I'll be reviewing Falling for the Farmer in March, as part of the Australasian Christian Readers Blog Alliance blog tour, but I can tell you now: I very much enjoyed it, and I've enjoyed getting to know Narelle a bit better through this interview.
About Falling for the Farmer
Kate Lawson is a runaway bride ...And she's incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend's brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer.
Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn't here to stay. Yet suddenly he's imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side?
So, Narelle, what inspired Falling for the Farmer?
I’m a city girl, and I was introduced to farm life after I married my husband and visited his family. I’ve helped out on their farms and picked apples, planted apple trees, rounded up sheep. I started writing my first book, set in Sydney, a few years after I married. I remember staying at one of the farms and thinking what if a city girl lived and worked on an apple farm? Months later I woke one morning and my first thought was that Kate, my city girl heroine, was a runaway bride. The story was in my head for a number of years, brewing away while I was in the midst of baby and toddler chaos, before I actually started writing chapter one.
Who is your favourite character and why?
Jack is my favourite character. My heroes are always my favourite character in my stories. If I can’t fall in love with my heroes, I can’t expect my readers to care for them. Jack ticks most of my boxes in terms of heroic qualities. He’s hard working, loyal, dependable, lots of fun, and has a sense of humour. He’s his own man, does want he wants, and has turned his expensive hobby and love of cars into a thriving business. My husband copes with my oohs and aahs as I’m writing my books and swooning over my heroes.
Kate’s mother is rather over-the-top. What inspired her?
I think we’ve all come across people like Kate’s mother. She’s a social climber who attends church because she believes it will improve her social status, and God is more of an afterthought. She does a lot of good things, for example charity work, but her heart motivation for why she does these things is questionable. She thinks she knows best and is determined to see her daughter marry a wealthy man. She equates material wealth with happiness. Kate’s mother epitomises the hypocritical behaviour that may turn people off attending church and becoming involved in a church community.
Do you have anything in common with Kate?
Years ago I worked as an accounts clerk/bookkeeper for a small business. I also did a couple of accounting subjects in my Economics Degree, although I discovered accounting wasn’t my area of interest. Our personalities are very different. I’m not a people pleaser like Kate. I’m prepared to say the hard things, stand up for myself and accept the consequences. I’ve enjoyed helping out on the farms, and I can understand why Kate is drawn to farm life.
Falling for the Farmer is your debut novel, and the first book in a trilogy. What can we expect in the next two books?
My Snowgum Creek books are a continuity series. Either the hero, heroine, or both are minor characters in a previous book in the series. The Nurse’s Perfect Match (May 2014) starts two years after Falling for the Farmer ends. Amy, a minor character in Falling for the Farmer, is the heroine. I introduce a new family to the series starting with the eldest brother, Ben. I tell Megan’s story in Book 3, The Doctor’s Return (August 2014). Megan is Jack’s sister and Kate’s best friend. I have ideas for future books in the series that I hope I’ll have the opportunity to write.
What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?
Be prepared to work hard and learn the craft of writing. Join writing organisations and find critique partners and groups who will help you improve your writing. Attend conferences that will assist in your professional development. Contribute to the writing community in volunteer capacities. And, enjoy the journey. Your goal may be to publish a book, but there are many blessings to be found along the way.