Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Guest Post: Writing the "Other" in Dogs of India by Polly McGee


Today on the blog I welcome debut novelist, Polly McGee, whose novel, Dogs of India is available in bookstores now.

One of the things that intrigued me most was that Polly had included the perspectives of animals in her book (which I thought was quite novel) and she's here today to speak a little about that.

Polly classes herself as one part writer, and many parts assorted thinker, do-er, talker, eater, drinker, explorer and dog wrangler. She has worked in kitchens, bars and restaurants from frantic to fancy, managed multi-million dollar innovation grants programs, worked with hundreds of start-ups to refine their business ideas and source funding, and championed causes from a variety of soapboxes, lecterns and stages.

Gender studies and women’s rights locally and globally feature strongly in her academic work, as does the expression of identity through story and narrative.

She is a passionate believer in philanthropy and the power of giving, and strongly advocates a collective community approach to wealth and skills distribution.

Polly is a bowerbird for technology and innovation and a founder of entrepreneur support organisation Start-up Tasmania. She loves crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and has been known to crowdsurf like no one is watching.

She emphatically believes that the answer to most of life’s question can be solved with meditation, barrel aged Negronis and patting retired greyhounds, in no particular order.

Dogs of India is available for purchase at the following links:

___________________________________________________

Aside from actually writing a novel, I had two big challenges as a writer in Dogs of India: one was writing a place that was intrinsically foreign to me, and the other was writing the voice of the voiceless. 

India is a country that has fascinated Western writers and artists for centuries. In reading a lot of Indian-English fiction, and fiction by Anglo writers about India, there was a well established path that was worn in the page before my story came along of how this tension was commonly negotiated. 

Writing about someone else’s culture is a fine balance, the lens of the writer is so subjective, so layered with experience and beliefs, so applied topically. I was determined in writing a story about India, that I didn’t rewrite the story of India in some patronising colonisation of a country that had already had its fair share of western intervention both colonial and commercial. All I could do was bring an awareness to the scenes, to the characters and descriptions, and try to describe what I saw with the eye and emotion of what Buddhism would call the observer – not ascribing value or judgment, just describing what was, what is, in context. 

Perhaps I cheated by having a western character in the mix, but this was consciously neutralised in terms of having a privileged or prioritised voice by using an omniscient narrator and multiple points of view to tell the story. Lola, the Australian character, acted in the narrative as a signpost of how naive and immature the Australian culture is in the face of ancient civilisations and belief systems.

The other piece to be unravelled as a writer in creating Dogs of India was how not to give the dogs or monkeys a human voice. I didn’t want to animate them, to give them dialogue, as in this instance, I couldn’t presume to know what that voice was. This was really hard, as to give them the gravitas needed as major characters, and critical characters to the spine of the story, they had to progress their own narrative arc complete with emotions, drama and pace, without the luxury of words or backstories. 

The animals ended up being driven somewhat by action. Paksheet, Rocky and Yanki are often moving to different places in the narrative, they are agents of dynamic change in scenes, and their actions then create the character, their value and essence and move the story along. One advantage animals have is they can physically take the reader to different vantage points, and show them a different view of the world, which in turn, helps us understand our own world view.

About the Book

Dogs, monkeys, corruption and sexual politics: Dogs of India draws on the complex, chaotic and colourful tradition of Indian storytelling in a spicy literary blend of Animal Farm vs. Holy Cow via Bollywood.

Revenge. A dish best served cold. Or if you’re Sydney native Lola Wedd, with a broken heart and a life in chaos, a dish served up by heading to India to marry a total stranger as part of an international visa scam.

Lola naïvely thought she would ‘find herself’ in India. Instead she is enmeshed in a drama worthy of Bollywood, starring an abandoned Pariah dog, a dead civil servant, a vengeful actor, a suicidal housewife, a boutique hotel owner, a blushing chauffeur, an absent groom, an ambitious girl journalist and a megalomaniac monkey.

As Lola begins to understand the consequences of her choices, she ignites a series of events that lead to a Diwali Festival more explosive than anyone in New Delhi could have imagined.

If you would like further information on Polly and her book, please visit the following links:

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Aussie Author Round-Up: Lorraine Campbell, The Butterfly Enigma


It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Australian writer, Lorraine Campbell, to my blog today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the publication of her third novel, The Butterfly Enigma, which was released on the 8th December.

