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Author spotlight: Maggie Mundy

18 January 2020

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Maggie Mundy. She will be attending ARR2020 in Adelaide.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I came to writing later in life in my forties. I went to university to do a degree in drama, but enjoyed writing so much I started to write and have never looked back.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

I loved reading Diana Gabaldon when I was younger.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I have written paranormal romance and contemporary romance. I also have an epic fantasy with romantic elements. I am a sucker for romance and proud of it. I love reading all genres and even tried a murder mystery.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

I would love to have Road Trip to Happiness turned into a movie. I think it would be a great showcase for Australia. I think I would go for younger Eric Banner in the male lead and a younger Asher Keddie as Scarlet.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Plotting. I am a plotter and working out all the plot points can be draining. It also can be frustrating when those pesky characters decide to do what they want and not play by the rules.

What is your favourite place to write?

In the spare bedroom where I have my desk and bookcase set up.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

I think there are elements to all my characters that are taken from people I know or things that I have read. One of my antagonists may be based on someone in the world who I think is despicable but I am not saying who. I killed him off.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

British Bedmate by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward. It was a fun read with characters you can get involved with right from the beginning.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less.

Rekindled Love. The Connor Clan of Portland, Oregon, look after their own, so when Brett finds out he is a father of a little boy, they are there to help. Brett likes to party hard and never fall in love. He messed up relationships early on and won’t take the risk. Mila is a hard-working chef and mom who comes back to town because her mother is sick. Will Brett finally find something to make him believe in love again as he falls for Mila. Or will both their pasts catch up with them and destroy their happiness.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I will be finishing my Cocky Carpenter book, which is part of the Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward Cocky Hero World series. I am also writing a second chance romance called Scars and Souvenirs.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.

 

Author spotlight: Claire Boston

17 January 2020

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Claire Boston. She will be attending ARR2020 in Perth.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

Twenty-six.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Nora Roberts, Hot Ice.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I’ve written fantasy and my first fantasy novel, The Assassin’s Gift, comes out this year.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

If Nothing to Lose was turned into a movie I’d love Chris Hemsworth and Margot Robbie to play the lead roles.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

The middle. I usually have a good grasp on the characters, the beginning and the end, but the journey between gets tricky.

What is your favourite place to write?

Outside on my tree swing.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

Yes. I often give characters names of people I know and members of my reader group can request to be in my novels.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

The Queen and the Homo Jock King by TJ Klune made me laugh out loud constantly. From there I went and read a whole bunch of TJ’s books and I loved them all.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Harbour is book three of the First Response series. It’s a second-chance-at-love novel set in a small town in WA. My heroine is in an abusive relationship and trying to get out, and my hero wants to help and support her any way he can. The abusive partner is involved in lots of illegal things so it’s full of suspense.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I’ll be writing, Protect, book 4 of the First Response series and then plotting and writing my next fantasy and romantic suspense series.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.

 

Author spotlight: Kate Bonham

16 January 2020

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Kate Bonham. She will be attending ARR2020 in Sydney.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I’ve written romance for a long time, probably since I was in my early teens, but a different kind of romance! I’ve always loved telling stories, and making up romantic twists, so I think the first full novel I wrote was when I was 15 but it’s still unpublished.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

I had a few, but the ones that resonate are JR Ward, and also Janet Evanovich.

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I write paranormal romance and dark romance, and under a pen name I write romantic comedy. I am thinking of branching out into the fairly new sub-genre of academy, but it’ll be more thriller than romance. I’d love to write a cosy mystery or maybe a thriller.

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

This is hard!! I’d love to see my dark romance, Mine, Forever, turned into a movie. I think it would be perfect! Stars would be Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney. I actually based the characters off their looks.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

I don’t really struggle with creation of the story, but the hardest part of the process is juggling family life and my nine-to-five so I can find the time to write! I do love it though, so it doesn’t usually take that long to get my book written.

What is your favourite place to write?

Usually in my office, but sometimes I get distracted. If I didn’t get cramps in my legs, I’d write in my bed, surrounded by pillows and donuts.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

All of them! Every character has been inspired by someone or parts of someone. I would never create a character fully on one person, but a mixture—always.

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

There are two books I last read and loved so I’ll say both of them because they are two very different kind of romances. XO by Melissa Jane and Styx & Stones by Carmen Jenner (both Aussie authors!)

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

I’ll tell you about my WIP, Havoc, because that’ll be out in January. It’s a dark romance, mafia based, and is about a woman who has been wronged by her family. She returns with vengeance on her mind. I can’t wait to release this baby, it’s a passion project of mine for sure.

