (her faithful old mare). Tiddles is ‘based on’ a real pig I met on my visit to Queensland and Bob is our very own Shetland.     Stephanie Rose and Letty are pretty much all Stephanie has in the way of extended family but she does have a soft spot for her brother-in-law Cameron, despite his estrangement from her husband. This makes for some tricky situations when Cam returns to Birralong. Steph’s bestie is Holly. The two of them have...
The Men Of The Crossroads: Sweet, Silent And Sexy

The Men Of The Crossroads: Sweet, Silent And Sexy

Last week I introduced you to the three female protagonists of The Crossroads – this week it’s the men’s turn. While they aren’t as prominent in the storyline they are crucial to the plot. And where would a Rural romance be without the love interests?  Sweet – Dave When David Ryan walks into The Crossroads Hotel, Rosemary O’Shea’s jaw drops. It’s been over thirty years since she last saw him and his arrival is definitely not a welcome one. Recently widowed, Dave has returned to Birralong to house-sit but has a yearning to make his stay more permanent. Reliable, down to earth and genuinely happy to see his old friend Rose, he is completely oblivious to the unease she feels at their meeting. There are more than a few surprises in store as Rose and Dave get to know each other again Silent – Bryce Life on the land has never been tougher for Bryce Bailey and his wife Stephanie. The drought has forced them to sell off most of their cattle and the stock that remain are getting thinner by the day. Desperate to live up to the legacy left to him by his father, Bryce has become withdrawn and sullen. Stephanie is at her wit’s end and misses the fun, romantic guy she fell in love with as a teenager. To make things worse Bryce’s estranged brother Cameron has just arrived back in town with a proposition about the property he still partly owns. How will Bryce react to his brother’s plans and what will Stephanie do to try and get him to see sense?   Sexy...
Meet The Remarkable Women Of The Crossroads

Meet The Remarkable Women Of The Crossroads

I’m a great believer in creating strong female characters. Not the kick-ass action hero kind but women who stand up for themselves and what they believe in. They may not all start out as emotional warriors but by the end of the story they have developed new strengths as a result of their experiences. The Crossroads has three protagonists so I had the challenge of making them different from each other in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, and having each of them overcome their particular flaws in order to come together as a family. Rosie O’Shea is the eldest of the women. She is the solo owner of The Crossroads Hotel, carrying on the mantle passed to her by her late husband Mick, one that is increasingly becoming both a financial and personal burden. Rosie is the kind of woman you can rely on – tough as nails on the outside but buttery soft underneath – and once she makes a promise she’s determined to keep it, even if it’s to her own detriment. Rose hasn’t been in a romantic relationship since Mick died five years ago but when David Ryan walks into the hotel it dredges up a whole lot of memories for her – ones that she had long since buried.     Stephanie Bailey, is Rose’s daughter and along with her husband Bryce runs an enormous cattle station that has been seriously affected by the drought. Stephanie faces challenges of a different kind to her mother. She too is more than capable but is feeling more and more constrained by her husband’s chauvinistic attitude. Dealing...