Interview with Jaycee Jarvis

This week, I sat down with Jaycee Jarvis who writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop. Enjoy!

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list, 

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and three children. Our area has lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures so we do a fair amount of hiking and occasionally go camping. I’m not much of one for roughing it, so we don’t go camping as much as my kids would like. I’m just too attached to my modern amenities to go without indoor plumbing for long. I do love a good adventure though, and traveling to see new places. This past year has been hard with travel so limited. I’ve always been a big reader, but never more so than this year. Even when I can’t travel physically, I’m happy read a book and take a vacation of the mind.

What got you started in writing?

I’ve always been attracted to stories and story telling, but I didn’t really start writing until college. I took a few creative writing classes and really fell in love with the art.

What do you like to read?

I read all kinds of books, though fantasy romance is my first love. These days I also depend on the happy ending that romances deliver so I’ve been reading a lot of romance in all different genres. I prefer stories that take me away from the ordinary world so I gravitate to anything speculative and historical romances a lot.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

My debut was Taxing Courtship, the first in the Hands of Destin series. It’s an opposites attract romance between a lady thief and a man too honorable for his own good. Quintin is the kind of sweet and honest guy that I find appealing and somewhat rare in romance. I liked exploring some role reversals with the woman as the more jaded one in the relationship. This series is also a long time coming. I toyed with some of the world building elements–like a system of three elements, rather than the more traditional four or five–for years before getting into the story itself. These days I try to do my world building more on the fly, though it is still fun to chase those “what if” questions.

How do you create your characters?

I’m a character first author, so I like to delve into my characters and figure out what makes them tick. I use archetypes as a starting point and then explore the challenges and struggles in their past that shaped them and what drives them now. I try to really dig into my characters to make them as unique and interesting as possible while still keeping their core personality and values intact. Only after I understand my characters as people do I start working on the plot and how best to push them to their limits.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

As a mom, I’ve written just about everywhere, from the waiting room at the dentist to the sidelines of a wide range of kids’ activities. I prefer coffee shops and other locations with a little noise and bustle, though these days I write mostly at home. I’m a pantser with a few plotting tendencies. I try to identify a few of the high lights and turning points in the story before I start to draft. I don’t draft in order, so it helps to have a few key scenes in mind before I start writing.

What are you working on as we speak?

I’m currently working on the first book in a new trilogy. It’s a totally new world with new characters, and I’m enjoying it a lot. The hero is a Robin Hood type, and a total hoot to write.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

The most important thing is to keep at it. Writing, especially fiction writing, is a long game where even “overnight successes” are usually years in the making. If you have the writing bug stick with it! I would also caution anyone just getting into this business to be focused on your own goals and your own success and milestone. It is easy to get trapped into the mentality of comparing yourself to other authors, when really everyone is on their own publishing journey and no two paths look alike. Other writers can be your inspiration, your mentors or your biggest cheerleaders as long as you see them as colleagues, not competition.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?


Newsletter signup:

Amazon Author Page:



Other: (BookBub)

Newest or upcoming release:

Crowning Courtship

Hands of Destin Book 4

In a world of magic and intrigue, a runaway prince lures a jaded healer into a dangerous scheme, putting her life—and her heart—at risk. 

When his father’s funeral calls him home, Han-Advocate Terin is sure his mother will ensnare him in a disastrous marriage to further her own political ambitions. While the sweet-talking prince can usually charm his way out of anything, only another marriage can thwart his mother’s matrimonial plans. He needs a pretend wife, and fast.

Disillusioned Han-Healer Aurelia has had enough of too-charming, too-handsome men to last a lifetime. Still reeling from her divorce, she scorns every flirtatious advance by the attractive younger man, until a mutual friend convinces her to go along with his outrageous deception.

It’s a harrowing trip, filled with jealous courtiers and potential assassins—not to mention the seductive temptation of Terin’s sweet kisses. When his mother enlists a powerful accomplice, Terin and Aurelia turn to allies of their own, but their help won’t be enough if the pretend lovers can’t rely on each other.

Ultimately, Aurelia must choose between protecting her heart and trusting a charming rogue once more in this exciting conclusion to the Hands of Destin series.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Jaycee’s stories and don’t forget to check out her latest release, Crowning Courtship.

Happy reading!

Interview with Jamie Schlosser

This week, I sat down with Jamie Schlosser, author of new adult and contemporary romance as well as fantasy romance/romantic fantasy. Enjoy!

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list

I’m from Illinois. I live in a small town with my husband and two kids. It just so happens that my favorite hobby is also my career–writing. Even if I never wanted to publish, I’d probably still write just because I enjoy it. I’m an introvert and a homebody, so I don’t get out much. I know, I sound super boring! Ha.

What got you started in writing?

