As an author of historical fiction, history can be so interpretive. How do you stay authentic while trying to create a story that a reader can find interesting. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I do get a lot of inspiration from stories of my own grandparents and such as they were first settlers in the towns my stories are set in. I'm also very lucky as the actual history of Northern Queensland is quite fascinating too. It's in my nature to think of the real stories of hardship and struggle and think 'But what if this happened?' and that's probably the biggest asset in writing the kind of stories that I do.
What time in history would you consider your favorite? Your least?
My favorite is the era in which I write which is the 19th century. To me it is the era of change and challenge. My least favourite would have to be the present as I think we have lost quite a few old values and take too much for granted.
What kind of research do you do and how long to you spend researching before starting a new novel?
I tend to do spot research throughout the writing process. Google is a great help for that, but I also have some local history books that give me actual hotel names and so on. Most intense research I usually do involves Aboriginal bush medicines as it's very important to me that I get that as accurate as possible.
Much of your stories derive from your homeland during the 19th century. What makes it stand out? Any plans to explore further?
Yes my stories are set in Australia, in townships close to where I grew up actually. I started writing them mainly because as a young reader I often wondered why I could never find novels set in my country. One day I decided if I couldn't find them I would write them instead. Australia has a very romantic and fascinating history, one that I think can challenge the standard settings for books like the US and UK. At this stage I have no plans to explore further. Maybe when I know Australian romances are a popular read then I might change.
Your upcoming, Amorous Redemption will be out in May. Can you tell us about it?
I wrote this story based on my own great grandparents lives. The station mentioned in the book was actually owned by her family until a few years ago. Here is the book blurb:-
Phoebe Porter had run away from her family…from her fiancé…from her life.
Upon arriving in the dusty mining town of Ravenswood, Queensland, Australia, Phoebe was certain she was finally safe from all who wanted to rob her of everything she had…including her life. That was until she felt herself being swept up in the strong arms of a stranger…a stranger she would soon be surrendering her body and heart too.
This was to be the last job for bounty hunter, Duncan MacAllester. All he had to do was retrieve Phoebe Porter from Ravenswood and return her to her home of Inkerman Downs Station and to the fiancé awaiting her. If he could survive this last hunt for this woman then he would finally have the money he needed to reclaim his cattle station and retrieve his life.
When Duncan pulled Phoebe safely from the midst of a bar brawl, never could he have imagined this would be the beginning of one of the most dangerous journeys he had ever made…or the most passionate.
Together Duncan and Phoebe must face not only the unforgiving humidity of the North Queensland outback, but also the men that were sent after them to kill them both.
When Phoebe is ripped from his grasp by the abusive hands of her fiancé, Duncan follows her back to her hometown knowing that he would do anything to protect this woman…even if it cost him his life.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don't take bad comments too much to heart or you'll likely give up. You need tough skin in this business. Learn from your mistakes - be it a book or a publisher. And most importantly write the kind of book you want to read.