There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Ernest Hemingway

Where did you grow up and what was your early life like? When did you first move out of your childhood home and did you know then that you wanted to be a writer?

I grew up on the east coast of Australia, and my parents moved around a lot. I guess that's where my own wanderlust came from. I loved exploring new places and moving to them was way better than doing the tourist thing. Although I did a lot of that too, as a child and as an adult. I came from a generation where the only effective way of moving out of home was by getting married and, as I was also starting my teaching career and was expected to go anywhere in the state to do so, marriage seemed a good idea. Luckily my boyfriend at the time was happy to oblige. I write Romance, I didn't say I lived it.

How would you describe life in Durham county in the UK? Do you think that a writer's work is affected by the place or environment they live in?

If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be living in an old pit village (coal mining pit) I would have laughed at them. I have always preferred living in rural settings where there is plenty of quiet. But moving here from the North Yorkshire Dales last year was the best thing to happen to me for a long time. I feel comfortable here, and I realised part of that was because one of the places I lived as a teen was a coal mining community in the Hunter Valley. Even the place names were the same. And it is quiet, even though there are lots of people nearby. I think being happy, no matter where you live, affects a writer's work most. As I live in my imagination most of my waking (and sleeping sometimes) hours, beyond having my creature comforts met, I could be anywhere in the world when I write.

What was the book that got you hooked on paranormal romance?

I don't think there was ever one book. The paranormal has been my normal since I was a kid so it was logical that I'd write about what I knew.

What was the idea that spawned The Airluds Trilogy? Which book in the trilogy has taken the longest to write?

I had read a couple of reverse harem romances and liked them, so I decided to challenge myself to write one. Let's face it, turning the subject matter of porn into a loving and emotionally engaging story was no mean feat and I wanted to see if I was up to it. So I sat down and thought, okay, when might a woman have a male harem? I remembered 'Paint Your Wagon' where a woman who had been one of many wives to a Morman suggested taking both Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin as her husbands. Therefore I'd need a world where harems for men were the norm and a heroine, used to that form of marriage, who might question why it was okay for a man to have a harem and not a woman. Then I took a lot of what I knew about world religions and cultures (being a history teacher/lecturer had some benefits) and created a fantasy world that blended those cultures with some magic. Well, a lot of magic. Because who doesn't like magic? And voila... the Airluds were born! As to which took the longest to write? Probably the last, as I knew the war was coming, but I really didn't want to have to write about it. So I procrastinated a lot and sent the book off in a new direct, all to avoid the inevitable. But eventually I did write about the war and everyone did end up happy ever after, so it was all good. But if I hadn't been paid an advance for the audio rights I'm sure I would have procrastinated a lot longer.

In the second book of said trilogy, who inspired the character Airsha? Which character in the entire trilogy did you have the most fun time creating?

Airsha was the heroine of all three books, but her pregnancy during the second was inspired by my own. And there was a lot of me in Airsha, so I guess I was her inspiration. As to the character I had the most fun creating? That would have to be Flea. She started as a necessary second POV because my heroine was pregnant and couldn't go on as many adventures. And I wanted a character who the reader would be suspicious of and not like. But I really liked Flea, and I knew she wasn't a baddie, and so she got a bigger part in the last book than I expected. At the end of the trilogy I realised I wanted to see her get her HEA too so decided to write three more books in the same world, this time with her as the heroine. The Airshan Chronicles told her story.

When creating a character do you tend to focus more on their physical attributes or characteristic traits (like their personality, intelligence, background, etc)? Definitely traits.

The physical comes later to match the traits. So fiery young Flea had to be a redhead, didn't she?

Although your books "The Barbarian's Mistress" and "Scorpio Sons 1: Colton" have very different themes and storylines, what are some connective threads or similarities between the two books? What would you say characterises your writing?