About five years ago a story came to me when I was in the shower. It was a story I wanted to read, so I searched for it. Much to my surprise, I couldn’t find a book about a trucker and a hitchhiker at the time, so I decided to write it for myself with no intention of publishing. Several months later, I thought maybe others would like to read it too, so I started looking into self-publishing. That one story idea turned into three, and it kind of snowballed from there. Now I’m getting ready to publish my thirteenth novel.

What do you like to read?

I love to read anything that’s romance. Romance has so many subgenres, it can always fit whatever I’m in the mood for. New adult, paranormal, taboo, fantasy, dark. Romance has it all!

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

Since I already mentioned my first book in question #2, I’ll talk about my most recent publishing adventures. Up until about a year and a half ago, I’d stuck to writing in new adult romance and contemporary romance. I didn’t think I had it in me to write romantic fantasy or paranormal. But then I got a story idea about a fae prince who was cursed by blindness and he accidentally ends up taking a portal to some woods in the human realm.

He meets a girl there and they become best friends. He’s not supposed to be with her because the only way he can break the curse is to find his fated mate… but of course they fall in love. I started writing this story for fun, but once I got going, I couldn’t stop. The Fae King’s Curse was finished in about 7-8 weeks, which is the fastest I’ve ever written an entire book before. Since then, I’ve written four books in that series and I’m loving every second of it.

Wow! I wish I could write that quickly! How do you create your characters?

My characters start out pretty one-dimensional. I usually have a good idea of what they look like and a few personality traits, but the character development doesn’t happen until I get to know the character better. (Because I’m a panster all the way.)

Where do you write?

I write in my bedroom. I have a sit-to-stand desk set up in the corner, and I need it quiet so I can concentrate. I never write in public.

What are you working on as we speak?

Right now I’m gearing up to release The Fae King’s Prize, then I might switch back to my new adult series, The Good Guys.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring writers would be to take it one day at a time. Write when you can. Even a few hundred words is better than none. Take breaks when you need to. Burnout is real. And if you get discouraged, remember why you started writing in the first place. Your “why” is what’s going to keep you motivated.

Here are all the places you can find me and my books







Reader group:

The Fae King’s Prize releases on April 8th. Good luck with the launch, Jamie!

Stay tuned for more interviews in the coming weeks!

Happy reading

Bernadette x

Interview with Karen Tomlinson

This week, I sat down with Karen Tomlinson to delve into her writing and see if I could discover what makes her tick…

Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m from England in the UK. I live smack in the centre, imaginatively it’s called the Midlands! I’m really lucky to live near one of our National Parks called the Peak District, which is beautiful: rolling hills, moors, woods, views, pretty old stone villages and large stately homes. 

I love to write but, as I work full time as a resuscitation trainer and clinical skills trainer for a large teaching hospital, that takes most of my free time. Before the pandemic took over the world, I loved to walk in the hills and mountain bike. I also like to keep fit. I’m a 3rd dan black belt in shotokan karate and still train at home, too. It’s kind of ingrained in me now! I also love to get my reading quota in! I love to read PNR and fantasy romance of any kind, and also enjoy contemporary billionaire/hot romance, too.

 What got you started in writing?

I’ve always loved to read but I struggled at school and didn’t believe I could be an author so I didn’t pursue that dream. Instead, I became a nurse. I actually tried my hand at writing years ago while I worked nights. Haha! It was on an old dot matrix word processor! That tells you how long ago that was. I decided to write seriously when my twins were about four years old and we started a story that we’d add to every night. My husband bought me an android tablet that I could carry with me and I started to write our story down. It blossomed from there into the Goddess and the Guardians series. Obviously, it’s a different beast than the story I put together with my baby girls, but that’s where and how my writing bug took a proper hold.

 What do you like to read?

Oh my goodness! Absolutely everything, but I adore books full of romance, or with a good romance subplot. Some of my favourite authors are: Sarah J Maas, Amelia Hutchins, Miranda Honfleur, and Laurelin Paige. There are many more but those are the ones I try and buy a book from as a treat when I’ve finished writing one of my own.

 Tell us about your first book, or favourite published work?

My first book was A Bond of Venom and Magic. It started as above but ended up as a 250 000 word manuscript. I looked into how long a story should be when I was still deciding whether to go indie or traditional publishing and decided that, yeah, it was way too long. With some serious editing it became the second book, too—A Bond of Blood and Fire.

ABOVAM had a gorgeous, illustrated cover but after taking advice I changed it to one for an older readership and it became what it is now. It’s about a half-human, half-fae girl who falls for an elite guard who is sworn to serve a cruel fae queen. There’s magic, dragons, sexy fae warriors with metallic wings, love, betrayal and huge battles. It was such an amazing experience to write that series.

 How do you create your characters?

Wow! That’s a good question! They pop into my head at a random moment, or something or someone triggers an idea about a character and what their life might be like, and I have to write it down. I write down any other random facts that seep into my head. I actually have most of my good ideas in that strange time between being awake and asleep. I’m always irritating my hubby by flicking the light on and jotting them down on my phone.