What else will you be working on in 2020?

I have so many books scheduled for 2020, a release for every month! It’s going to be a hectic year!!

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.

 

2019 ARR Awards: finalists announced

15 January 2020

Voting has opened today for the 2019 Australian Romance Readers Awards. Below are the finalists in each of the nine categories, as well as finalists in our three special Members’ Choice categories. ARRA members will now vote for their favourite in each category. (The voting link is available to members in the January newsletter.) Voting will close on 26 February.

Here are the finalists:

Favourite Paranormal Romance 2019 – proudly sponsored by Hachette Australia

  • My Solace by Alanea Alder
  • Primal Instinct by Ally Parker
  • Unforsaken by Cassie Laelyn
  • Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
  • Wrath by Lana Pecherczyk
  • Wrecked Intel by Mandy M Roth

Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance 2019

  • Archangel’s War by Nalini Singh
  • Sweep of the Blade by Ilona Andrews
  • The Whisperers of Evernow by Heidi Catherine
  • Wicked Wings by Keri Arthur

Favourite Historical Romance 2019 – proudly sponsored by Hachette Australia

  • Heart of the Cross by Emily Madden
  • Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie
  • The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair
  • The Clothier’s Daughter by Bronwyn Parry
  • The French Photographer by Natasha Lester
  • The Highlander’s Defiant Captive by Anna Campbell
  • The Postmistress by Alison Stuart
  • The Quarantine Station by Michelle Montebello
  • The Wrong Highlander by Lynsay Sands
  • Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Favourite Contemporary Romance 2019 – proudly sponsored by Allen & Unwin

  • Beautiful, Fragile by Michelle Montebello
  • Lies by Kylie Scott
  • Repeat by Kylie Scott
  • Stowaway by Stella Quinn
  • The Round Yard by Alissa Callen

Favourite Short or Category Romance 2019

  • Loving Lucas by Jayne Kingsley
  • Miss Prim’s Greek Island Fling by Michelle Douglas
  • Must Love Coffee by Sarah Mayberry
  • Second Chance with the Single Dad by Kandy Shepherd
  • Untouched Queen by Royal Command by Kelly Hunter

Favourite Romantic Suspense 2019

  • Climbing Fear by Leisl Leighton
  • Half Truths by Claire Contreras
  • Hard Target by Pamela Clare
  • Hell on Wheels by Penny Dee
  • Lethal Balance by Cherise Sinclair
  • Securing Caite by Susan Stoker
  • Shadows Over Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees
  • Under Currents by Nora Roberts
  • Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz

Favourite Continuing Romance Series 2019

  • Angel Calling series by Georgia Tingley
  • Bewitched and Bewildered series by Alanea Alder
  • Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
  • Coalition Rebellion series by Justine Davis
  • Deadly Seven series by Lana Pecherczyk
  • Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh
  • Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews
  • Kings of Mayhem by Penny Dee
  • Lost and Found series by Michelle Dalton
  • Marriage of Convenience series by Anne Gracie
  • Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
  • Tangled Vines saga by Megan Mayfair
  • The Hartdale Brides series by Bronwyn Parry
  • The Rogue Files by Sophie Jordan

Favourite Debut Romance Author 2019 – proudly sponsored by Booktopia

  • Ally Parker
  • Casey McQuiston
  • Cassie Laelyn
  • Jayne Kingsley
  • Kaneana May
  • Maya Linnell
  • Meg Bignell
  • Rania Battany
  • Samantha Marshall

Favourite Australian Romance Author 2019 – proudly sponsored by Booktopia

  • Alissa Callen
  • Kelly Hunter
  • Kylie Scott
  • Maya Linnell
  • Megan Mayfair
  • Michelle Montebello

And the finalists for the Members’ Choice categories are …

Favourite small-town romance 2019

  • 25 Reasons to Hate Christmas and Cowboys by Elle Thorpe
  • Christmas on Hope Street by Megan Mayfair, Jayne Kingsley, Stella Quinn and Marianne Bayliss
  • Christmas with the Firefighter by Clare Connelly
  • Diamond in the Dust by Mel A Rowe
  • Eddie and the Show Queen by Cathryn Hein
  • Emma by Kelly Hunter
  • Long Way Home by Nicola Marsh
  • One Hot Christmas by Jacquie Underdown
  • The Lone Star Lawman by Justine Davis
  • The Round Yard by Alissa Callen
  • The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews
  • Wildflower Ridge by Maya Linnell

