Category Archives: Adventurous Hearts

Quintette of Questions: Jacqui Greaves

Today I ask five questions of  writer, Jacqui Greaves.

Jacqui Greaves

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how did you choose the title?

Gods of Fire. It had a totally different title for the entire time I spent writing and editing it. In the end I wanted something dramatic that would also hint at the story within. I filled a sheet of A4 paper with handwritten lists of potential titles and Gods of Fire was the clear winner.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Hands down, a young Sam Heughan (Jamie from Outlander) would be the main character. I had his picture pinned to the wall in front of me for the entire time.

3. What five words best describe your story?

Sexy, Dangerous, Fantasy, Historical, Aflame

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple or team?

At the moment (and bearing in mind I haven’t yet seen Avengers: Infinity War) my favourite team is the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thrown together in an uneasy alliance, this bunch of misfits become family.

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

It has to be “Light My Fire” by the Doors.

About Gods of Fire

Sentenced to death as an infant by his grandfather then abandoned by his mother, Guillaume grows up with no idea of who or what he is. All he understands is that he has a voracious sexual appetite and the power to render himself irresistible to any woman he desires.

His life is thrown into turmoil when his full powers are revealed in a violent display of fire and murder. Forced to leave the only home he has known, Guillaume sets forth to unravel the mystery of his heritage. His quest takes him through France and deep into Africa.

As his powers grow only his lifelong companion, Smoke, can help him control the depraved primal urges that threaten to overwhelm him. When Smoke loses her influence, it’s not only the lives of those close to him that are threatened. Can the world survive the ancient being that Guillaume becomes?

About Jacqui Greaves

Jacqui has lived an adventure-filled life, spanning a range of careers and countries. She’s wrangled kindergarten children, driven buses, researched humpback whales, spoken at the United Nations, visited Antarctica, farmed deer and, most recently, written strange and sexy fiction. When she’s not writing, reading, playing golf, or practicing Iaido, she can be found sampling her favourite wines or cocktails.

A New Zealander, currently living by the beach in Melbourne, Jacqui has two novella’s published in the PNRLust Anthologies and several short stories in online publications. Gods of Fire is her first full length novel.

Follow Jacqui:

Buy Gods of Fire

Quintette of Questions: Welton B. Marsland

This week’s new romance release interview is with:

Welton B. Marsland

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

It’s called By the Currawong’s Call, though it didn’t get that title until quite late in its development.

For the longest time, all its bits and pieces had no actual title at all, but they lived in a computer folder called ‘Dinbratten’ – the name of the town in the book.  Then for another long while, it had the working title Ratties (the nickname for the town’s residents).  Briefly, I considered various Biblical references, due to my main character being a priest, and Australian Football references, but nothing really fit well.

Finally, I started throwing around ideas involving various bush birds and settled on the currawong because it’s not only a beautiful bird with a beautiful call, but its name is beautiful, too.  I don’t know if anyone will notice, but the first occurrence of “currawong” in the book is actually made in reference to Jonah Parks (and he certainly does some calling!).

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

If I could cross early ’70s John Waters (the Australian actor, not the American film director!) with Jensen Ackles when he’s got a beard, I think the result would make a pretty good Jonah Parks.  For Matthew, my Anglican priest, 1939-era Tyrone Power would be just the ticket (have you seen him in that year’s “Jesse James”? Mercy!)

3. What five words best describe your story?

Intimate. Hopeful. Quiet. Sexy. Australian.

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple?

Several spring immediately to mind, but I must go with Agron & Nasir from the TV series Spartacus.  They flew under a lot of the mainstream’s radar, but they were magnificent characters, gifted with a story arc that was so carefully and lovingly woven, shunning practically every stereotype that might’ve got in their way.  Just so satisfying and narratively tight, it’s hard to believe they were “only” secondary characters.

Amazing work and commitment from three straight men (writer/creator Steven DeKnight, Australian actor Dan Feuerriegel and New Zealand actor Pana Hema-Taylor) in bringing this oh-so-untypical, heroic, badarse, complicated queer couple to the screen.

Dan and Pana set the bar so high for two-people-believably-falling-in-love that I’m just completely spoilt for all screen depictions of love stories from here on out.  I could shower accolades all day!

5. What song always makes you cry? 

Forever Autumn from the War of the World’s double album never fails to turn the waterworks on.

About By the Currawong’s Call

A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful…

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

About Welton B. Marsland

A queer-punk history geek who flits between nature walks, dinky bars, footy matches and live gigs, WBM lives in the great city of Melbourne with an ex-Army sword-slinger and three idiosyncratic cats.

Follow Welton B. Marsland

Buy By the Currawong’s Call

Quintette of Questions: SM Spencer

This week’s romance release interview is with:

SM Spencer

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

A Chance for Snow.  I wanted to keep to the theme of “A Chance …” and knew this was to be a story set around Christmas, so this worked well. It wasn’t hard to pick the title, just took a bit of tweaking.