The other thing I do is write down anything that I think might make a good title and then characters seem to form in my brain and have to be written down to go with them too!

 Where do you write? Are you a plotter or pantser?

Ha! Well, The Goddess and the Guardians was all written pantser style! And everything fell into place. How I remembered all of those facts, and where I wanted the story to go was crazy really. I sort of hybrid plotted and winged it, for the Eight Kingdoms, Again, I knew where the characters needed to go and kind of knew how they needed to get there, so I guess it was planned in my head. For the Shadow Sentinels I did the same thing but wrote more ideas down. I’ve currently bought a number of craft books, so I’m trying something different for book 3 of the Shadow Sentinels series. I have plotted the whole book. The last time I tried this, it all went completely differently to my plan! I guess this time I’ve written the ideas down that are in my head about where the characters need to go, and they are in more detail. We’ll see how it goes.

I use google docs to write so that I can write anywhere, and on my phone too if I need to.

 What are you working on as we speak?

Well, my brain is such a mess at the moment! I am working on a number of different projects, which I don’t normally do. I am working on getting book 3 of the Shadow Sentinels written. I’ve done about 20 000 words at the moment. I have plotted out a completely new project which is going to be a contemporary billionaire romance, and I’ve plotted and am currently working on, character formation for a PNR book, co-written with Claire Marta. I’ve also got cover projects and planning in the works for my next fantasy series, which is dark fantasy romance, demons and an underworld, that kind of thing. I’m very excited about them all, and just need more hours in the day to write really!

 What would be your advice for aspiring authors?

Wow! A tough one. I’ve made so many mistakes and while some were avoidable, I really don’t think others are. I’ve leant from my mistakes (Lol! Mostly) I think the best advice to start is join 20booksto50K facebook group and read the advice there. Start your own mailing list and write a freebie before you do anything else. You need to build your support and readership before you release your first book. I didn’t understand what that meant and it’s been an uphill struggle since I released my first book in 2016 to find my readers and keep them. I release slowly as I work a day job too, and time is short for me. If you can build up books to release at regular intervals that will help too.

Gosh, there’s so much I’d like to say but I think it would get overwhelming so those three things:


*mailing list

*Faster release plan.

 Newest or upcoming release:

Shadow Sentinels #2 Ruin: Release date: 20th March 2021

 Social follows:

Bookbub follow link: author page:

mailing list:

Silver Guardians Facebook group:

ARC group:

twitter: @kytomlinson


facebook page:





Interview with Astrid V.J.

It was a real pleasure to sit down with Astrid V.J this week. Read on for some enthralling revelations on her motivations and process.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list.

Where am I from? That’s a complicated question because people often do a double take. Recently, someone even said: “how can you be from x if you live in y?” Yeah, I know. Few people understand migration and how much it can affect a person. And in my case, there’s many generations of migration.

I grew up in South Africa. My father is Bavarian, my mother South African-Italian. I now live in Sweden, and people think I’m Swedish until I speak… with a very odd accent they can’t place.

I am married to a Mexican-Swede (yes, we’re a perfect match) and we have two children (I bet they’re going to be confused).

What got you started in writing?

When I was twelve, I read a book. It was non-fiction and way advanced for my age, but I got halfway. Then an idea struck. I put pen to paper. Literally. And I haven’t stopped since. I mould the world around me into fantastical places and miraculous adventures, drawing on History, Human Transformation, Archaeology and Social Anthropology to write Fantasy in a variety of sub-genres.

What do you like to read?

Why books of course 😉

I am an avid reader and audiobook listener. I love almost all genres and am always willing to give something new a try every once in a while. I love being surprised by new authors. That said, anyone following me on Goodreads will know my shelf tends heavily towards Fantasy and Steamy Romance.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

I read Ella Enchanted when I was fifteen and it’s one of those books that was both wonderful and awful at the same time. I love Gail Carson Levine’s writing style and I LOVED how she gave Ella of Frell a decent romance with the prince before the ball. However, it was, yet again, another Cinderella story and after reading and watching as many versions as I had, it felt like a disappointment.

I remember complaining to my sister that there were sooooo many other awesome fairy tales out there, so why did everyone write Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White?

I picked my favourite German fairy tale, less well-known in English, and wove together my love of Ella Enchanted and Jane Austen’s works into what became The Siblings’ Tale, a two-part retelling of Brother and Sister.

How do you create your characters?

Each character has their own journey and creation process, and they come to me in different ways. Viola Alerion, the lead character in The Apprentice Storyteller, is very much inspired by my paternal grandmother who, when I was a child, appeared to me as a very hard and sometimes downright terrifying woman, but as I grew older and began to understand what she’d been through, I began to see a woman who was kind and gentle, but hid her amazing side behind a hard exterior. Another element of Viola came from my own journey implementing the the transformational principles I’d learned as a life coach in my own life, and the doubts and fears I encountered on the way.