Lorraine is a licensed shorthand writer who worked for seventeen years as a court reporter with the Victorian Government Reporting Service, providing verbatim transcripts of Supreme Court criminal trials and in other jurisdictions. She has also been a freelance court reporter in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

She has an Arts Degree from Monash University, majoring in Philosophy and English Literature, and has studied French and German for a number of years.

Her previous novels are Resisting the Enemy and In Mortal Danger and she has had articles published in On Line Opinion, News.com.au, and Girl.com.au.

A resident of Melbourne's bayside, Lorraine adores the opera, theatre and movies. She also likes to keep fit and runs every morning along the beach and in the local parks. What she really enjoys most is lying on a chaise longue, popping chocs and reading crime thrillers - or absolutely anything by Alan Furst.

Please feel free to pull up a stump and get to know Lorraine a bit more.

Before I continue though, I’d just like to thank JAM PR, for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and making this interview possible.

Lorraine, it’s really great to have you here to celebrate the release of The Butterfly Enigma.

Thank you so much. It’s an absolute pleasure to be here with you.

Please share a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming an author.

From my earliest childhood, I’ve been an avid reader. Books have always been an important part of my life. But it was only when I went back to University and did an Arts degree – having to write long essays on all manner of subjects – that I discovered my love of writing. But, of course, I didn’t just suddenly emerge fully formed as a writer. It takes a long time to learn the craft of writing. The other day I came across an early draft of my first book. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!  The stilted dialogue, the clichés, the overblown descriptions… But it showed me just how far I had come since those early days.

I recently finished reading The Butterfly Enigma but for those who are wanting to purchase it, would you mind giving us a breakdown?

Essentially, it’s about one young woman’s desire to unlock the secrets of her past and her quest for justice and retribution. As a young child, Lena is found wandering the streets of wartime Paris. No-one knows her name or where she comes from. Australia in the “Swinging Sixties” Lena is working in the Law Courts. One day she hears a man’s voice. A voice that sounds hauntingly familiar. A voice that chills her to the core. Is it possible that this man has something to do with her unknowable past? Lena embarks on a search for more. And slowly, layer by layer, the past is peeled away, revealing a picture of evil involving thousands of lives and touching on Lena’s own personal tragedy.

Being a former Barristers’ secretary, I was absolutely fascinated by your main character, Lena and her environment. Can you give us some more insight into her and the world she inhabits?

The world Lena finds herself inhabiting is one that most members of the public never get to see. Working as a court reporter in the criminal jurisdiction, it comes as a shock to be confronted with the dark and violent underside of society. But in time, like all those who work in the criminal courts – judges, barristers, police, court staff – Lena acquires the ability to deal with all the sordidness and violence in a matter-of-fact-way. After all, she has a job to do. Providing a verbatim transcript of court proceedings requires intense focus and concentration.

Considering the subject matter contained within the gorgeous cover, what kind of research did you need to carry out for this novel?

First and foremost, I needed to know all the details of the post war DP scheme – the Displaced Persons Immigration Scheme– whereby Australia agreed to accept refugees from Eastern and Central Europe. How it came about that so many Nazi war criminals slipped through the immigration net. And then later on, of course, why successive governments did nothing about it. One of my most important reference books was the densely documented 650-page tome by Mark Aarons – War Criminals Welcome. If you read this book, you will never be the same again. It was after reading this book that I knew I had to write about this shameful part of Australia’s history.

Having regard to your past novels, are there certain characters you would like to revisit or is there another theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Well, Lena was a minor character who appeared in Book 2 of my Resisting the Enemy series. Although The Butterfly Enigma is a stand-alone book, I really enjoyed having that connection with my previous books. So I’m thinking for my next book, I might do that again. There are certainly a couple of characters in The Butterfly Enigma that I would really like to revisit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Everything, really. Every day, sitting down at the computer and starting to write, presents a new challenge for me. Some days the writing flows freely and you lose all sense of time. Other days you can get bogged down for hours, trying to get one sentence right. It’s like that wonderful quote of Oscar Wilde “I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.”

Do you as a writer have a motto or maxim? What is it?

