ARRC2015: launch of Road to Hope
Not long now and I’ll be jetting off to Canberra for the 2015 Australian Romance Readers Convention and I can’t hardly wait. This will be my second ARRA Convention and therefore I know what to expect – loads of fabulous people, lots of interesting panels, fun parties and non-stop book talk with like-minded people. If this isn’t enough excitement, I will be launching my latest book—The Road to Hope—on the Saturday morning to a room full of people who love romance books as much as I do.
I couldn’t pick a better venue to celebrate the release of The Road to Hope, which is linked to my first ever rural romance, Jilted, which won Favourite Contemporary in the 2012 ARR Awards. I hope the people that loved Jilted and voted for Jilted in these esteemed awards will be stoked to share this launch with me.
For those who won’t be at the convention (and I feel your pain), I’d just like to share a little about how The Road to Hope came into being.
When I wrote Jilted, I was recovering from my final Mills & Boon rejection and was on the verge of throwing in the towel in this writing gig. I thought I could do something more worthwhile with my time like take up quilting or, heaven forbid, spend more time with my husband. But alas, fate had other plans and Jilted, the book I wrote purely for my own enjoyment, was the book that finally sold.
I wrote Jilted as a stand-alone novel and never imagined returning to the town of Hope Junction with any other books, but my readers had other plans. I had such an amazing response to Jilted and got emails and messages on Facebook requesting more about Flynn and Ellie (the hero and heroine in that book). To me, Flynn and Ellie had been through enough and I’d given them their happy ever after, but I started thinking about how else I could give readers what they were asking.
And then it came to me. Lauren Simpson, a character in Jilted who I myself had nick-named The Nasty Nurse, needed to be redeemed. This wasn’t an easy task because I’d created quite an unlikable character but my readers were excited when I suggested the possibility of writing her story. And I ran with this excitement.
It was a learning curve—I had only ever written Lauren as a minor character, so I had to go back and work out WHY she did certain things she did. I’d also written her as a vegetarian and only remembered this after I’d written a scene in which Tom, the hero, cooks her bacon and she EATS it. Whoops. Obviously that scene had to be rewritten and I had to work out WHY she was a vegetarian. This was one example of many little challenges that occurred during the writing of The Road to Hope. And then there were the usual big book challenges—what is keeping the hero and heroine apart. Without giving too much away, Tom is a character I feel very deeply for and I hope you will all sympathise with his predicament.
In addition to Tom and Lauren, I can’t wait for you all to meet my fun-loving cast of minor characters, including some very excitable elderly hospital residents, a fat and spoilt ginger cat and of course the characters you came to know and love in Jilted.
I hope to see you at ARRC (where else would you want to be that weekend?) but if for some terrible reason you’re unable to be there, I hope you’ll find yourself a copy of The Road to Hope and enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.