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

Hugh Jackman would make a fabulous Jim Mitchell!  And Rose Byrne would make a great Debra Franklin. As for the kids, perhaps a young Liam Hemsworth for Porter, and Emily Browning as Megan. (An all Australian cast, for certain!)

3. What five words best describe your story?

Moving, Dreamy, Surprising, Entwining, Genuine

4. Who is your favourite fictional couple?

Well, if I were to base it on the number of times I watched the movie and never seemed to tire of it, I think it would have to be Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. My favourite quote from the movie, “big mistake”. Who doesn’t know where she says that, who she’s talking to at the time, and why she says it? It’s a classic line!

5. What song always makes you cry? 

The song Angel (sometimes known as In the Arms of an Angel) by Sarah McLachlan always make me teary; every time I hear it. I love all versions of the song, but perhaps my favourite would be the one with Pink, from the American Music Awards, 2008.

I’m glad you asked this question as it prompted me to look up the history of the song—there’s a good reason it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

About A Chance for Snow

With a double wedding and Christmas fast approaching, love is in the air—or is it?

Of course Debra Franklin is looking forward to her best friend’s wedding; she just wishes she wasn’t dateless again, because even though she’s made plans to leave the small-town gossips behind, she knows the wedding photos with her looking like a spinster will last forever. But when the tall-dark-and-handsome Jim Mitchell, with his cobalt blue eyes shadowed by an American cowboy hat, appears on the scene just a week before the wedding, she reckons her problem of being dateless might just be solved.

Megan Saunders has always wanted a White Christmas, and this year she’s having one—in Canada. But getting her wish is a double-edged sword as it means having less time with her best friend, Porter Murray, before he leaves for university. She’s getting her childhood wish fulfilled, so why does her future feel as bleak as a dusty road leading nowhere?

As Debra’s and Jim’s paths cross with the teenagers, they form unusual friendships—and their lives are changed in surprising ways.

About S M Spencer

Growing up, S M Spencer wanted two things: a horse, and a writing career. After years of hard work, she’s got both. Living the Dream!

Follow S M Spencer

Buy A Chance for Snow

A Tale of Two Conferences

Narrelle with a snake at Australia Zoo
‘Australia Zoo / Ben Beaden’

I spent the middle of August in Queensland. Respite from Melbourne’s very chilly winter was a bonus but not the purpose.

Instead, I was attending my first ever Romance Writers of Australia conference, and then loitering a little longer so I could join Tim on the Sunshine Coast for his conference with the Australian Society of Travel Writers.

And then I got to cuddle a snake.

Love Gone Wild

The RWA conference – Love Gone Wild – was a big financial commitment, but it was definitely worth the time and the money to attend. Apart from getting to meet with hundreds of fellow writers of romance, I was able to attend the conference sessions. I learned something new at every single panel, even ones where I felt fairly sure I knew the material being covered.

I was able to hear from established writers, publishers and agents about how the industry is changing, how people are responding to the changes, the opportunities that are out there and how writers can look for new ways to engage readers. The conference was what finally made me work out how to import my blog, which used to live on a separate site, into my main website here!

I’ve learned a lot about marketing and more than a few things about how to approach submissions and agent queries.

I even won a raffle prize where I get to consult with a swordsman about writing fight scenes!

My new novel, Ravenfall, made its first appearance at Love Gone Wild – and it was the first time I got to lay hands on the trade paperback of this little beauty!

The ebook is coming later, but for now the paperback is due out officially on 1 September and is up for pre-order on:

The fancy dress evening was a delight too – a flock of flamingos were there!

In all, if you’re a budding or established romance writer, I can highly recommend both membership of the RWA and attendance at their annual August conference. Not only are the sessions of enormous value, there are opportunities to pitch books to a range of publishers and agents. It’s being held at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney next year, so you can start preparing now!


ASTW

I’m not myself a travel writer but in my other life as a freelance writer, I’ve written for universities, hotel chains and entertainers. With Tim attending a conference only the weekend following Love Gone Wild, it made sense to hang about (and spend some time with my fabulous brother Stephen, who lives in Brisbane) and join Tim for some of the events that partners were invited to.

So it was that I found myself learning to paint watercolours in the Sunshine Coast hinterland with artist James McKay and later making pottery chickens at Fried Mudd.

Not to mention seeing critters being cared for at the wildlife rescue centre and cuddling snakes at the Australia Zoo. This place is huge and witnessing two blokes feed a crocodile while attempting not to be eaten by one gives me even greater respect for crocodiles.

My favourite part of the croc show was actually the birds – watching the bright parrots and macaws, the beautiful whistling kite and the massive Andean condor. I was fortunate later to meet a macaw up close.

It’s important just as a person to be curious about the world and to seek out new experiences. As a writer, your curiosity is one of your best writing tools – to go forth and try things out. You never know if you’ll need to write about them. More to the point, I often write about things soon after experiencing them.

Now. How soon can I get a character to muck about with a snake?