Welcome and thanks for treading the boards with us today!
1. Are you inspired most by places, people or experiences and how do these work their way into your writing?
I think places Susanne. I’m not sure if that’s what most of your ‘guest stars’ say, but currently it seems to be places that inspire me most, and then probably experiences. I was born in the Margaret River area of West Australia and then 12 years ago I moved to the Adelaide Hills; and in the last month I’ve moved back to Margaret River. Wine is a common industry in both those areas, and vineyards are a great landmark of these regions. So far, all the stories and WIPs I have relate to the wine industry in some way. I am partial to a nice white, (or red) err… (or rosé) wine. And did I mention my love of Sparkling?? That’s Sparkling whites and, Sparkling reds…
We are kindred spirits, Lily! I fully understand how the Adelaide Hills and the fabulous wineries inspire.
2. Please share one of your favourite moments of inspiration with us.
Well. Having just said ‘places’ are my inspiration, the most recent inspiration was an ‘experience.’ Hubby and I were driving with the kids through the great little tourist town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills when Hubby hit the picks (slang for sending all of us through the windscreen as he braked rather violently) because a Ducati bike for sale in someone’s front yard had caught his attention. Lo and behold, a week or so later I saw a Call for Submissions from Carina Press for novellas with a theme of ‘Harleys and Holidays’. The bike didn’t have to be a Harley, and I made it a Ducati. But I thought to myself, what if the hero braked to check out the motorbike just as the heroine was walking down the road to buy it… what would happen then. So that event is the inspiration behind my current WIP, Goodbye River Road.
Oh, did I mention I once used all my raffle tickets to try to win a ride on a Harley? I did (win it that is!) and it was fantastic.
3. How did you come up with the idea of [Goodbye River Road]?
4. How do you come up with your characters’ names?
I don’t know. They just come to me. In another book, I called my hero Dexter (Dex) the entire way through and then changed him with a global change to Seth. I think that was in my Deadwood phase where I had a crush on Seth Bullock. (That crush remains! Timothy Olyphant is hot!)
5. Who would you cast for a movie/TV series as your main characters if given the chance?
Err… why do I keep answering the next question with the previous answer??? J
Actually, it wouldn’t be Timothy Olyphant as Owen in Goodbye River Road. Owen is more broad/stocky and Timothy is fairly lean. For Owen, I have a picture of Sam Worthington (Avatar) in my head. For Olivia (Liv), someone a bit more pixie-like. Maybe the girl who plays Alice in Twilight, Ashley Greene.
6. If you could pick a soundtrack to match your main character’s life, what would it be?
Well, Liv has a gay brother who died several years back (the Ducati bike I mention earlier will turn out to be the gay brother’s… and Liv wants to buy it back). So, there’s a wonderful song out at the moment called Same Love, by Mackelmore. The lyrics are excellent.
7. What is your favourite holiday?
Susanne you are making me laugh! There is some dialogue in my debut book, His Brand Of Beautiful released this month by Escape Publishing where my hero, Tate is asking heroine Christina, this same question. She gives the same answer I would, namely: “A good hotel, a good book, a swimming pool, and some type of exotic drink with a fluffy umbrella stuffed in the top. I do nothing, really well.”
You’ll be joining Juanita Kees and me for a Fluffy Duck then?
8. Do you read reviews of your books? What do you do when you read a not-so-nice one?
I am such a babe in the woods, I really can’t answer this question. On 19/2 I saw my first review of His Brand Of Beautiful by a book blogger who gave it 4 of 5 stars and called it ‘captivating’… so I was thrilled with that. What I hope to do when I read the ‘not-so-nice’ ones is grow a very thick skin, take it on board if there is anything constructive and forget it fast, if not.
9. How many times were you turned down before you finally got published?
I’m not exactly sure, but I know there was no Agent who was ever even remotely interested in it. It was only once I started querying publishers direct that I got any attention. Kate Cuthbert from Escape was the first editor to ever request a Full. Since then, I’ve had four more requests for Fulls, and two offers for publication for His Brand Of Beautiful, one of which was Kate at Escape. I’ve literally (Saturday night) just submitted Goodbye River Road to two publishers. So I’m on that train again.
And best of luck with it – can’t wait to read about the Ducati!
10. What reason(s) did the publishers give for their rejection of your manuscript?
The only two pieces of feedback I remember were from an Agent: “The story lacked depth and characterisation.” That was a long time ago and it gave me good feedback to work on. And from Harlequin in the US, also a very long time ago: “While parts of the story were intriguing, the POV switches were jarring at a time when we mostly want to get to know and concentrate on the main characters”… something like that anyway. They were both good bits of feedback and they were done very ‘nicely’… even though I still felt rather… err… crushed at the time.
11. Who is your literary hero?
I love John Sandford books. I love his hero, Lucas Davenport, in the Prey series.
12. Who do you most admire and why? OR If you could meet anyone and spend an hour with them alive or dead who and why?
Can I pick an animal? I am absolutely enamoured with Black Caviar at the moment. I admire her greatly for having a great big butt and a big heart and running dang fast and I’d love to spend an hour just watching her do her stuff.
13. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
Okay, at the risk of ruining any cred I never had, I have a few here. These are all books that I’ve owned for many years and that I re-read over the years. First is the series of Earth’s Children by Jean M Auel. I’ve read all of these, although I only own the first four books. Clan of the Cave Bear, Valley of the Horses, The Mammoth Hunters and Plains of Passage. This story of Ayla’s journey was just fascinating from both when I was a teenager, and right through my early adulthood. It’s probably five or so years since I read them now, but they’re all dog-eared and crinkled with use. Her last two books didn’t do it for me at all. They were so long-winded and repetitive, I almost gave up. Second: Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts collaborated on a series of fantasy books called The Empire Series starring Mara of the Acoma. They fascinated me twenty years ago and they’re also books I’ve re-read. And last, but not least, I got suckered into Twilight in 2008-2009. I was pregnant with my second son and I’d just seen the Twilight movie, before I’d read any of the books. I just fell in love with the whole concept and about that time, got diagnosed with gestational diabetes… this meant I had to keep having two-hour glucose tolerance blood tests in a doctor’s surgery where I had strict instructions to ‘sit quietly and read’… Oh! Joy! Permission to read! So I started devouring the Twilight series in between having a nurse legally remove my blood! Kind of suitable dontcha think? So I’ve read and re-read the Twilight books too. I think the story is wonderful and I don’t care if critics think Meyer can’t write.
Loved the early Jean M Auel books too, and there is a certain irony in ‘giving’ blood while reading vampire characters. Lucky it wasn’t True Blood!
14. What do you need to set the mood for you to write?
Quiet! And permission to write. (I feel constantly guilty that my writing takes time away from my kids and my husband.)
15. If there is one genre that you have not written in yet, but would love to try writing a book in that specific genre, what would it be?
Probably fantasy or paranormal. As I said in one of the answers above, as a teenager, I devoured Fantasy books. I’d like to create a world one day.
16. How many blurbs did you have to write before the final one?
Not that many. I had trouble initially making sure I wasn’t writing a mini synopsis. The blurb is more about the ‘sizzle’ isn’t it, not a synopsis telling everyone what happens.
Great distinction between blurb and synopsis!
17. If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? And why?
I’d love to see Seth Lasrey in the flesh (WIP – Fringe Benefits) – he’s the one I’ve channelled Timothy Olyphant for and if Timothy burst into my kitchen one day, I’d be stoked. I’d also feed him tomato and oregano pizza with feta and thinly sliced pumpkin. (But that’s another story!)
18. What are you working on now?
Right now, it’s the novella for Carina Press (if I can get it finished and write a synopsis and a query by 15/3). If I can’t, then I’d likely submit this to Escape Publishing and/or others and see how we go. When that’s done, it’s back to my second WIP optioned to Escape, loosely called Fringe Benefits.
19. Would you like to share an excerpt from your writing or a photo or music link that inspires you?
This is from Goodbye River Road.
Olivia Murphy had brass in pocket, as the song goes. One thousand dollars’ worth of brass to be exact—all hers and all hard-earned. Technically, the money was in her handbag not her pocket, but Liv was in a hurry and she wasn’t about to split hairs.
The Lang’s house wasn’t far—just another few hundred metres heading out of town along the Hahndorf main street. She couldn’t see the gleam of red, not yet. There were too many hedges in the way, too many neat brush fences, and her prize was set back from the road. Luke’s bike. Her brother’s Ducati Pantah 650. The bike she was about to give Dean Lang ten thousand dollars to buy back.
Her chin rose. If there’s one oak leaf stain on that paintwork, Mr Lang, you better get ready to knock another few hundred bucks off your asking price.
Liv checked over her shoulder, just as she’d checked every thirty seconds since she’d left the bank carrying ten hundred-dollar notes crisply folded in a plastic bag. The odds of getting mugged in Hahndorf weren’t high, unless it was by Japanese tourists who wanted their photo taken. But then again, why tempt fate?
She quickened her pace.
Nice set up!
20. Please share your favourite cocktail recipe or celebration photo.
Oh no! I knew this question would bamboozle me. Did I mention I’m a wine drinker way up the top somewhere??? I don’t make cocktails. I don’t know how to make cocktails. I don’t know a cocktail recipe. The only names I can think of are Fluffy Ducks (and I’m sure Juanita Kees snaffled that one a few weeks back); and Tequila Slammers, and isn’t there somewhere, a drink called “A Long Slow Screw Against The Wall?” Or is that showing my 80s naivety? Tell you what – if you can make up a drink for me Susanne and call it the Lily Malone – I’d be stoked!
Absolutely, Lily! I think we’ll use sparkling wine and some sort of Vok – Parfait d’Amour sounds about right for a romance writer. I’ll work on it and get you over for taste testing soon! Thanks for treading the boards and best wishes for wonderful sales on your debut release, Lily.To find out more about what makes Lily tick, visit:
To buy His Brand Of Beautiful,click here
Thanks for having me on All The World’s A Page Susanne, it’s been my absolute pleasure!