Elisabeth, the main character from my debut two-part retelling, The Siblings’ Tale is very different. She just came to me, fully formed and I realised later, once I’d finished writing her that she was essentially the combination of everything I hated about myself and everything I aspire to be.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

I write anywhere I can. As a teenager, I wrote on paper with a proper fountain pen. I used to walk around school with a massive hard-cover folder under one arm and my fingers coated in ink. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more practical and use the notes function on my phone to jot down important points as they come to me, and then I write exclusively using the computer.

As for my style, it oscillates. Some stories start out more on the pantser side, others are planned and then take their own paths that I never expected. A lot of my planning goes into the character arc. What is the main character going to learn? How are they going to learn it? Who is going to teach them? From there, the rest of the story usually falls into place.

What are you working on as we speak?

The Wordmage’s Tales. This is a series of standalone novellas connected to my recent release, The Apprentice Storyteller. Each one engages with one of the key principles of human transformation, showing how that principle works in action. At the same time, this series will serve to expand on the worldbuilding that I’ve started for the Haldrian Empire in The Apprentice Storyteller. It offers some of the history of the different peoples who now form part of the empire.

At the same time, I have started my preparatory work for The Lion, the Lark and the Lady, my next fairytale retelling. At this stage, I’m thinking a lot about the character who’s been introduced in my latest book, Naiya’s Wish, and what her trajectory will be, while sticking to the original fairytale, The Singing Soaring Lark.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

Write what’s in your heart. Only you can write the stories that reside in your heart. No one else can. This is your purpose with writing. It doesn’t matter what others around you think. The first step in embracing your nature as a writer is to stay true to yourself and write what’s there. Everything else will fall into place around that as you take the next steps on your writing (and publishing) journey.

What has been the pinnacle of your writing career so far?

I’d say, there are two. The first, which I didn’t even believe possible, but I went through the motions of a submission anyway, was winning two International Literary Classics Awards for my debut novel, Aspiring, Part 1 of the Siblings’ Tale in 2019. The book I hadn’t believed worth publishing for 13 years was acclaimed with a silver award for Young Adult Fantasy and a gold award in the Fairytales category.

The second came just last week. After more than a year of work together with a group of amazing Fantasy authors, we’ve all received the USA Today Bestselling Author tag, and I’m still reeling from this latest success. When I started my publishing journey just under two years ago, I could never have dreamed this would be possible.

All I can say to anyone else getting into this field, “just keep swimming”. Take each day as it comes and do what you can towards your dream of being an author. Slowly but surely, things fall into place, opportunities come your way, and successes manifest.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?


Newsletter signup:

Amazon Author Page:



Street team sign up:

Other: I’ve started a fiverr account to support other authors as a beta reader, developmental editor and worldbuilding expert:

Newest or upcoming release: 

Upcoming, in quick succession over the next three months, four titles in The Wordmage’s Tales:

The Sewing Princess

(exclusive to my newsletter subscribers and street team)

The Artist and His Muse (on pre-order)

The Last Warrior (on pre-order)

The Companion’s Tale

Interview with Val Saintcrowe

This week I sat down with Val Saintcrowe for do a deep dive into her writing.

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list,

I live near Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the U.S. with my son. I read a lot and I watch a lot of shows on the CW (a television network). No matter how old I get, I can’t seem to get enough of teen drama for some reason. And yes, I will be watching the Gossip Girl reboot, because it’s one of my guilty pleasures.

I write new adult romantic fantasy as Val Saintcrowe, and then I have a ridiculous amount of other pen names in which I write various other genres, including historical romance, urban fantasy, and thrillers.

What got you started in writing?

I’m one of those writers whose got the aw-so-cute anecdote about writing their first story when they were six (It was called “Joyce Spindle and the Purple Stone” and it was a sort of mashup of Trixie Belden and The Hobbit). I’ve basically always written, but I didn’t finish my first novel until after I graduated from college, and I didn’t start financially supporting myself with my writing until I was over thirty.

What do you like to read?

I love epic fantasy with a strong romantic component and with strong female characters. I’m a big fan of Kiersten White, Tricia Levenseller, Sabaa Tahir, and Holly Black to name a few writers. I also have a weird fascination with serial killers, so I’ll sometimes venture into really dark stuff or Gillian-Flynn-esque psychological thrillers.

Tell us about your first published book OR your favorite work. How did it get started?

The first book I published was called Breathless, and it was under a different pen name (you can find it under Jove Chambers now). It was a sort of YA thrillery romance thing, sort of in the vein of Twilight but a good bit darker, about a girl who’d been raised to kill a supposedly evil boy, but she ended up falling in love with him instead. And, well, she wasn’t totally sure that he wasn’t evil. That book and its sequels were eventually responsible for my being able to quit my day job and write full time, but the pen name eventually fizzled out and I moved on to other genres.

How do you create your characters?

I steal them from CW shows.

No, I’m not even lying. Guillame from The Clash and the Heat series is just called Jughead on the outline.

