7 November 2014

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Narelle Atkins

Today I'd like to welcome Narelle Atkins, author of Her Tycoon Hero (which I reviewed yesterday. You can read my review here). Narelle's first book was published in February of this year, and this is her fourth—yes, fourth—title. It's been a busy year! Welcome, Narelle.

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.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay. It’s the third book in her Twilight of the British Raj historical romance series set in India. I highly recommend this book and the entire series to readers who enjoy historical fiction set in exotic locations. Veiled at Midnight is a fascinating story set during a time of political and religious upheaval when the British Raj withdrew from India after WW2.

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

About Narelle

A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia. She sold her debut novel, Falling for the Farmer, to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a 6-book contract. Her Tycoon Hero is her fourth release and the first book in her Sydney series.

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).

Website: http://www.narelleatkins.com
Blog: http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NarelleAtkinsAuthor
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.


  1. I'm a pen and paper gal, too, but I create scenes as I write. I admire people who can outline scenes and then mix/shuffle them up to find the best outcome. I get dizzy just thinking about doing that!

    1. Narelle makes it sound easy, but I'm sure it's not!

      Thanks for visiting, Sara.

    2. Hi Sara, It took a long time to refine my writing process and discover what works for me. Definitely a process of trial and error. The index cards provide a tangible visible picture of the story structure. I use my bed and spread them all out. During the writing process I do rearrange the order of the scenes. I usually add in new scenes and delete others as I learn new things about my characters. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. HI Narelle, Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay certainly sounds like an interesting read. And I like that My Tycoon Hero deals with Cassie's troubled past. Congrats on being one book off from completing your six book deal. All the best with your new book proposals.

    1. Hi Jeanette, Thanks for your congrats :) I hope you'll have a chance to read Veiled at Midnight and the other books in Christine's series.

  3. Great authors write great books! Thank you for this interview and giveaway.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Melanie, Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing :)

  5. a wonderful posting...thanks for sharing Narelle :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi Karen, Thanks for stopping by and good luck in the drawing :)

  6. Congratulations Melanie! You've won a copy of Her Tycoon Hero :) I've sent you an email to organize the delivery of your book.