Never give up. When you start writing a book, you really don’t know what you’re getting into. To do it well requires an enormous amount of time and effort. If you’re really serious about being a writer, then you just have to keep trying and believing and writing, long after any sane person would have given up.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

Not every character requires a detailed backstory.

Any tips on how to get through that dreaded Writers’ Block?

Go for a long, long walk, preferably along the beach. There’s something about the salty sea air that lifts your spirits. If not, then in a park somewhere. Exercising the body seems to have the effect of allowing your thoughts to run free.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer it?

I’ve always wanted to be asked about how I name my characters. For me this is one of the most important – and fun – aspects of writing a novel. I like to use names that are distinctive. Not too weird, though, or impossible to pronounce. And I try not to use names using the same first letter, or have the same ‘tone.’

I read a book recently that had a Zack and a Zeke. Too confusing. Often it takes me a while to get my characters’ names just right. But you can’t leave it too long. I was some way into the first draft of Resisting the Enemy when I decided to change the name of one of my characters: Marguerite to Jacqueline. It was impossible to do. Marguerite was already fixed in my brain as a living, breathing person. There are also names I’ve used that have a special meaning for me. Like a man I was once madly in love with – a love that remained forever unrequited. Pathetic, I know, but I still get a buzz out of seeing his name there.

Lorraine it’s been fantastic having you here today and I wish you all the best of luck with your novel. Before you go though, would you mind sharing with us an excerpt from The Butterfly Enigma?

Not at all. It would be my pleasure. This excerpt is from the first chapter.

‘How long before we reach the Crozon Peninsula?’‘About another hour, all going well. We’ll anchor offshore. Take you and your daughter in by rowboat. There’s an inlet, not far from a small fishing village called Camaret-sur-mer.’The woman looked up at him and smiled hesitantly. ‘Please… at least take the butterfly necklace. I know it’s the one that really caught your eye.’‘We’ve been paid enough for your passage,’ Valdéz said gruffly. Where you’re going, you’ll need all your resources.’They stood there in silence, leaning against the rail. The only sounds were the creaking of derricks and the steady beat of engines as they steamed across a silent sea.Valdéz turned his head slightly and observed the woman’s profile. The wind was riffling her long black hair, lifting it up, exposing the nape of her neck. How come he had once thought her merely attractive? She was really quite beautiful. He wanted to reach out and touch her. Try to convince her once more to stay with the ship until they reached Lisbon. The thought of her and the child roaming around the French countryside, alone in hostile territory, filled his heart with dread.He stared down at the grey waters of the Atlantic. It was no use. By now he knew her well enough. His entreaties would fall on deaf ears. He was about to check his watch when he caught a whiff of diesel fumes. Heard the low rumble of engines. He put a hand on the woman’s forearm.She turned to him. ‘What is it, what’s the matter?’ Her voice was anxious.Valdéz strained his eyes into the darkness. Powerful engines running on diesel. No visible outline against the skyline. Could only be one thing.He tightened his grip on the woman’s arm. ‘Get down below… no, wait!’ He pushed her towards one of the huge ventilator fans. ‘Behind here.’ ‘If they took a torpedo, she’d have a better chance here on deck.Mr Maqueda, the first officer, came clattering down the steel steps from the bridge.‘Do you see it?’ he called excitedly. ‘It’s out there somewhere, following us.’The two men stood at the rail, peering into the gloom. Then suddenly they saw it: an ominous grey shape, low in the water, just beyond their running lights. Moments later the submarine loomed up alongside them.

Lena, the lost child...
Found wandering the streets of wartime Paris. No-one knows her real name or where she came from. 

Australia in the 'Swinging Sixties'.
Lena is working in the Melbourne Law Courts. One day in court she hears a man's voice. A voice that sounds hauntingly familiar. A voice that sends icy chills down her spine. Is it possible that this man has something to do with her unknowable past?

Lena embarks on a search for more. A newspaper story. A history. A connection. And slowly, layer by layer, the past is peeled away, revealing a picture of evil involving thousands of lives and touching on Lena's own personal tragedy.

The Butterfly Enigma ranges from the submarine-patrolled sea lanes of the Baltic to the courtrooms of mid-sixties Australia, to the island of Crete, to Paris, Tel Aviv, and Rio de Janeiro. A gripping story of one young woman's search for her lost past. Above all, her passionate and overwhelming desire for justice and retribution.