Seriously, I tend to nail down whatever it is a character wants, or what is driving them, and then everything else usually comes from that.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

Boringly, I write at a desk in my office. I need good ergonomics to crank out the words. *grin* I do write outlines, but I like to keep things loose enough that I can go off in different directions if the muse takes me there.

What are you working on as we speak?

I’m in the very early planning stages of a series that will be about a world in which a group of magical creatures (Elves? Fae? Werewolves? Haven’t decided yet) are enslaved to humans, and they lead a rebellion. There will be several couples on various sides of the uprising. I really like forbidden love or love across opposing factions, so I’m pretty excited about that.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

Love the work, because it’s a heartbreaking business, and if you don’t find joy in the creation, the rest of it will eat you alive. The only way you fail is to give up.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?


Newsletter signup:

Amazon Author Page:


Newest or upcoming release:  The Sins of Falcons

My next interview will be with Karen Tomlinson on March 20th.

In the meantime, happy reading xx

Interview with Tanya Bird

Last week, I got together with author Tanya Bird and asked her some pretty probing questions about her life and writing. If you love fantasy romance, historical romance and series, I’m sure you’d love her books. I strongly recommend giving them a try.

Read on for the full interview…

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! eg family, hobbies, bucket list.

I was raised in the green hills of South Gippsland, so I’m a country gal at heart. When I finished school, I sold my horse, bought a very unsafe car, and moved to Melbourne to study. After changing degrees multiple times, I moved to the other side of the country where I worked a lot of random, badly paid jobs. Eventually I found my way back to Melbourne and met Mr B. After a six year stint in media/advertising, I decided I’d had enough of sleeping for more than two-hours at a time, and had three children.

In my free time (I struggle to say that with a straight face), I do yoga, contemporary dance, make a lot of broth, adopt sad dogs, and plan holidays we can’t afford.

My bucket list? Holy tacos, it’s enormous. It includes a lot of travel as well as experiences like sword fighting on horseback, a shipwreck dive, and meeting a shoebill stork.

What got you started in writing?

I wrote a lot of stories when I was a younger and had a pretty wild imagination. I went on to study professional writing and was told by a teacher at the end of the course that there is no money in creative writing and I would need to do something else. So I went and studied PR and headed down a different path. While at home having babies, I returned to University and took a couple of writing units. I fell completely in love with it all over again.

After graduating, I started freelance copywriting, taking $5 jobs on Upwork just to get my foot in the door. During quiet periods, I wrote a book that turned out to be a romance. When I learned about self-publishing, I thought why not? No one’s going to read it anyway. But people did read it. So I wrote another one. Then another one. Then eight more. And I’m still going.

What do you like to read?

I read widely within the Romance genre. Everything from fantasy to mafia to rom-coms. I also read a lot of historical non-fiction, literary, and women’s fiction.

Tell us about your favourite work. How did it get started?

Favourite work? That’s like picking a favourite child… it changes daily. I’m kidding. There is one book in particular that has a special place in my heart. A few years back, I was reading about Severus’s last campaign in Scotland and wondered if I could turn one of the darkest points in military history into a romance. I did. I jokingly refer to A Legate’s Pledge as genocide romance, but it’s really an enemies to lovers story packed with history and action. It has the most fierce heroine I’ve written to date. It’s also my worst selling book despite great reviews. Who knew genocide romance wouldn’t take off?

How do you create your characters?

I’m often inspired by characters in movies and TV shows. I figure out why I’m drawn or repelled by certain people, take those traits, and build from there. I need to know my characters prior to writing them, so I spend a lot of time in my own head before I start a project.

Where do you write? Do you plot extensively or are you a pantser?

I can write anywhere. Desk, outside, in the car, in a messy room with kids screaming around me. Unless I’m stuck on a plot point. Then suddenly I’m demanding silence and practising feng shui.

And I’m a plantser, a weird cross between the two. I spend a few weeks outlining a book and then often write a completely different story. My best ideas come while I’m creating, so I’ve learned to just go with it.

What are you working on as we speak?

I’m writing the first draft of Defender of Hearts, book two in my Kingdom of Walls series.

What would your advice be for aspiring authors?

Write. You can’t get better without practise. And read—lots, taking note of the parts you love and the bits you skim over. Write the book you want to read. Then write another one that’s even better. Repeat.

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Website & newsletter sign up:

Amazon Author Page:





Newest or upcoming release: 

Defender of Walls releases February 22, 2021. This is book one in the medieval dystopian romance series Kingdom of Walls. More details at

Keen to dip your toe into Tanya’s worlds? She has book 1 in her Companion Series (The Royal Companion) permafree on all platforms, find it HERE

I hope you enjoyed this insight into Tanya’s writing world. Stay tuned for more author interviews in the coming months…

Guest Author- Elizabeth Ellen Carter

EECarter3Joining me today is historical romance author, Elizabeth Ellen Carter. Elizabeth is a local Brisbane author who has just released the third instalment in her Heart of the Corsairs Series, Shadow of the Corsairs!

