First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What hobbies do you have (apart from reading and writing!)?I grew up on the northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. I now live in Canberra with my husband and school-aged children, and I have a part-time job in retail. I’m in a season in my life where I don’t have a lot of spare time. Does going to the gym count as a hobby?
Only if you enjoy it! Otherwise it's just a good habit.
It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?Yes, this is true for me. My favourite genre is contemporary inspirational romance and I love reading books set in Australia. My favourite Aussie contemporary inspirational romance authors are Mary Hawkins, Andrea Grigg and Rose Dee.
Who are some of my favourite Aussie authors as well, although I've also got a soft spot for Paula Vince.
I've read Christine's two earlier titles, and I'm hoping to get a chance to read this as well. I've been fascinated by India for years, but there aren't a lot of Christian novels set there.
Her Tycoon Hero is a little more edgy than other Heartsong Presents novels, in that Cassie Beaumont has a history of alcohol abuse. What prompted this? Was it a hard sell to a publisher known for more conservative titles?Her Tycoon Hero is the first book I wrote and I started this story back in 1998. I have family members who have struggled with alcoholism and addiction issues. I knew Cassie’s family background and alcoholism had led her to make unwise choices in the past.
I sold Her Tycoon Hero to Harlequin in September 2012, a month after they announced they’d bought the Heartsong Presents line from Barbour. My editor read Falling for the Farmer (you can see my review here), which led to a discussion on writing proposals for two 3-book series. The six books were contracted in March 2013.
The Heartsong Presents line is open to international settings and includes stories that deal with real life issues from a Christian perspective. Forgiveness and redemption are common themes in the line. My books are set in Australia with Aussie characters, which may have been a harder sell than the alcoholism issue.
Personally, I think the Aussie settings are a plus. Now, if only we could get some New Zealand settings ...
Ryan Mitchell is a successful businessman, but has his own issues, particularly his brother, Sean. One thing Her Tycoon Hero never really touched on was Ryan’s feelings about falling for his brother’s ex. Can you enlighten us on this?My comments below contain spoilers. Please feel free to skip over this question if you haven’t read the book.
Cassie and Sean, Ryan’s brother, were close friends in a dysfunctional way, but they didn’t share a past romantic relationship. Cassie was too self-absorbed with her alcoholism to consider whether or not Sean had feelings for her. Sean had his own issues and problems. Cassie partied with Sean and she usually couldn’t remember much about what had happened because she was intoxicated. She gravitated to Sean because he indulged and enabled her emotionally unhealthy addiction and didn’t judge her.
Ryan knows that Cassie doesn’t have a romantic interest in Sean, and Ryan doesn’t see his brother as a threat. Ryan and Sean have a complex relationship, and Ryan is aware that his brother will make outrageous claims to get out of a tight corner.
How does your faith influence your writing?My faith is an integral part of my life and I like to explore my character’s faith journey in the story. Their faith defines their values, morals and code of behaviour. It also influences their life goals and the decisions they make during the story.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? I understand you plot everything out in advance—how does this work? Why do you choose this approach?I sell my books on proposal, which means I submit the first three chapters plus a detailed synopsis. It’s hard to write a great proposal if you don’t have a robust outline. The key story elements including the inciting incident, major turning points, climax, dark moment and resolution need to be included in the synopsis. I also know my hero and heroine’s GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) before I start writing. I use index cards because I find I’m more creative in the brainstorming stage if I’m using pen and paper rather than typing on the computer. I start outlining the main scenes and shuffle the scenes around until the basic story structure is in place.
I guess cards are easier to shuffle than an entire manuscript!
Her Tycoon Hero is the first book in your second trilogy, and I understand you’ve just finished writing the third book in the series, which completes your contract. What’s next?I’m currently writing proposals for more books in my Snowgum Creek series. These stories are set in a fictitious small town near the Snowy Mountains in Australia.
Thanks Narelle! To celebrate the official release of Her Tycoon Hero yesterday, Narelle is giving away one print copy (worldwide, wherever The Book Depository delivers) to a reader who leaves a comment on this post
She blogs regularly with Australasian Christian Writers, International Christian Fiction Writers and Inspy Romance.
Narelle is also a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA).
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins
Her Tycoon Hero: Back cover blurb:
Cassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances
Set on proving to everyone that she's no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad's top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie's wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she's worked hard to escape.
Ryan is taken with his boss's beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie's newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.