The Butterfly Enigma can be purchased from the following links:

Aussie Book Review: Tears of the Cheetah by T.M. Clark


“The fight to save the cheetahs is a race against time.

Mackenzie came to South Africa to escape the trauma of her past and build herself a bright new future: love is the last thing on her mind. But she’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore her feelings for the strong-minded Cole, who runs the game reserve for cheetahs just outside her town. Cole has made no secret of his feelings for her, but he realises that Mackenzie cannot be rushed so he is prepared to wait.

However, neither could have predicted the terrifying events that are about to overtake them. When Cole saves Mackenzie from a vicious attack, it is only the beginning of an ever-spiralling maelstrom of violence.

Someone is decimating Africa’s cheetah population, and when the poaching threat comes to their door, Mackenzie and Cole have only one option: they must fight to save the animals and life they love.”

Did you know that the Cheetah (also known as “the Cat that cries”) is one of the most difficult big cats to breed and that the process is a huge challenge to conservation because the female makes the choices when it comes to mating?

While this is not what T.M. Clark impresses upon us in this novel, I thought I’d just let you have a fact! Instead, she focuses on the seedier side of illicit game hunting and brings home to us the sad truth that the fastest land animal in the world is losing its most important race – the race for survival!

An estimated 100,000 cheetahs lived throughout Africa and parts of the Middle East and Central Asia at the turn of the century and there are now only about 10,000 cheetahs left, with South Africa being home to fewer than 1,500 of these magnificent cats. Without the conservation measures that are now being taken (and have been for a number of years), those well-known Cheetah tears will soon dry up and become just a distant memory.

Part of the success of the Cheetah population thriving is the need to have reserves free of predator competition and this is where Cole, Tina's main male protagonist, comes in. Dedicated to his work with the Cheetahs and his fierce determination to halt the indiscriminate capture and removal of cheetahs from the wild, he offers them a home where they are able to live without fear of poaching and other predatory game such as lions, enabling their population to have the best chance of survival.

Tina's female protagonist, Mackenzie, is an American girl, who has been running for the last two years from her past, the grief of losing someone close to her and a family that became too cloying for her free-spirited nature. Like the Cheetah, Mackenzie is trying to win the most important race of her life – in her case, it is one of self-sufficiency and the need for independence.

Together, Cole, Mackenzie and the plethora of distinct characters around them make a formidable team when both Mackenzie and the Cheetahs are threatened. And there just might be a beautiful love story to soothe the adrenalin.

Having had the pleasure of reading every one of Tina's books since she was first published, I find myself waiting eagerly for her annual contribution to the literary world and, one of the things I love about her writing is that, except for Shooting Butterflies, she tends to place a stranger in her South African settings. In doing so, she allows her audience to see life through a non-resident's eyes and learn about the realities faced by the country’s people on a daily basis.

Tina even goes so far as to have that character relate its history which, in turn, educates those readers who have never had the opportunity to live in a country that is holding on by threads. Weaving fact into fiction, she not only validates the realities of daily life but showcases the largest threats to both wildlife and humanity in this country.

The intensity of T.M. Clark’s storytelling is as powerful as the pulsating heart of the Continent of Africa itself - from the booming mini-bus taxi industry, overcrowded buses, illegal shebeens, informal settlements where crime is rife and the markets where illicit trading can occur at any time, to the spectacular scenery of the open veld and mountainous region of the small farming town of Underberg in the Drakensberg Mountains, Tears of the Cheetah transported me right back to the place I left seven years ago.

If you enjoy books by Tony Park or Bryce Courtenay, don’t hesitate to pick this one up.

I wish to thank Harlequin Australia and Morey Media for providing me with a hard copy of this novel.

About the Author

Born in Zimbabwe, Tina Marie completed her primary school years at boarding school in Bulawayo, but on weekends and holidays, her time was spent exploring their family ranch in Nyamandhlovu, normally on the back of her horse.

Her teenage years were totally different to her idyllic childhood. After her father died, the family of 5 women moved to Kokstad, a rural town at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, where she lived in the boarding school hostel as her home. In winter she walked to school in the snow and could never get warm, and in summer she sweated having to wear an impractical, but smart, blazer on the same trail.