Welcome Elizabeth and congratulations on your new release.

Thanks Bernadette, it’s great to be here.
Can you tell me what you love about historical romance stories?

Historical romances bring important events of our past to life. And, when well done, give an insight into how people lived in times past. I think that a great understanding and appreciation of history is absolutely vital because understanding history is all about understanding ourselves.
Whether we know it or not, we have a strong connection with the past – in fact it is built into our very DNA!
So, to live in another time or participate in historical events through the lens of a well-researched and well written historical novel is an accessible way to reconnect with our pasts.

What gave you the idea for this story? The series?

I came across an article about the pirates of the Barbary Coast which connected the dots between some of the events we’re witnessing in more recent times. For instance, the reason why France colonised North Africa in 1830 was to finally put an end to the slave trade in that region.
Between 1650 and 1830 between 800,000 and 1.25 million Europeans, some as far away as Iceland were abducted and sold into slavery.
The more I read about the Ottoman Empire and its slaving past the more I wanted to tell a story about how slavery affects individuals. Every main character in the Heart of the Corsairs series has been touched – directly or indirectly by the brutal and predatory tactics of the Barbary Coast slavers.


Let’s take a moment discover what Shadow of the Corsairs is all about- here’s the blurb:

The Past Casts a Shadow Over a Second Chance For Love….

Palermo, 1810

Morwena Gambino is struggling to keep her family’s business going against mounting troubles. Her widowed father, once shrewd, is now increasingly forgetful, letting debts mount and disavowing his sons. Morwena runs the shop behind his back, forced to hide her enterprise not only from her father but also her bitter older brother.

In Tunisia, Tewodros “Jonathan” Afua is struggling to stay alive. Once an Ethiopian prince, he is a captive of the corsairs who slaughtered his wife and children. When a US naval bombardment provides an opening for escape, Jonathan falls in with a seemingly deranged English pirate. Aboard Kit Hardacre’s rundown ship with its ragtag crew, Jonathan learns the real reason he was taken by slavers.

Reluctantly joining Hardacre’s crew, he meets Morwena in Palermo. The fiery young Sicilian woman is the opposite of his quiet reserve, but he is attracted to her despite mourning for his late wife. As he and Morwena grow closer, it emerges that they have something in common – secret betrayal by those close to them – and they must count what they’re willing to risk for a future together.


Read all three books in the Heart of the Corsair series:

Captive of the Corsairs
Revenge of the Corsairs
Shadow of the Corsairs


Historical fiction usually necessitates quite a deal of research. Was there any travel involved in preparing for this book and where did you go?

I would love to travel for research, but my budget doesn’t stretch that far! I had to content myself reading historical references and university articles on the subject – and spending a bit of time looking at beautiful photographs of Sicily, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey and Ethiopia.

A pirate is one of the secondary characters, did you take to the high seas before writing it?

I wish! One interesting thing I did discover was they don’t have notable tides in the Mediterranean – only a few centimetres difference between high and low tide. That wasn’t something which had occurred to me!

Do you have any historical hobbies?

I love museums, antiques fairs and historical architecture – it’s like a gift from the past that we can enjoy today.

What is your favourite genre to read?

I love reading history, historical fiction, historical romance, mystery, and the classics.

What’s next for Elizabeth Ellen Carter?

I’ve started a new series! The overarching hero of the Heart of the Corsairs series has proved to be so popular that I’m reaching back into his past. Kit believes himself to be an orphan. What he doesn’t know is his father is still alive – so what happened to separate them? That will be answered in the first book of The King’s Rogues series called Live And Let Spy.


EECarter4Elizabeth Ellen Carter is an award-winning historical romance writer who pens richly detailed historical romantic adventures. A former newspaper journalist, Carter ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years. The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats.

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Kendall Talbot’s Treasured Secrets Revealed

Kendall Talbot public pictureToday I have the pleasure of Kendall Talbot’s company on my blog. Kendall Talbot is an award winning author, thrill seeker and hopeless romantic. She’s travelled extensively, some 36 countries so far and she’s addicted to experiences that make her scream… white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and hang gliding are just a few. Her stories reflect her sense of adventure and her love affair with her very own hero.

Her debut novel Lost in Kakadu (Escape Publishing, 2013) has resulted in a clutch of award nominations and most notably won the exclusive title of Romantic Book of the Year 2014.

Kendall collects junky jewellery and expensive perfume, her favourite night out is with great friends and a fabulous bottle of wine or two, and she rarely watches TV. She lives in Brisbane with her hubby, her two grown sons and her fluffy little dog, Josie McLuvin.

Welcome Kendall!

Thanks, Bernadette, it’s great to be here!

Tresured Secrets book cover mediumThis book is such an adventure, taking readers from Tuscany to a yacht off the coast of Greece. Where did you come up with the plot idea?

