Yes, it's true. My second novel is scheduled for release in October this year and here is the exclusive first look at the stunning new cover.
Keep Hold is my first novel to be set in Australia taking place in Melbourne one stinking hot summer. As we all know, Hobart rarely enjoys a stinking hot summer, so unfortunately Tasmania misses out again.
Melbourne is a great city and I love visiting; at least I can find my way around without resorting to my smartphone to tell me I'm lost!
Keep Hold introduces you to Claire and Kathryn, two people I could imagine becoming my friends (even if I did find myself frequently rolling my eyes at one of them) and two people who metaphorically find themselves on the scariest roller coaster ride in the world.
Like many roller coasters, they seem like a good idea at the time. Whilst standing in line, your bravado remains in tact and as you edge closer to the front of the queue, you tell yourself you might as well just go for it; you've come so far and the last hour that you waited in line can't be for nothing.
It isn't until you're strapped securely on the beast that you realise you've made a mistake. You realise you can't get off and no matter how hard you scream, you have no control.
All you can do is Keep Hold!
But this isn't about me, it's all about fellow Bold Strokes author Mardi Alexander.
She may have conducted many "official" interviews in her time, but this is the scoop, the truth and the real deal. You can rest assured I've asked the hard questions and demanded some damn straight answers.
I've already mentioned your undies on social media, so let's get this one out of the way before your fans disown you. What's your favourite coloured undies?
I’d have to say red because they match my fire truck – it’s all about ‘fashion in the field’ – that and I’d like to think they make me go faster .
I always thought getting lucky once was pretty good. What's special about ‘Twice Lucky’?
To be sure, to be sure! Seriously, heaps of things – it’s set in Australia, it’s about two women who never thought that they would ever fall in love and they end up getting a wonderful chance to do so, despite the danger that pops it’s ugly head up.
It’s my very first ever piece of writing, so you can’t get much more special than a debut and to share that debut with you and ‘Getting Lost’ – making March “Aussie Author Month” - I’d say that’s definitely ‘Twice Lucky” especially for our readers.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
I start off with an idea already roughed out in my head of the big story picture, and then enjoy the side bits that morph on their own accord, as I muddle along. I try to write of an evening if I can – leaving the day times for work, farm and family.
My writing process during the week is enhanced by tea, whereas a weekend treat could be ‘inspired’ by a nice single malt, or two.
Do you know the second verse of the Australian national anthem (besides the first line. Everybody knows the first line)?
Okay, confession time, here’s the thing, until recently, I didn't know there were five verses to Advance Australia fair! I know the first verse, and it turns out the first three lines of the third verse, then I mouth and hum a lot until we get to the end when I cheerfully round out “In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia fair.” (Reading back over that last stanza, makes the anthem sound like really bad toilet humour…)
Tell us about your next writing project?
My next book, which is hoped to be out in March 2016, is “Spirit of the Dance”. This one is also set in Australia and comes with a distinct heavy rural feel to it. It’s a romance, but there are some underlying gritty bits built in. It involves a returned soldier, a local saddler and horse trainer and a small conservative country town where life is simple, predictable, and safe. By necessity, it is also full of secrets.
What's the most outrageous thing you've ever done, whether it be jumping out of a plane, BASE jumping or breaking the land speed record on country dirt roads (I've done none of those BTW)?
LOL. I have certainly done some odd things in my time, but to date, perhaps the most notable thing would be squatting down, in the dirt, with my eyes tight shut as a car exploded in front of me.
I remember undertaking a fire training exercise where the instructors set a car alight with a small controlled fire, the idea being that two of us would go in and extinguish it safely within a reasonable time period, the next pair would follow and do the same and so on. While the instructors were explaining about the exercise, the assistant set light to the car. By the time the instructors finished talking about the scenario and flagged us in to start, the damn car was a raging inferno (it was packed with flammable material for the purpose of the exercise). As I crawled up ready to hit the engine with the hose the front tyres and shocks exploded right in front of me, quickly followed by the rear tyres and I remember over hearing one of the instructors going “Oh, I wasn't expecting that to happen!” Needless to say, we put the car out in record time and I went home and changed my knickers.
After that incident, it gave me the courage to step up and out of my comfort zone, to give things a go…and of course to go out and buy more underwear for said ‘special’ occasions.
What book are you reading at the moment and is it any good?
I’ve just started “Graceling” by Kristen Cashore – I don’t know if it’s any good yet, only a couple of pages in, but the cover is pretty hot with a wild sword wielding gorgeous woman looking deliciously dangerous.
I bought it because the writing style differs from what I have been reading lately and thought it might give me a few style ideas to think about and give my brain a break from romances, by mixing it up with swords, a few broken arms, chopped of fingers and the odd smack up the chops for good luck. The idea was to pick something light and different…oh alright, I bought it for the cover.
We never write about our characters having PMT or going to the toilet or changing tampons or accidentally putting their knickers on inside out. Are you even just a little bit tempted to build up to a steamy sex scene and then have your main character say "If you touch me again I'll rip your bloody arms off!"?
Yes, and no. LOL. Sometimes I play with the ideas, just because I can, and other times I avoid them like the plague because reality is full enough of that stuff already and it’s enjoyable to live in a world where sex is always great, it’s never ‘that time of the month’, morning breath is irrelevant and nobody farts and makes the paint peel off the walls.
Which did you prefer. The Hunger Games or Harry Potter and why?
I haven’t read either books, but I did see the movies and I liked them both for different reasons – The complexity and craftsmanship of Harry Potter was astounding and yet the Hunger Games, which was incredibly simple (comparatively) sucked me in quite easily. Both were enjoyable, but on completely different playing fields of entertainment.
And finally, in the spirit of outstanding Australian interviewers, who would you turn straight for?
Keeping with the Australian theme, I think it would have to be Hugh Jackman. He’s nice, down to earth, sensitive, manly, handsome, the quintessential Aussie, complete with a dry wicked depreciating sense of humour. Yeah, if I had to I could turn for him…as long as he didn’t sing to me - I’m not that keen on his voice. So Hugh, if you’re reading this, you can come on over and sleep on the couch, but no singing big guy or you’ll find yourself sleeping in the shed pretty darn quick.