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Author spotlight: Michelle Montebello

11 February 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 Michelle Montebello, author of three romances in the genres of women’s fiction and mystery. She will be attending ARR2019 in Sydney.

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

I think from the moment I could write it’s all I ever wanted to do. I always had my head stuck in a book or with a pencil and paper in my hand. And when I realised there was no limit to the imagination and the worlds and characters I could create, I wrote pages and pages and pages.

Why romance and not a different genre?

There’s something about romance that tugs at the heartstrings. There are so many layers to work with in this genre: love, adversity, tragedy, intimacy, secrets. And all of these aspects resonate with both readers and writers alike.

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

Kaleidoscope by Danielle Steel was the first romance I read when I was a teenager and it kicked off a Danielle obsession. I loved the stories of the three orphaned children and how they came together all those years later having led completely different lives, some not even knowing they had been adopted out. I devoured it in one sitting and went straight back to the school library to borrow every other Danielle Steele book on the shelf.

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

Perseverance. There will be plenty of people who will knock you back, critics who won’t enjoy your stories and new releases that won’t go as well as you’d hoped. But if you write because it makes you truly happy then keep going. Do what you love! Soak up the learning!

What is your favourite part of creating a story?

World building and setting. I’ve been known to choose a location first and build the story and characters around it.

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

I like to move away from the laptop and do something mundane like hang the clothes on the line, empty the dishwasher or take the kids to the park. Once I’ve taken the pressure off myself, the words and ideas seem to come naturally. Panic is your worst enemy when fighting the “block”.

Pick a favourite (bold your preference)

  • series or stand-alone?
  • ebook, paperback or hardcover?
  • first person or third?

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

There are too many to name, but my parents mostly. They are so supportive (and just a teeny bit proud) of everything I do.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

The Quarantine Station is set to be released in February 2019. It’s an historical fiction about a woman, Emma Wilcott, whose grandmother Gwendoline, a dementia-sufferer, has a habit of wandering from her bed at night. Gwendoline’s childhood memories often lead her to the water and Emma knows she must find out before an accident occurs. Her questions draw her to the Quarantine Station on Sydney’s North Head where Gwendoline grew up, and there Emma begins to unravel a compelling mystery of secrets and forbidden love that span a century. The Great War, Spanish Influenza pandemic and the Quarantine Station form the backdrop of this dual-timeline story.

What else will you be working on in 2019?

I have a few ideas bubbling away for my next piece. At this stage it will be a romance mystery standalone. I’m thinking amnesia and marital secrets!

Please recommend an Aussie romance you read recently

Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair. I’m fascinated with WWII and, even better, the backdrop was Australia. It was a fantastic book that I had trouble putting down.

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


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