She began writing fiction when she moved to the UK while being a stay at home mum to her two sons, following a suggestion from her husband Shaun during a trip to Paris, and she hasn’t looked back.

Now living on a small island near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, Tina Marie combines her passion for story telling with her love for Africa. When not running around after the men in her life, she gets to enjoy her hobbies, which include boating, reading, sewing, travel, gardening, and lunching with her friends. (Not necessarily in that order!)

Passionate about Africa, different cultures and wildlife, most of Tina Marie’s books are set somewhere on that ancient continent.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Aussie Book Review: The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns


“How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them?

When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble.

The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters.

Dealing with their bereft father who is determined to sell the family motel, their loves old and new and a series of troublesome decisions doesn’t make life any easier, but when they go through their mother’s possessions and uncover the shocking secret of an old family curse, they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

A warm and wise novel about secrets revealed, finding your soulmate and the unique bond between sisters.”

Well known international bestselling author Rachael Johns deviates slightly from her usual rural romance writing to bring us a story about sisterhood, sibling rivalry, love, relationships and those unbreakable bonds called family ties.

As with real life, these girls’ lives are anything but idyllic – Madeleine, the oldest and an obstetrician who lives in America is in love with a man who is engaged to another; Lucinda, a teacher in Perth feels that her marriage has reached a crossroads since she has failed to conceive a baby that her and her husband so desperately want; Charlie, the free-spirited sister who lives in Melbourne, has always felt different and can’t get past the fact that she’s not as successful as her sisters; and Abigail, the youngest, is a violinist in London who has, unbeknownst to the rest of her family, lost her job.

Giving us the year that follows that first Christmas without their mother, Rachael takes us on a journey into all their lives – the good, the bad and some ugly truths. Shifting the perspective between all four sisters, we see them try to console their father, rival one another and reflect on the paths their lives have taken. Emotions run high and the twists and turns in their relationships keep them on their toes, not to mention the fact that their father has decided that he wants to sell the family motel.

It is whilst going through their mother’s possessions that they find a notation mentioning a family curse that will be the catalyst for a lifelong secret to be revealed and will force the sisters to learn more about themselves, each other, their family as a whole, and love.

A popular rural romance author with myriads of fans, this latest takes Rachael Johns’ storytelling ability to new heights and is certainly going to earn her more avid fans. Readers will become so caught up in the lives of the four women and their respective dilemmas that they won’t be able to stop turning the pages to find out what happens next.

All four sisters are consistent characters throughout the story and hold their own in moving the plot forward. They are all interesting and Rachael has done a fine job of humanising them and allowing them to grow in their own way.

Of course, what would a Rachael Johns’ novel be without some romance! While the sisters’ personal journeys make up a large part of the story, they each have their own love troubles to offer as well. 

Even though the tone of the book is light and breezy, with Rachael’s signature humour embedded in the narrative, there are genuine real-life issues that they need to wade through such as bereavement, fertility issues, infidelity and unrequited love and, if there’s one thing this book asks us to consider, it’s that we should never take one another at face value because, most of the time, each of us is fighting an inner battle that nobody knows anything about – not even those closest to us.

I’m genuinely excited by the path that Rachael seems to have taken in her writing, calling it "contemporary life lit" and, while I love her rural romance novels, I cannot wait to see where she is going to take me next.

If you’re looking for a great summer read, I think you’ve just found it!

I wish to thank JAM PR for providing me with a hard copy for review.

About the Author

Rachael Johns’ success is a testament to her skill as a writer, but also to her ability to really connect with her readers.

A fiction writer since she was seventeen, Rachael was signed by Harlequin in an enviable five-book deal in 2014 and since then her sales in Australia have tripled and she is published internationally. 

The Patterson Girls is Rachael Johns’ seventh book with Harlequin.

Voted one of Booktopia’s Top Ten Favourite Australian authors after the publication of her first book Jilted, Rachael is a mum of three small boys, a supermarket worker by day and a bestselling writer by night.

She lives in a small town in Western Australia.


