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Author spotlight: Fiona McArthur

8 January 2019

We’re featuring a wide range of Australian authors participating in ARR2019 in venues across Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. 

Today we’re having Elevenses with Fiona McArthur, author of 46 romances in the genres of cosy medical romances and outback women’s fiction. She will be attending ARRA 2019 in Brisbane.

When did you first realise you wanted to be an author?

The idea of writing hit when I turned thirty and was still knee deep in nappies with four little boys (before then I didn’t have time to think). I was feeling a little powerless to change my life. Then up popped a short, night-time ‘Writing for Pleasure and Profit’ course at the library and away I went. I started with short stories, and it took me ten years to finish writing a whole book. I’m no overnight success, but I am blessed with the way writing has entered my life.

Why romance and not a different genre?

My writing had to have romantic elements because I love happy endings, adore romantic movies, and cry at soppy songs. I’ve always loved Mills & Boon secretary stories, but just couldn’t seem to write one. Finally, thank goodness, I wrote a love story with a midwife heroine and found my home.

What was the first romance you read and why did you love it?

I loved Green Darkness by Anya Seaton and became lost in the story. Totally buried—though not like the woman in the wall. It was the time-slip aspect, the feisty heroine, and the never giving up of the modern-day couple. Outlander felt the same to me without the grim aspect of the earlier book. I’ll write my time-travel midwife soon.

What is the single most important characteristic for an aspiring author wanting to be a published writer?

I believe allowing ourselves time to write is the most important factor. As mums and wives we meet everyone else’s needs before our own. A writer needs to carve a time slot for her writing that nobody can take—then the writer needs to use it. Which is why I write before the others are awake.

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

I love dialogue. I love when the characters are speaking in my head and making me giggle at something unexpected they say or make me weep at the heartbreak just shared. I love it when I struggle to keep up with the speed of their conversation on the keyboard. That’s the best part.

What is your best tip for fighting writer’s block/ writer’s fear?

Try to avoid reading the beginning over and over and keep going until the happy end. Set a small writing goal and meet it every day. That way the story goes forward. That first chapter you keep polishing might be deleted when you finish the book, so for me of course it’s much better to finish the rough book and enjoy the polishing later.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference):

  • series or stand-alone? OMG I’m new to series and I LOVE them. Addicted
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover? Audiobook then ebook
  • first person or third? I find it hard to write.

Who has been an inspiration to you, in life or your writing career?

In my writing, Emma Darcy, the Australian icon of Mills & Boon fame who epitomised classy woman, clever speaker and craft-filled writing. I’d meet her every year at the Romance Writers of Australia conferences where she’d be keynote speaking and I’d have finished another three-chapter submission—until after ten years she finally said to me, ‘Fiona. Finish the damn book.’ Words she’s famous for. Which I did and, to my surprise, it sold.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Mother’s Day is a book of the heart. A small-town midwife with her workplace under risk, a gorgeous man who needs guidance to be worthy of my midwife, plus an older wise woman and a younger mum’s journey. All the stories I love.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

My Desert Midwife, set in central Australia around Uluru, comes out in July with Penguin Random House, and I’m very excited about that book. I love it to bits. Then there’s my second Tule Outback Brides book, Lacey’s Baby, in March to follow Kelly Hunter’s second in the series. And the third Lighthouse Bay book for M&B comes out towards the end of the year. Lots of readers have asked when that book is coming, so I will be thrilled to have it out there next year. And finally, I’m working on my time-travel midwife book in 2019 and that will be the first of a big book series. So a massive year for me, and I can’t wait.

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

The Trouble with Choices by Trish Morey. Loved the family feel and warm romances of Trish’s book. A book you can lose yourself in and feel warm and fuzzy at the end. My favourite kind.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2019 yet, you can buy one here.

One Comment
  1. 8 January 2019 11:49 am

    Woohoo Fiona fabulous interview and looks like I am going to need more reading time this year

    Have Fun

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