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Grace Burrowes to visit Australia

16 June 2018

Grace Burrowes will be visiting Australia in August and has very kindly agreed to do two events for readers. This month we are chatting with Grace to get to know her ahead of her visit …

What kind of books did you love when you were a child?

When I was very young, my parents would read to the smaller children after dinner. There wasn’t a television in the house until I was well into my school years, and even then we weren’t allowed to watch TV on school nights. The first books I can recall my parents reading were Uncle Wiggly stories (a rabbit gentleman with lots of little animal friends), but they also read Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. Once I learned to read, I gravitated toward the Hardy Boys and biographies of composers.

Do you remember the first romance novel you read?

It was either The Wolf and the Dove or The Flame and the Flower. I forget which one came first, but I gobbled them both down in rapid succession.

How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I never consciously aspired to be a writer. I’ve always enjoyed writing. I know I did well in English classes, but nobody ever suggested I could make a living writing. I also did well in history classes, same thing. Good grades were expected, and if I enjoyed a class, or an academic requirement, that was a fluke.

I didn’t attempt to write fiction until my daughter left home when I was in my mid-forties. I had peace and quiet, emotional oxygen, the house to myself … and the books started bubbling up.

When did you first sit down and start to write? How long after that before you were published?

I’m guessing I started writing around 2005. I had a publishing contract by 2009, but I didn’t spend four years chasing publication. I spent four years writing like a house afire and having a wonderful time doing it.

How hard was it to first get published?

I was very, very, very lucky. The first editor to whom I pitched my books ended up offering me a contract. That’s not supposed to happen. I was simply in the right place at the right time with the right books, and somebody at the publishing house really liked my voice.

What authors do you read and/or admire now that you’re an author too?

I have always thought that Judith Ivory, who is no longer writing, was a brilliant talent. She anticipated so many developments in the historical romance genre. She wrote a hero with a history of addiction, she wrote a Gilded Age story when historical romance was limited to Regencies and Medievals, she wrote heroes who were very much not aristocrats, and all with such terrific historical details and ingenious prose.

Joanna Bourne is another immense talent. Her books hit every wicket of wonderfulness—beautiful prose, fascinating characters, plots with the precision and intricacy of a handmade clock, and worlds that are realer than real.

My keeper shelf also includes Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Carolyn Jewel, Meredith Duran, Mary Jo Putney, JR Ward (yes, you read that right), Jennifer Ashley/Ashley Gardner, Anna Campbell, Anne Gracie and zillions more. The romance community, and historical romance in particular, really do enjoy an embarrassment of riches.

If you weren’t a writer, what career do you think you would have now?

I’m still lawyering, though I hope the day job is riding into the sunset. For the past 25 years, I’ve been the attorney for the foster children in my county. This is about the opposite of being in the happily-ever-after business, but it’s honourable work, and I hope I’ve done some good. Owning a flower shop has always appealed to me too.

Other than books, what is one item you can’t resist buying?

There’s a dessert from Scotland called ‘tablet’ … I buy that stuff in the Edinburgh airport, immediately upon landing. It’s like sweetened condensed milk fudge, and I love it. I’m also a fan of good dark chocolate.

Book 4 in the Windham Brides, A Rogue of Her Own, is your latest release. Is this the last of the Windham stories?

I doubt it. It might be the last of the novels for a while, but there is a branch of cousins I haven’t explored (Arabella and Peter’s branch), and even in A Rogue of Her Own, I heard discussions of a Windham family house party at the Duke of Haverford’s Welsh castle. The author is sometimes the last to know, but in this case, I’m sure we’ll see novellas, epilogues and other tales.

Do you have more books planned in the contemporary Trouble Wears Tartan series?

Book 3 in that series, Scotland to the Max, has gone to the copy editor. I can see having that story on sale by midsummer. Max is the first American hero I’ve sent to Scotland, but I’m fairly sure he won’t be the last.

You have the Rogues to Riches series starting later this year. How many books are planned in this series?

Book 1 is written, book 2 is about two-thirds finished, and there are enough characters to keep me busy for at least another four books. Very interesting family, and not like a lot of my previous series families!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you are in Australia? Will you have the chance to explore?

I haven’t finalised my itinerary, though I hope I get to nose around some. In any place, what makes it special are the people, and I am very much looking forward to connecting in person with Australian readers, and with other romance writers. I’ll attend the RWA conference, which promises to be a great time, and I’m thinking of taking the train from Melbourne to Sydney, so I at least get to see a little of the countryside.

If you live in Melbourne or Sydney, come along and meet Grace Burrowes at our events in August. You can find all the details here.

[This article originally appeared in the June 2018 ARRA newsletter.]


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