Welcome to today's Awesome Aussie Author segment where I have the highly successful and all round lovely author, Barbara Hannay, popping in for a chat. I have had the pleasure of meeting Barabra in person at an event last year and she is such a kind and thoughtful lady. Her novels are best described as sparkling, feel good, emotional romances and I can tell you from experience that they keep you gripped to the pages and leave you head-over-heels in love with the leading man.
Welcome, Barbara. It’s lovely having you here today.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing you did when you were a child?
I was born in Sydney but moved to Brisbane when I was four. We lived in a bushy suburb in the foothills of Mt Cooth-ha and I crossed stepping stones in a creek to get to primary school each day – at least that’s the route I chose. I went to The Gap high school and the University of Queensland (St Lucia). Not sure if this was mischievous or plain dumb – but I remember playing pirates and making a beaut eye-patch out of bubble gum. Of course I squealed when my poor mum had to remove it.
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
It was four and a half years from the day I sat down to write my first effort for Mills and Boon to the day I received “The Call” in 1998. It was early evening and I was in the kitchen getting dinner, so my husband took the call. ‘It’s for you and she’s got an English accent,’ he told me all excited. I was over the moon, floating for a week afterwards, and I can remember knowing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime level of happiness.
What time of the day/night do you prefer to write and where do you like to write?
I write most days, all day, like a regular job, and often on the weekends as well. I rarely write in the evenings. Mostly I work in my office with no view, but I do love to get up early, when I have the house and the world to myself. I often take my laptop through to the dining room where I have a lovely view of the hills and sky growing lighter as dawn breaks. After that, we often get a mist that creeps gradually closer. It’s beautiful.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book? And what date it will be released?
I’m in the fortunate position of having two books with two different publishers coming out soon. First, Falling For Mr Mysterious will be released by Mills and Boon in May. It’s the story of Emily Silver who flees to her city cousin’s apartment after she’s betrayed and hurt by her boyfriend. But her cousin’s away and she meets Jude Marlowe instead. Jude’s a crime writer, as mysterious as the novels he writes. Emily tries to resist, but she can’t help but be intrigued. Jude has a secret, however, and the more he falls for Emily, the more he knows he shouldn’t, for he may not be able to offer her the lifetime together they both deserve.
And then Zoe’s Muster is my first book for Penguin Australia and it will be released on July 25. Very exciting! When Zoe discovers that the man who’s raised her is not her biological father, she feels compelled to leave the city for the outback to find the man who fathered her. She takes a job as a cook with a mustering team on his property. Her story is interwoven with her mother’s story. And of course there’s a romance for Zoe with a handsome, brooding cattleman, Mac McKinnon.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere – conversations, newspapers, movies, books. Did I say conversations? Thinking, dreaming… all the things that got me into trouble at school.
What is your favourite meal?
My most memorable meal ever was gnocchi gorgonzola in Rome. But I love good old corned beef and a spicy tomato relish. And this week we’re at Noosa and my husband’s lightly frying the whiting he’s just caught. With lemon, salt and pepper, that’s hard to beat.
Who is your favourite Australian?
I’m going to name Gabbi Hollows, who was married to the famous Fred Hollows. Gabbi was also an eye doctor working with Fred in Central Australia. I remember how courageous she was, pregnant with twins when Fred became ill, and I admired her for continuing his work through the Foundation she established in his name. Beautiful, clever, hardworking and caring for others – a true heroine.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
Struth. I know it’s old fashioned, but I can’t see that word without hearing an Aussie accent in my head.
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
As I said, right now we’re at Noosa, where we stay regularly – and that’s always lovely, but I love discovering new places too. When our kids were growing up, we spent many holidays camping on a friend’s cattle property on the banks of the Burdekin River. Those holidays were magic.
Thanks for giving us a peak into your writers life, Barabra. I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you. I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Zoe's Muster!
If you would like to find out more about Barabra you can visit her website.
Thought for this week
“Never get too busy making a living, and forget to make a life”
Stay tuned because very soon I will be sharing the first chapter of Jacaranda. Only 3 weeks to go until release day! Yeehaa!
Until next week, keep smiling and dreaming :)