Monday, 14 December 2015

Aussie Book Review: The Perfumer's Secret by Fiona McIntosh


"'I am at one with Nature's perfection – her beauty, her colours, her fragrances – and she has allowed me to glimpse it in a man.'

On the eve of the First World War, Fleurette, the only daughter of the wealthy Delacroix perfume dynasty, is being forced to marry a man she loathes, Aimery De Lasset, head of the pre-eminent perfume manufacturer in France. It is only the cathedral bells tolling the rally to the frontlines that save her from sharing his bed.

When she receives an unexpected letter from Aimery's estranged brother, Fleurette is left holding a terrible secret, and the sparks of a powerful passion. Her discoveries risk shattering the two families and their perfume empires, bringing tragedy down on them all.

The Perfumer's Secret is an intoxicating feast for the senses, a highly passionate and dramatic story of duty, deception and desire from the beloved, bestselling author Fiona McIntosh"

Being a fragrance enthusiast myself, who can't walk past the scent of Dolce & Gabbana wafting on the air without it evoking fond memories of my wedding day, when I was asked to review this latest by Fiona Mcintosh, I just knew that I could not turn it down and I'm glad I didn't because the concept of scent throughout this novel is pervasive.

Her protagonist, Fleurette, is a gifted nose whose biggest dream is to immerse herself in the family’s business – alas, she is a woman living in a male-dominated industry with her older brother, Henri, at the helm of running not only the family’s perfume empire but seemingly her life as well.

Without a choice, Fleurette is forced by Henri to marry the head of the largest perfume manufacturer in France, Aimery De Lasset. In doing this, Henri hopes that he will be able to secure the Delacroix perfume empire’s future by bringing the two established perfumeries together. The only thing that nobody foresaw was that the bells of war would be tolled before the marriage could be consummated.

For Fleurette, this brings somewhat of a reprieve as her new husband and brothers ride off to defend their country and she is left to manage the two estates – but there are other forces at play. When she receives a letter from Sebastian, Aimery’s estranged brother, in which he reveals a closely held family secret, her whole world changes dramatically.

I am fascinated by historical fiction, more particularly the years leading up to and including those of the two big wars and, if there’s one thing I love about Fiona’s writing , it’s that she always brings her audience escapist stories about these times gone by.

The Perfumer’s Secret is no exception and, in taking us back to 1915 Grasse, France’s perfume capital, Fiona gives us fabulous insight into the creation of fragrances, building on accurate research and, by the sounds of it, a genuine passion for perfume-making whilst also making us look at how an enormous family secret can overshadow the next generation.

Not only does Fiona consistently deliver in the area of exotic locales that live and breathe off the pages but she also has a knack for drawing interesting characters and I really enjoyed Fleurette - not only is she beautiful on the outside, but on the inside too – and, even though I am always overcome with sadness at how the fairer sex were suppressed into living lives of subservience in those times, I genuinely admired the courage and wilfulness that this intelligent and gifted young woman displayed in fighting for what she wanted.

A supreme storyteller with an endless passion for research, Fiona’s writing is rich, her prose evocative and, although Nightingale remains one of my firm favourites, in The Perfumer’s Secret, she has written an alluring novel that is full of life in a time of war and the colour of flowers in bloom with the sillage, like Fleurette’s perfume, permeating the pages.

I wish to thank the publisher, Penguin Books, for providing me with a hard copy for review.

About the Author

Fiona McIntosh is an internationally bestselling author of novels for adults and children.

Fiona states that "It’s been a curious pathway to writing novels having spent years in PR, sales/marketing for the travel industry and including 15 years running a travel magazine with my husband. I was fortunate that my first attempt at a creative tale won the notice of a global publisher and I’ve been writing fiction ever since and across various genres although I am best known for my adult fantasy and my historical adventure-romances.

She loves watching movies but these days she roams the world drawing inspiration for her writing and derives immense pleasure from reading loads of research books for her historical novels 

Fiona also runs a series of highly respected fiction masterclasses and there's not a great deal of space in her busy life for hobbies but she does make time to bake (usually very late), exercise (usually early), and to ritually make a great coffee brew daily - coffee is her vice .. along with dark chocolate. 

If coffee and chocolate are her vices, then her addictions are winter boots…and Paris.

Although South Australia is home, she admits her best writing is done from the peace of Tasmania.