All my full-length novels (rural romance and women’s fiction) are available in print, digital and audio formats in Australia and New Zealand, however I have a number of shorter novels only available as ebooks. This is mostly because they are too short to be cost effectively printed and distributed in paperback format.
If you click here you will find a printable list of my books, which explains which ones are stand alone and can be read in any order and which ones are part of a series. All the books can actually be read on their own, however there is a mystery thread going through the first three books of my Bunyip Bay series, which is intended to be read in the following order: OUTBACK DREAMS, OUTBACK BLAZE, then OUTBACK GHOST.
Probably not. Unless the book is part of a series (like my Bunyip Bay, Hope Junction and Rose Hill books), when I finish writing, I don’t plan to go back to those characters again. For instance, lots of people have asked me for sequels to THE PATTERSON GIRLS, THE GREATEST GIFT and THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS because they loved the characters so much and want to know what happens to them after the book. Mostly they just get on with their lives; usually I’ve given them a positive ending and to write another story about them would mean giving them more trauma and conflict – I’m not THAT cruel. However, occasionally a character or book refuses to leave me alone and that’s why I’ll never say never regarding a sequel. I’ve recently written a linked book to THE ART OF KEEPING SECRETS (called HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART) but this is not a sequel in the true sense of the word. It takes one character from the first book who I believe still hadn’t quite got her hopeful ending and tells her story.
Never say never. The closest I’ve got to collaborating with other authors is a biker book I wrote in a series with Maisey Yates, Megan Crane and Jackie Ashenden. The series was called THE DEACONS OF BOURBON STREET and my book was called FIRE ME UP. I’ve also worked two series of books with other authors for Tule Publishing. I’ve chatted to a couple of author friends about the possibility of collaborating, including my cousin, Lizzy Dent, but it’s mostly a matter of not having enough time to embark on the project right now.
It’s so frustrating when a mistake slips through the many, many eyes that read and edit a book before it is sent to print, but it happens. I don’t mind if you shoot me a message or email letting me know – in fact I appreciate it - because then we can fix that error in reprints. What IS infuriating is when you then offer to proofread my next book because you are awesome at picking up mistakes. My proofreaders are pretty awesome too and they are experienced in their jobs. Everyone in every job makes the odd mistake – you probably would too.
My three pearls of wisdom:
- Read more than you write – read within your genre and outside it. Enjoy your reading but also analyse the books you read to see why they do or don’t work for you.
- Join a professional organisation like the Romance Writers of Australia – I genuinely think this is the best writing organisation you’ll find in Australia, whether or not you write romance but there are many other good ones as well.
- And finally, read Stephen King’s Top 20 and follow his advice – the guy knows what he’s talking about.
Yes, I did – I did a Bachelor of Arts (Writing) but I would not necessarily recommend this for aspiring writers or teenagers choosing a career path. Nothing (and I know that’s a big call but it’s true) that I learnt in my uni degree has equipped me for life as an author. Everything I learnt about writing craft, I learnt through reading fiction myself, writing and making mistakes as I developed my voice, reading craft books and articles by published authors, doing short courses and being a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. I actually wish I’d got a degree in something completely different so I could write about that career in my books! Saying that, my degree was over 20 years ago now and mostly focused on literary fiction rather than commercial fiction, which is what I read and write. If you DO want to do a writing degree, do your research first and make sure it offers you what you want/need.
Let’s put it this way, I don’t write an outline before I start – I’ve tried and that’s just not the way I work – but I do a lot of pre-writing thinking and note-taking about my characters. I generally start with a loose premise or characters and I ask myself what these characters want most in life, why they want this and what is stopping them getting it. I once read that a novel is as simple as a person in a place with a problem and I try to know these three Ps before I start, but I rarely know how the book will end or exactly what will happen along the way. You’d think after this many books I’d have an idea of my process, but to be honest it’s constantly evolving.
Sorry, but no. There are plenty of manuscript assessment agencies and freelance editors who provide this service, but I like to use my free time to read for pleasure. I do judge contests for the Romance Writers of Australia and sometimes give writing workshops – I feel this is how I can give back to the community that has supported me and also encourage aspiring authors.
If you go to the shop page of this website, you can order a book directly from me – all books come personally signed unless requested otherwise.
This is such a tough question because it honestly comes from all over the shop and in many different formats. I’ve been inspired by a weed (THE PATTERSON GIRLS), a real life fire (OUTBACK BLAZE), an issue close to my heart (OUTBACK DREAMS, OUTBACK GHOST, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT), a furniture ad (THE KISSING SEASON), a curiosity (THE GREATEST GIFT), a real life person (THE GREATEST GIFT, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT), a podcast (LOST WITHOUT YOU) and so many other things. With some stories the seed of inspiration is very powerful but with other stories I have to manufacture an idea a little bit more and in that case I go looking for issues and things that interest me. My only hope is that inspiration keeps on coming in whatever form it chooses to do so.