One of the major inspirations behind Treasured Secrets came from my 20th anniversary holiday to Tuscany. Florence is a treasure trove of history and architecture, bustling with tourists and little café’s eager to serve you bread and wine within seconds of finding a table to sit at. My husband and I went on a couple of city tours and one such tour took us to the Church of St Apostoli, a small insignificant church compared to many of the other magnificent churches dotted throughout Florence. Inside the church, inlaid in the mosaic floor tiles, was an oval pattern. Our tour guide told us it was the trap door where they tossed the bodies during the 13th century plague that killed 50 million people in Europe. My mind went crazy thinking about entire families being wiped out by that horrible disease. Then I began to wonder what happened to all their precious things they left behind. On the plane flight home, I began plotting my Treasured Secrets action adventure romance.

The way you research the books is kind of off the charts! (Witchetty grubs? You are a braver woman than I!) What type of research did you do for TREASURED SECRETS?

I was really lucky with those witchetty grubs I just happened to find them in my garden. How else was I going to get the flavour right in my scene? It’s important for me to write about and draw from actual experiences. Obviously many of them are pure fabrication, and thank goodness too, some of my characters go to hell and back. Treasured Secrets is as much a treasure hunt as it is a culinary adventure. Rosalina, my Italian heroine in Treasured Secrets is a talented chef, so food and flavours abound as much as the treasure hunt action. Every one of the meals she makes in my books I made for myself. In fact, recipes from “Treasured Secrets” debut in their own book “Rosalina’s Treasured Treats” you can find this on my website and cook along as you read the book if you like. In addition to the cooking, Rosalina’s home in Treasured Secrets is a 700 year old villa that I holiday in in Tuscany. Villa Pandolfini is in Signa, a little village just a fifteen minute train ride from Florence. This spectacular historic villa with extremely high ceilings, magnificent frescoes and original antique furniture was surrounded by vineyards and olive-groves and offered an extensive view of Arno Valley.

What are you working on now? Any new books on the horizon?

Book two in this series, Treasured Lies will be out in October 2015 and book three, Treasured Love, will be released April 2016.

I used to daydream about robbing a bank that I worked at in 1992. So guess what? I robbed that bank. In a book of course. Double Take my first crime novel, is a gritty Quinten Tarantino meets Nora Roberts story set in that bank I worked in. I also chose 1992 as the year its set, a time before the internet, mobile phones and electric windows. It was also a time of Cheers, Cagney and Lacey, boom boxes and Carrington Blush fake champagne. It was so much fun writing in that era.

Lost in Kakadu image003_jpg@01D07AB0 Rosalina s Treasured Treats Cookbook cover medium sizeTell us about the cookbook:

Treasured Secrets is as much a treasure hunt as it is a culinary adventure. Rosalina, my Italian heroine in Treasured Secrets is a talented chef, so food and flavours abound as much as the treasure hunt action. Every one of the meals she makes in my books I made for myself. In fact, recipes from “Treasured Secrets” debut in their own book “Rosalina’s Treasured Treats” readers can find this on my website and cook along as they read Treasured Secrets if they like.

What inspires you to write? 

The story. Once I get an idea for a story in my head it won’t leave me alone. I dream about it. I think about it constantly, even at work when I’m trying to do my boring bookkeeping job. It’s like I’m possessed and the only way to rid it from my brain is to write about it. My bank robbery stayed in there for 22 years, so when I finally sat down to write it, it took just 3 months.

Thanks Kendall, it’s great to get an insight into your writing life!

You can purchase Treasured Secrets here:





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A Chat with Louise Reynolds

Louise ReynoldsToday I’m talking with Louise Reynolds whose latest book, Outback Bride, has just been released. Welcome Louise.
It’s lovely to be here, Bernadette.
Congratulations on your second release with Destiny Romance. Can you tell us a little about your book?
Outback BrideLegal star Lara Burke has worked hard to escape her country past and is finally on the way to being made a partner at her city law firm. At the worst possible time, her former flame Jake Forester arrives, bringing tragic news from home.
Forced to return to her family property, Jindaburra, Lara must confront her past at the home she loved and lost. But big-sky country and bittersweet memories are not all that await her at Jindaburra.
Readers are certainly seeking out rural romance stories. Many of these have the city meets country theme. What do you think intrigues readers?
For quite a while (and certainly post GFC), much of Western society has been returning to simpler values – recycling, up-cycling, sustainability, making do – and there’s a perception that life is simpler in the country. Having said that, our big cities have never offered such an amazing variety in cuisines and entertainment. It’s natural for people to be drawn to both and that creates a tension between both worlds that’s interesting to explore.