Favourite couple in a 2019 romance

  • Aislinn and Tobias in Aislinn’s Shadow by Samantha Marshall
  • AJ and Liam in Wicked Pleasure by Taryn Leigh Taylor
  • Alice and Eddie in Eddie and the Show Queen by Cathryn Hein
  • Betty and Thom in Lies by Kylie Scott
  • Clementine and Ed in Repeat by Kylie Scott
  • Emmaline and Liam in Emma by Kelly Hunter
  • Eve and Roarke in Connections in Death by JD Robb
  • Faith and Will in Beautiful, Fragile by Michelle Montebello
  • Fenella and Kieran in Shadows Over Wongan Creek by Juanita Kees
  • Honey and Caleb in Biker Baby by Penny Dee
  • Jenna and Max in Seduced by the Stranger by Alyssa J Montgomery
  • Marigold and Finn in The Problem with Perfect by Megan Mayfair
  • Marlene and Zennek in Barbarian’s Seduction by Ruby Dixon
  • Memory and Alexei in Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh

Favourite 2019 romance cover

  • Aislinn’s Shadow by Samantha Marshall (self-published)
  • All Grown Up by Vi Keeland (self-published)
  • Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas (Avon)
  • Diamond in the Dust by Mel A Rowe (self-published)
  • Epona by Michelle Dalton (Serenade Publishing)
  • Highest Bid by Mel Teshco (Tule Publishing)
  • Marry in Secret by Anne Gracie (Berkley)
  • Repeat by Kylie Scott (self-published)
  • Shattered Dreams by Rebecca Barber (self-published)
  • Stowaway by Stella Quinn (self-published)
  • The Cinema at Starlight Creek by Alli Sinclair (Harlequin)
  • The Problem with Perfect by Megan Mayfair (Crooked Cat Books)
  • The Sea of Lost Things by Kelly St-Laurent (self-published)
  • The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell (Penguin Random House)

Congratulations to all the finalists!

Winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner, which will be held at Cello’s Restaurant in Sydney on Saturday 7 March 2020. If you would like to attend the awards dinner, you can buy your ticket here.

 

 

ARRA newsletter #126

15 January 2020

Purple news

The January issue of the ARRA newsletter is out today. Members should have received the download code via email.

Here’s a quick run down on what you can find in the newsletter this month:

  • finalists for the 2019 awards announced
  • voting for the awards opens today (don’t forget to book your dinner ticket)
  • tickets on sale now for members’ lunches at ARR2020
  • save the date for our AGM
  • some of our members tell us their ‘finds’ of 2019
  • Charlotte’s Web Watch column with a look at the month that was December
  • another Blast from the Past column from Paula Roe
  • win a $10 gift card if you can Find the Heart!

Plus our regular columns—romance roundup, publisher news, weekly musings, events, reviews, freebies, author interviews and upcoming releases.

If anyone has any publishing news or deals to report, please send information through. And we are always looking for authors to do a Q&A for the newsletter. If you haven’t done one yet, please contact us at arra.editor@gmail.com.

PS – we’re now taking bookings for guest bloggers for 2020.

Happy reading everyone!

Feature book: Falling for the Secret Princess

15 January 2020

Falling for the Secret Princess by Kandy Shepherd

Subgenre: contemporary romance
Release date: 1 Sep 2019
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Format: ebook and print
Length: 384 pages (duo)
RRP: $4.99 (ebook); $14.99 (print duo)

Princess Natalia of Montovia goes to a friend’s wedding in Sydney completely under the media radar. She’s dyed her hair, introduced by a slightly different name, and everyone thinks she’s English. (Naturally, she can speak several languages perfectly. Oh, to be her!)

She meets millionaire businessman Finn at the wedding, and—somewhat freed by being incognito—falls for him through that enchanted night. It’s kind of like a Cinderella story, only she’s secretly a princess, not Cinders. Finn is flirting with her, obviously deeply attracted, and they share some pretty hot kissing. Oh, the magic of it all, it’s just lovely!

On an impulse moment she invites Finn back to her hotel room, but at the last minute she realises she can’t go through with anything more than … kissing. As a Montovian princess she must remain a virgin for her future (probably arranged) wedding. Shattered by reality and duty crushing in, she draws back, and Finn is the perfect gentleman.

He’s obviously smitten and urges her to meet him the next day for a cruise on his yacht. (Again, oh to be her.) But wait, poor Natalia is flying home in the morning. Not wanting to even begin to try and explain her complications to Finn, she agrees to meet him but then flies home, heartbroken, leaving him no way to contact her.