Although there are exceptions, it’s a hard sell to attract overseas publishers with Australian-set books. I had a couple of my earlier books published by a US publisher, but circumstances beyond my control meant that those books didn’t really ever find their market. I am happy that everyone who has managed to read my books from other countries have enjoyed them and I promise I’m working on getting my books to a wider audience.
I don’t know – are you a producer? Do you know one? I’d obviously love for any of my books to have a screen adaptation made but it’s not something I can just click my fingers and make happen.
This is seriously like asking which child is my favourite – it changes from day to day depending on certain things. To be honest, I’m usually least enamoured with my most recent books as I’m still too close to the editing process, but with distance I start to like them a little bit more and feel proud of my achievement. THE PATTERSON GIRLS will always have a soft spot in my heart because it won the Australian Book Industry Award for General Fiction and was my first attempt at something other than rural romance. But in terms of my romances, my fave is probably MAN DROUGHT – I honestly had such a fun time writing that story.
Hah – well, when I’m writing rural romance I prefer women’s fiction and vice versa. I think it’s a case of the grass is always greener. Whatever I’m not doing feels like it would be easier. However, I honestly love both genres equally – I think they are both valuable and bring joy to readers and that’s my mission when I write. I find with rural romance that I have more of an idea what I’m doing because romance does generally follow a specific structure, whereas women’s fiction has fewer boundaries and thus I have to reinvent the wheel almost with every book depending on how many point-of-views I decide to include.
I LOVE the idea of ghosts but I haven’t had any personal experience of them myself. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but I’m not sure they do either. Still, it’s so much fun writing about them and the concept does intrigue me. Also if you want a really GOOD ghost story, check out The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (one of my fave books ever).
Oh indeed. The best thing about being an author myself is that I now actually know some of my fave authors – but people I haven’t yet met and would totally make a fool of myself over if I did are Marian Keyes, Elin Hilderbrand, Lisa Jewell, Jane Green, Lindsey Kelk, Sophie Kinsella and Taylor Jenkins Reid. Some of my fave Aussie authors who I’m lucky enough to have met and who I definitely admire and loved reading before I was published myself include Liane Moriarty, Monica McInerney, Di Morrissey and Rachael Treasure.
I lust after earrings on Instagram, I drink too much Diet Coke (but I do this when I’m writing too), I buy books, earrings and clothes I can’t afford online, I read a lot, I dabble with knitting, I sometimes bake cakes (but then I eat them and that’s problematic), I walk/run and I lament about how messy my house is, but honestly there’s not a lot of time in my life atm outside of writing and my family. I have dreams of one day taking up sewing again and maybe even training to be a hot air balloonist!
Well, I’m trained as an English teacher but probably wouldn’t have gone down that path if I didn’t do a DipEd after my writing degree. If I didn’t ever attempt to write, I possibly would have gone into acting – did a lot of that as a kid and loved it. As a child/teenager I wanted to read the news for Channel Seven Perth, but I don’t think Susannah Carr is ever gonna give up that job!
I type – I wouldn’t be able to read my writing if I wrote my novels by hand. Also, my mum was a computing and typing teacher and when I was ten she forced me to learn to touch type in the summer holidays (it was hell at the time but I appreciate it now), so I can type way faster than I’d ever be able to write.
I’ve just started writing OUTBACK SECRETS (a Christmas novel, which will be #5 in my Bunyip Bay series. I’m also about to do the edits for HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART (out May 2021).
Writing is my fulltime job and thus I treat it so. I work mostly Monday to Friday during school hours (and will write for a solid three or four hours and spend the rest of the time on admin), but as with many jobs, sometimes I need to work overtime. I aim for about 2k words a day (10k words a week) and if I don’t hit this Monday to Friday, then I’ll also carve out some writing time on the weekend.
Unsolicited, generally no – if people tell me they have a great idea, I tell them to write it themselves as I need to be excited about what I’m writing. However, I often solicit feedback from readers on my Facebook page. I’ve included many things that readers have offered in this way – e.g. a few years ago I asked readers to share how they met their partner as I needed stories for two couples in THE GREATEST GIFT. I chose two stories to include in the book from those provided by my readers.
Yes and no. I still love reading more than almost anything else in the world and it’s my go to way to relax. Saying that I cannot fully switch off while reading books within my genres – I’m always analysing and thinking about how the author has done certain things. For this reason I read a lot of crime, because I don’t write crime so can still read it purely for pleasure.