Today I welcome Alissa Callen to the blog. Isn’t this a gorgeous photo of Alissa?

Alissa Callen Pic (2)

Alissa’s new release is Beneath Outback Skies published by Random House.

Book cover Beneath outback skies (2)

A captivating rural romance featuring an indomitable young woman determined to save her family farm, and the city-boy who is not all he seems…Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her crippled father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile. Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…

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Alissa is a fellow horse lover and also established the Facebook Page Books for Country Girls and Guys. You can find the link along with links to connect with Alissa at the end of the interview.

Alissa Callen Horse pic (2)

Thanks for visiting Flying Pony Alissa and for sharing your writing journey.

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  1. What activities (other than writing) get your creative juices flowing?

Walking. I try to walk everyday with the dogs and whether it be in the paddocks or on a track down to the river every stroll brings with it time to think, plan and plot.

  1. What sort of writing routine do you have – disciplined or undisciplined, regular or erratic, focused or      easily distracted?

In a perfect world I’d have a disciplined and focused routine but the reality is the polar opposite. I write while the kids are at school and then try to sneak some more time in after dinner. But the best laid plans often go awry – there could be homework to be completed, farm jobs to be done or I need to visit my older two kids at boarding school. So as many New Year resolutions as I make there are just as many interruptions to establishing a set writing routine.

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so what do you do about it?

Sometimes the words won’t flow and the characters won’t come out to play but this is more a result of poor planning than writers block. Often I’ll go for a walk or do something non-writing related and then the scene will fall into place. It is amazing how the subconscious solves a problem when you least except it.

  1. Which aspects of the writing life do you most love?

The creative process. Breathing life into a blank page.

  1. Which aspects do least love (or detest!)?

Reviews. Being the eldest child I like to please everyone and adhere to the status quo but it is a fact of writing-life that there will be readers who, for various reasons, won’t connect with your characters, voice or story.

  1. What books and writers have  most influenced your own writing?

Elyne Mitchell, the Silver Brumby, series engaged me as a child and today still feel the magic of her stories. Think every author that you read proves inspirational in some way – whether by making you think about how they drew you into their fictional world or by causing you to reflect upon the perfect synchronicity of their word choices.

  1. Can you describe for us your writing process, from getting the original idea to completed manuscript?

My story will start with an image or a theme, characters will form and conflicts will be examined and then discarded until a fitting conflict-lock is reached. I’ll then become way-too-obsessed with Google seeking visual inspiration and conducting research. I’ll then sketch in plot turning points and have an idea of the black moment. Like a torch shining a little way ahead in the dark I’ll write and with each chapter the story-path ahead will become slightly more illuminated.

  1. Please describe your path to publication.

I have been writing for a long while, often taking one step forward and then three back, but it was thanks to Romance Writers of Australia that was in the right place at the right time. At the 2012 Gold Coast RWA conference I sat in on a panel where the very lovely Beverley Cousins of Random House Australia offered to look at unsolicited RWA  member’s manuscripts. So post-conference I sent off Beneath Outback Skies and was then lucky enough for my submission stars to align.

  1. What advice would you give to writers who are working towards publication?

To keep writing – even when all doors appear dead-bolted – and to keep reading. Sometimes the twists and detours that we envisage for our characters will be nothing compared to the turns that our own life journey may take.

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Book/buy link: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/alissa-callen/beneath-outback-skies-9780857980397.aspx

Face book page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alissa-Callen-Author/355366704552838

Website:  www.alissacallen.com

Rural fiction face book page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-for-Country-Girls-and-Guys/409351725807505