This week my Awesome Aussie Author guest is the bestselling romantic suspense author, Bronwyn Parry. Bronwyn is a wonderfully warm hearted lady with a gift for keeping you gripped to the pages of her novels. She lives on 100 acres of beautiful bushland in the New England tablelands, with her husband and two energetic border collies.
Welcome, Bronwyn, I’m so excited to have you here with me today. I love your books.
Where were you born, raised, schooled and what was the most mischievous thing
you did when you were a child?
I was born outside Melbourne, near Mount Dandenong,but we moved to Canberra when I was six. In my first year of school, in Victoria, I read 50-plus books – I still have the piece of card somewhere with all the titles and a star for each one. In first grade in Canberra, the other kids were just learning ‘Words in Colour’, a fancy new system (at the time!) with pretty charts and a different colour for each letter – I have no idea if it was effective, because I could already read, and was working my way through the books for older kids in the library!
As for mischief, I was too busy reading to get up to much mischief!
How long did it take you to get published and how did you feel when you were told you had a contract?
I started getting serious about writing in 2001, but gave myself a year or so to experiment. I learn by doing, so that was a great strategy for me, and those early partial manuscripts taught me a lot about my writing strengths and process. Towards the end of 2006, I entered the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart contest – my manuscript wasn’t quite finished, but paying my entry fee gave me a firm deadline to get it finished, and I find deadlines... shall we say, motivating. I wrote ‘The End’ with hours to spare before I had to post it! In March 2007, that manuscript finalled in the Golden Heart for best romantic suspense manuscript. It was amazing being at the RWAmerica conference in Dallas for the awards in July; picture something like the Oscar ceremony, with the 2000 people, red carpet, huge video screens, famous authors announcing the finalists in each category, and the agonizing, breathless seconds while the envelope was opened... and there was my face on the screen, and I had to make it up the stairs to the stage without tripping over in my high heels... yes, I’d just won a Golden Heart, but ‘do not fall over in front of 2000 people’ was the only coherent thought in my head!
There were some media reports in Australia about my Golden Heart success, and I was approached by a publisher and an agent who both invited me to send them the manuscript. Some months later, I was at home sick on a Friday with a very bad cold. The phone rang, and I raced from one end of the house to the other to answer it, thinking uncharitable thoughts about Indian call centres. So it did take some moments to sink in that the lovely publisher on the other end of the phone actually wanted to buy my books.
I write best at night, when it’s dark and still outside, and it’s just me and my story (and the dogs coming for pats....). After dinner, my geek DH settles in his study, and I settle in mine, and when the words flow I can keep going until midnight. I write in the sunroom; by day, I look out on bush and kangaroos and blue wrens and other wildlife, by night it’s black, unless there’s a moon out there, but there’s a sense of space and peace
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming book? And what date it will be released?
My third romantic suspense, Dead Heat, will be officially released on March 27. It’s set in north-west NSW, where Jo, a National Park Ranger who enjoys being alone in the wilderness, finds a murder victim in a vandalised campground one summer morning.
The new local detective, Nick Matheson, is trying to return to normal duties and a normal life after years of undercover work. He knows organised crime from the inside out, and suspects that the victim in the camping ground is not an isolated murder.
Nick’s determined to protect Jo, who has seen a killer’s face, but as the body count starts mounting his past and present collide, making them both targets. Trapped in rugged country in scorching summer heat, pursued by hunters who can’t afford to fail, Nick and Jo need to trust each other completely, and use all their skills and knowledge if they want to survive.
Where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere! A headline, a snippet of conversation, a glimpse of a person, an idea... I have a vivid imagination, and my brain loves playing ‘what if...?’ I won’t say that my characters talk to me, because really, they’re fictional and they don’t. Much. But I do get a strong instinctual sense of who they are, and if I try to make them do something that isn’t right, it just doesn’t work. That’s when I play another round of ‘what if?’ and bingo, sometimes the ideas slide into place and give me a great new angle.
What is your favourite meal?
A favourite meal? Only one? I like food. I like freshly cooked, fresh ingredients for main dishes – like crimson snapper, cooked with ginger, lemon juice, and a touch of spice, with oven-baked potato chips. For dessert – well, it doesn’t have to be chocolate, but I’ve rarely turned down a choc dessert! I do make a nice pear and almond muffin, which is quite yummy served with a macadamia and honey ice-cream. And I make sourdough things – rolls, fruit-bread, crumpets, pancakes, and chocolate cake.
Who is your favourite Australian?
I’d have to say my Dad, because he’s been in my thoughts a great deal. He passed away recently after a long, rich life; I described him on my blog as my first hero, and in his quiet way, he set a very high standard for heroes! He faced every day of his life with emotional and physical courage, and didn’t let his brittle bones stop him from leading a full and giving life. I learned a lot about story-telling from him, and inherited his love of the Australian landscape, and the rich tapestry of people who live in it.
What is your favourite Aussie saying?
‘No worries.’ Simple, easy, up beat and multi-purpose!
Where would be your ideal place to holiday?
I love to travel, and there are many, many places on my ‘must see’ list. We need to find some time for a holiday this year; depending upon weather (and floods...) we might go back into south-west Queensland,or perhaps take a meandering inland route up to Cairns, where DH may have a conference in July. Or perhaps back to outback South Australia...or north-west Victoria...such a great country, and so much to see!
Thank you, Bronwyn, for giving us a peak into your writer’s life. It’s been wonderful having you pop by today. My heart goes out to you for the recent loss of your father, your hero. Our parents are such precious people in our lives. Hugs to you, Bron, your father will remain alive in your magical memories and he will always be with you in spirit.
To learn more about Bronwyn Parry you can visit her website.
Thought for this week
“Have a keen interest in your future for you are going to be spending the rest of your life there”
Until next week, keep dreaming and smiling