Abort all chores and absolve yourself of the responsibility of cooking lunch.
Instead: assemble your needs (coffee, cookies, cake), choose your armchair and abduct with Alissa Callen’s novels.
We’re talking outback abodes, absorbing heroes, and heroines with an ardent appreciation of love and the Australian land.
Enough with the alliterations (I could have said argot but I abstained.) I asked my guest to choose six out of thirteen proffered questions. Take it away, Alissa:
Are there cowboys or country manors in any of your stories?
Absolutely J Every story I write features a country manor and either a cowgirl or cowboy.
(Alissa, you had me at Absolutely and you passed the test at Every.)
I just love historic homesteads and country gardens and have been known to drive hours to see an open-garden in Australia and when overseas to drag the family to every National Trust house within sight. In Beneath Outback Skies the homestead of Banora Downs is based on a local country manor called Boree Cabonne.
Boree Cabonne Take a peek.
Will you tell us about yourself and what genre(s) you love writing?
I live on a small slice of rural Australia in central western New South Wales. When not writing I play traffic controller to four children, three dogs, two horses and one renegade cow who really does believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.
This is the actual cow.
Once a teacher and a counsellor, I remain interested in the life journeys that people take. Life doesn’t always deliver a happily-ever-after and so romance is the perfect genre to make sure that no matter what happens to a character they are guaranteed a happy ending. I’m a country girl and so it was only natural my settings are rural and small town ones.
Sigh … Alissa, you’re living a dream life and it’s obviously one you’ve put heart and thought into.
What kind of research do you do for your stories?
Visit country manors and gardens :) (Atta girl !) Here are some links to places I have visited all in the name of research –
Oh, poor Alissa Callen. What a slog. She also had to drag herself to:
Carick Hill Mayfield Garden The Abbey and Fitzroy Gradens
(Photographs shown were taken by Alissa’s own hand.)
I also read such magazines as RM Williams and Country Style for visual inspiration as well as take many photos of my local country area. Google is also very much a part (obsession) of my research tool-box.
Smart writers with heart do smart, thoughtful and thorough research!
What writing project did you put aside to answer these questions?
Am currently working on a small town series based in a bush town that holds an annual Elvis festival. And again, all in the name of research had so much fun visiting this for-real Elvis festival.
Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing that one made into a true Aussie-style film, Alissa.
A taste of the Elvis festival
Are you fun to go on holiday with?
I think so :) But have a feeling my family might prefer to say ‘exhausting’. It takes a lot to organize time away from the farm and so I make the most of every minute and enjoy finding obscure and interesting things to do and see.
It would certainly be exhausting if you had to take the cow.
It’s difficult to envisage this genteel looking, smart wife, mother and author wrangling an errant cow (but I bet you she can!)
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time. Murphy’s law the words often flowed when life didn’t leave much space or opportunity for writing. And having four children they often tag-teamed being sick or having mammoth sporting commitments. Many a chapter was written at rugby, soccer or netball training.
Thank you Jennie so much for having me visit your country manor! It was such fun answering your questions :)
The pleasure is entirely mine, Alissa. How you manage to write your beloved stories with so many responsibilities shows aspiring writers it can be done, and it can be done extremely well (and it’s not such a bad reminder for newly published or established authors either!)
Thank you for popping in to my country manor. Will you promise to come back and let us know how Elvis got on in the outback? (Don’t worry, readers, I’ll make her.)
Here is where you can find Alissa Callen after I wave her off at my blue door:
Beneath Outback Skies Book/buy link
What Love Sounds Like Book/buy link
Alissa Callen Face book author page
Alissa Callen website
Alissa's Face book page for rural fiction: Books for Country Girls and Guys
As always, Jennie recommends readers purchase (or pre-order) the titles of their dreams and support the writers who have taken the time to answer these questions. Writing is hard work and not for the faint-hearted - but so joyful for the reader. What would we do without books (and writers)?
Feel free to leave a pleasant comment, we’d love to hear from you!
Jennie & Alissa
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"We may not have everything in life we want but at least we can have it all in a book." ~ Jennie Jones