Fast forward three months, and the still-mourning Natalia is suddenly shocked to come face to face with Finn, who’s come to her country on her brother’s invitation on business. When he recognises her, he’s angry and upset that she stood him up in Sydney. But mainly that she’s a princess and pretty much unavailable to him, because goodness, those sparks they had are still there.

Finn’s anger wears off quickly, because after all he is a hero—and a very nice person. (Oh, to be her …) As Natalia shows him around Montovia—reluctantly at first, but then with genuine enjoyment—their romance rekindles. It’s just lovely.

The issues of the commoner and the Princess are always there. How can they possibly make things work? As a reader you really want Finn and Natalia to feel free to love each other, but the odds are so high against them.

Never fear. The charm of this romance is the working out of how things can work. After all, this couple must be allowed their magic moment. Thanks Kandy, for a sweetly delightful story!

Reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

Author spotlight: Samantha Marshall

14 January 2020

For ARR2020 in March we will be featuring more than 90 romance authors across five cities. If you live in (or near) Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Adelaide, come along and meet local authors, as well as our international guests—Darynda Jones and Susan Donovan.

Today we are spotlighting Samantha Marshall. She will be attending ARR2020 in Melbourne.

How old were you when you first started writing romance?

I’ve written all my life in one form or another, but it wasn’t until my very late teens that I began to add romantic elements to my books. Back then I was more focused on chemistry and emotional connection as opposed to the physical aspects of romance, as I’d become frustrated with a lack of that emotive link in books I’d been reading. I hadn’t really read any ‘proper’ romance novels at that stage, so I was feeling my way through what I felt the story needed, and enjoying that fluttery butterfly feeling that happens when two people begin to deepen their affection for each other.

Who was the first romance author to catch your interest?

Nalini Singh, hands down. Mum put Slave to Sensation in my hands, told me to read it, and so it began!

Have you written genres other than romance (or are you thinking about it)?

I started out writing standard fantasy, which is where I did most of my reading growing up. I always felt there was something missing though, and once I began reading romance I knew that was the extra element I wanted to inject into my own books. I now write in a variety of speculative fiction sub-genres but they always have a romantic element to them and will continue to do so!

Choose one of your books to turn into a movie—who would you cast in the lead roles?

Oh wow, okay. Sorcery and Stardust. For Arcana I would cast Emilia Clarke, for Fenris, Tom Hiddleston, for Caelum, Chris Pratt and for Flare, David Tennant.

What is the hardest part of creating a story?

Breathing enough life into the characters that they seem real, with proper edges and flaws and hopes and dreams. I want them to leap off the page and into people’s hearts, and it takes a special sort magic to create that sense of reality as opposed to simply words on a page. That said, as much as it’s the hardest part, it’s also my favourite!

What is your favourite place to write?

At home, at my desk, with a cup of chai tea and a snuggly blanket.

Have any of your characters been inspired by real-life people?

Oh yes, many. I take situations, personality traits, real-life experiences, then mould them together into something entirely different. From that odd inspirational soup, new people are born, and they become my characters!

What was the last romance you read and loved (and why did you love it)?

I’ve just finished reading Entropy, book #4 in the Atrophy series, by Jess Anastasi. The whole series has been great so far, but Entropy is definitely my current favourite! I’ve become emotionally invested in her characters and their journey and I know this series is one I’ll return to time and again.

Tell us about your latest release in 100 words or less

Aislinn’s Shadow is a paranormal shifter romance set in Australia and deals with broken trust, recovering from emotional trauma, discovering your innermost self and reconnecting with lost loved ones. It contains a bunch of wild, rowdy pack boys, most notable of which is the hero, Tobias. He and Aislinn were childhood friends who’ve spent twelve years apart and now, as adults, are thrust back together in a tense situation. The entire book is a roller coaster of laughs, action and deep emotion, with a bunch of shape shifting thrown in for good measure!

What else will you be working on in 2020?

February 2020 will see the release of Tobias’s Spark, book two in the Kin Chronicles. Later in the year, I’ll be releasing the second book in The Weaver’s War series, Sorcery and Sandstorms. I’m also working on the first book in a new paranormal series, which is still in the very early stages, as well as plotting out book three of the Kin Chronicles. It’s set to be a busy year, but I’m excited for all it contains! Hopefully the readers enjoy everything as much as I enjoy writing it all.

If you haven’t booked your ticket for ARR2020 yet, you can buy one HERE.