Book Launch Celebration For The Crossroads

Book Launch Celebration For The Crossroads

The Crossroads arrived on bookstore shelves yesterday but the party started two days earlier when we officially launched the book at The Coal Coast Emporium. My last launch was for Close To Home was 18 months ago and so much has happened since then that it felt fitting to celebrate once more. Each book is its own entity and there’s never a guarantee that there will be another one so it was great to share the excitement with family and friends as my fourth book baby readied itself to arrive in the world. This time I decided to do a local launch. It’s been twelve months since we moved into the Illawarra area, south of Sydney, and I’ve developed a great relationship with the owners of the bookstore where I teach writing classes. It was lovely to see familiar faces popping in to join the festivities.   My gorgeous publicist, Laura Boon,  from Hachette did the introductions and – in the absence of a formally written one – I managed an off-the-cuff speech and only cried once. Not that I’d intended crying at all, but despite my resolve, emotions were running a little high. I can’t tell you how humbled I was to have so many people there and how grateful I am to all those who bought books on the day.   Loads of pics were taken and I’ll be adding a slideshow to my Facebook page. There was plenty of partying afterwards and quite a few champagne corks popped. I’ll never get over the buzz of having one of my books out there and I hope readers...
Escape To The Outback: A New Setting In The Crossroads

Escape To The Outback: A New Setting In The Crossroads

One of the things I love about writing rural fiction is the opportunity escape to idyllic settings – both physically during the research phase and in my imagination during the writing of the book. Taking readers along for the ride is an added bonus. My first three novels were all set on or near the south coast of NSW. This is an area I know well, having spent lazy summer holidays there for almost twenty years as I grew up, and then being lucky enough to have my own holiday house there for the last seventeen years. There’s something a little wild and untamed about the south coast that appeals to my love of solitude. But there are also rolling green hills, cows, horses and long, stretches of sand strung along a coast line of cool, clear ocean. When it came time to write novel number four, my publisher suggested I opt for a different location: the outback. The idea set my teeth on edge – not because I had an aversion to going west but because it was a landscape I’d never spent much time in. As a writer I need to familiarize myself with a setting before I can try and capture it on the page. That opportunity came when I headed off to do an author talk in Hughenden in central Queensland. While I was there I was lucky enough to visit a number of outlying properties. Seeing the dusty, red stretches of soil, the sparse, dry vegetation and the ragged looking cattle – suffering greatly from the effects of the drought – was a truly...
Cover Love: How A Book Cover Like The Crossroads Is Created

Cover Love: How A Book Cover Like The Crossroads Is Created

Have you ever wondered how a book cover is created? Readers often ask, so in this post I’ll explain how The Crossroads came to have what I think is my favourite of my four published novels. While a (very) few publishers do photoshoots for their book covers most spend hours trawling image libraries for the perfect cover shot. Photographers add their images to these libraries – places like istock, gettyimages, Ozimages – and anyone can log in and buy the photos. The images aren’t free – there is a fee that allows the buyer to use the picture for their own purpose, effectively taking ownership of the image. Many publishers – both traditional and independent – use these libraries to find their cover images. This is why you might sometimes see the same person or setting on the covers of a number of books in the same genre. Rural Romance is the perfect example. You’ll see very similar looking cottages on a number of the covers. And in the case of myself, Jennie Jones and Alissa Callen, you’ll actually find the same girl on the front cover.   While these covers differ in many ways it’s obvious that the same girl has been used on all three. This is because a photographer will upload a whole variety of images to the photo library using the same model in various poses. The publisher purchases just the one image – hence the similarities and variations. When a genre becomes popular it’s inevitable that some of the books are going to have the same cover girls (and men). A big part of the marketing...
The Crossroads – Inspirations

The Crossroads – Inspirations

In last week’s blog post I talked about the way The Crossroads grew from the seed of an idea into a completed novel. One of the things I mentioned was waking up in the night with the three characters almost fully formed and a loose plot already outlined. Today I wanted to share more of that particular event and how it came about. I’m a great believer in serendipity – the stars aligning and people and events appearing in your life at just the right time, even when it might seem accidental. When my publisher had suggested I write a novel set in the outback, I baulked. While I know it’s possible to write about places you’ve never been I really need to experience a place before I can (hopefully) do it justice. So I put her request on the backburner. Not long after, a lovely librarian contacted me and invited me to do an author talk in Hughenden. After googling Hughenden and finding it was in the middle of Queensland I kindly suggested she had the wrong person. I lived in Sydney, why would she possibly want me all the way out there? Turns out she didn’t have the wrong person. She loved my books and the local Council had funds for drought relief so the library could host an author talk. Before too long a date was set for me to visit the town.     I googled Hughenden, a quaint little town surrounded by red dirt in the centre of the dinosaur trail. Then that outback novel idea came off the backburner. Research on the drought...
Going To Print – Growing The Seed Of An Idea Into A Novel

Going To Print – Growing The Seed Of An Idea Into A Novel

Last Friday my latest novel, The Crossroads went off to the printers ahead of its November 29 release date. As always (with me) it was a race to the finish line but (as always) I got there in the end with more than a little help from a few trusted readers who provided me with honest, constructive feedback on the drafts, my wonderful publisher who fielded all my ‘I can’t do this’ calls and kept up the encouragement, and my super-calm and perceptive editor who kept nudging me in the right direction. Now that I’m starting to think – very vaguely – about the next book, I’ve been pondering this whole process of how an idea germinates, grows into a plot and blooms into a completed novel. It’s something I thought readers might be interested in too so here’s an overview of how the process worked with The Crossroads. Sometime last September, inspired by my publisher’s request to write a novel set ‘somewhere in the outback with a windmill’ I began researching the drought in Queensland. I also began nutting out ideas for characters and checking out the town of Hughenden where I’d been invited to do an author talk. Unable to sleep one night I dozed into that twilight state between waking and dreaming and the story of three women in one family appeared in my consciousness, each character almost fully formed and the story itself roughly sketched. Not wanting to lose the idea I sat up, grabbed a pen and paper and wrote furiously for an hour or more. When I woke the next day and read...
Back In The Saddle After Finishing The Crossroads

Back In The Saddle After Finishing The Crossroads

Lovely to be back at the blog again after a long few months of revising and editing my new novel The Crossroads. If you haven’t seen the cover yet here’s a peek:     Hope you love it as much as I do! I’d like to say that writing my fourth novel was easier than the previous three but, while the process had been different for each of them, they have all had their challenges, Over the coming weeks and months I’ll be sharing some details on The Crossroads, including where the idea came from, my inspirations for the story and setting and some of the highs and lows of the writing process. Right now that there I’m taking a little time off to get back to doing some of the (other) things I love. You might (or might not) remember that just over four years ago we welcomed a new fur baby into our family. This is Rio with his mum Bridget when he was just a few weeks old.     He spent his childhood in Wagga and Milton, learning the ropes from some of his elders and being very lovingly trained by my daughter, who is an extraordinary horse-person. As a youngster he came away from the National Quarter Horse Championships with a stash of ribbons but since then he’s been pretty much enjoying the quiet life.     Now it’s time for him to show us what he’s got. He is currently with a trainer who is doing a wonderful job of teaching him all about Western Pleasure. A few weeks ago I rode him for...