If I had to come up with a common core or thread for all my books whether Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance or SF/Time Travel it would be the healing power of love. I often have wounded protagonists, and that wounding is commonly sexual- the barbarian in Barbarian's Mistress is a sex slave in Ancient Rome and the heroine has her work cut out for her convincing him of his worth and lovability. All my books deal with the redemptive power of love whether slaves in Ancient Rome, genetically engineered clone warriors in the modern world or time travellers from the future. Oh, and I guess there are always lots of adventures and twists and turns too. It would be boring otherwise, right?

What was the first thing you did after you found out that "The Titan Drowns" won the 2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER? Who's the first person you usually share any of your book-related news with?

I went, huh, I didn't even know I'd been nominated. It was a turning point for me, though. As an Indie Author there was always the vanity press stigma to deal with. I mean, you aren't a 'real' author are you if you aren't mainstream published? So when Barbarian got 16 k downloads and brilliant reader reviews I went, huh, I am a 'real' author. When I got the award for Titan I went huh, I must be a good 'real' author. When Sacrifice shot to the top of the Fantasy Romance category in its first few days and sold thousands and had a million pages read in a few weeks I went, huh, I must be a good 'real' and popular author who can now make a full time living from my writing. Which, I guess, makes me a professional. All labels I know but, having been a teacher of English literature, I had pretty high standards to measure myself against. My books are never going to be good literature, but as long as people enjoy them, and their world is changed a little by reading them. I'm happy. I share all my wins with my editor and best friend, Jan.

How do you choose character names? How long did it take you to decide on the name Pia Rogaland (from "The Titan Drowns")?

Like physical traits, names come from the character traits. They just come to me or I do a google search of names for the relevant country of origin and see what feels like the character. As for Pia, a quick google search of Norwegan baby names gave me something sweet, which is what Pia is. Very sweet, fragile and innocent. Her last name was fairly easy. All New Atlanteans have as their last name the state or county where they were living when the Last Great Plague devastated the planet. Pia came from Norway, from a town I had actually visited, so I looked that area up and she had her surname. Most states/counties work well as last names, except for poor Jane who came from New South Wales (like me) so she became Jane NewSW. Not my best name choice, I have to say. And for the Scorpio Sons series all the heroes had to have names that started with C and the heroines names that stared with A. Thank goodness for on-line baby naming sites!

Of all the books you've written, which one feels the most personal to you and why?

The Way Home, hands down. After I went through cancer and lost my son a lot of people told me I should write my autobiography. I could think of nothing worse. But when I moved to England I felt far enough away from the trauma of that time to write a little about it through a character. I believe strongly that writing fiction is a way to explore personal wounds from a safe space. So my heroine in The Way Homewas a young woman recovering from breast cancer, who has lost both her breasts and doesn't know if she will survive. Although it was a paranormal romantic adventure, I did get to let my heroine speak for me, and it was powerful. And it was to readers too. My best friend, who is now my editor, first wrote to me after reading it. She had never written to an author before but she needed me to know that having had cancer 16 years before, it wasn't until she read my book that she realised she had survived it. Most people who have never had cancer don't realise that surgery and chemo/radiation aren't the end of the story. Surviving comes next and that is often a long, painful stage in the healing process. Coming to that point when you actually acknowledge you have survived, not just prolonged your life for a while, is a significant moment. So, yeah, The Way Home.

Have you ever written something you didn't really like but wrote anyway out of necessity?

No.

What are your tips and tricks to stay on track and creative with your writing?

Learn your craft then throw away the text books and follow your muse. But don't allow your muse to tempt you away from the story you are currently writing. They can be very changeable and flighty creatures, these muses, so you have to train them. Finish this book first and then you can give me the next. (Think of it as a kid wanting to eat desert before their vegis.)And no, presenting it as a dream will not tempt me to put this new story at the head of the line... I did that once and it played havoc with the series, which had to be written out of order. Never again

What are your thoughts on author collaborations? Who are some authors you'd like to collab with?

Tried it once. It's not for me. I'm a loner. That's why I like writing. I can do it alone!

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