Do you have country roots?
Not at all. In fact I’ve only started travelling in the outback in the last eight years but I love it.
What do you love most about Outback Bride?
I enjoyed creating Jindaburra, Lara’s childhood home. It’s her first love and is buried in her soul.
Destiny LogoWhat was the most difficult part of writing Outback Bride?
There’s a theme of family estrangement and that was difficult to write as, like many families, mine has had to deal with this.
Do you think it’s the similarities or the differences that form the strongest attraction between a hero and heroine?
Definitely the similarities. I’ve never been a huge believer in opposites attract.
How do you come up with your ideas?
For Outback Bride, I met a girl in an outback pub who was devastated that her brother would inherit the family property and her father had refused to consider her contribution and love for the property. That conversation stayed with me for a long time until the character of Lara was born. But generally there are strands from all over the place that come together to create a story.

What genre do you like to read? Who is your favourite author?
Definitely contemporary romance, city or country-based. I like romances that feature problems faced by modern women and I like my heroines if not strong at the outset, certainly resourceful. In rural romance I like to read Barbara Hannay. Otherwise, Jill Shalvis, Bella Andre, Liz Fielding, Jessica Hart.
Her Italian AristocratDo you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?
Think about why you are doing this. Make clear goals. Follow through.
What’s next for you?
I’m writing a contemporary romance that starts in the outback but moves to London then on to an old English manor house. I’m having a lot of fun with this one.
Thanks for introducing us to Outback Bride and to your writing life, Louise.
Thank you for having me, Bernadette. It’s been fun.
You can find Louise at:

Outback Bride can be purchased on Amazon , Kobo Books , Apple itunes and Destiny Romance

Interview with Sasha Cottman

small author pic sasha cottman (120x84)Today I’m talking with Sasha Cottman whose book, Letter from a Rake has just been released by Destiny Romance. Welcome Sasha!

Thanks for the warm welcome Bernadette.

You write Regency Historical romances. Can you describe your genre? What will readers find in a Regency Romance?

Regency historical romances are set around the turn of the 18th century. The period only lasted 8 years while the future George IV reigned in his father’s place, due to the King’s mental illness.  Most Regency novels loosely cover the period from 1800 to Victoria’s reign in 1837. Readers of Regency are often entertained with the story of dashing heroes and feisty heroines. The social and legal codes of the time restricted women’s lives greatly, but the modern Regency novel does tend to bend the rules, allowing the heroine to shine.  The grandmother of all Regency novels, Pride and Prejudice is set around this era.

Can you tell us about how your book Letter from a Rake came about?Letter From A Rake

Letter from a Rake actually came about from a failed attempt at writing my first novel. In that book, Millie (the heroine of Letter from a Rake) was a secondary character, but she was so strong she basically shoved the poor heroine off the page and demanded I write her story instead. When you are continually dreaming about scenes involving a secondary character, it’s time to listen to your muse. The scene in the maze, kept me awake night after night until I finally gave in and started writing the full story.

What do you love most about this story?

What I love about this story is the sense of family.  My favourite Regency novels have always been ones where the characters have family around them; Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series was one of the first Regency series I ever read and I fell in love with every one of her books.  When you have family around your main characters, it gives you lots of scope to work with, as well as helping to establish backstories.

How do you come up with your ideas?

When I am walking on the beach near our beach house, ideas often just pop into my head, as a result I have learned to carry a notebook on my walks. Walking at lunchtime is also a great way to solve plot problems.

Do your characters appear first or do you have to go looking for them in the story?

Characters always appear first. Usually the emotional state of a character will find its way into my thoughts and then the rest of the character gradually begins to form.

What qualities do you see as most important in a romance hero?

Humour has to be the most important thing to me. I need to like a romance hero and bond with him before I can then fall in love with him. Alex, the hero in Letter from a Rake has a lot of the humour of my four brothers. There are a number of scenes where he does things that my brothers have done in real life. I spent a long afternoon chuckling to myself as I wrote the hangover scene.

What genre do you like to read and why?

I’m an historical romance girl, I have read a few contemporary romances, but I always come back to the historical ones, especially Regency.

I’ve read quite a few paranormal and fantasy fiction books along the way; I love the whole world building that goes with those genres. Once I discovered Tolkien at university, I became an unashamed Lord of the Rings fan. I visited the movie set in Wellington after I had gone to New Zealand on a business trip. If you own the extended directors cut of the Fellowship of the Ring DVD, you will find my name at the end along with the rest of the LOTR fan club members.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Just one?  Stephanie Laurens, especially her early Cynster novels. I think I own all her books. Special mention must go to Anna Campbell who runs a very close second, and is also a really lovely lady. I’ve picked her brains at several writers’ conferences.

Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers?

Join a writers group; surround yourself with others who believe in their writing; it will help you to believe in yours. If you’re fortunate enough to join one of the romance writers groups somewhere in the world, make sure you volunteer some time to help the organisation.  From judging and critiquing of other’s work, I’ve learned a great deal.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently writing the next book in the Radley family series, which follows on from the epilogue in Letter from a Rake.  Yet another secondary character who demanded his own story.

Thanks for giving readers an insight into your stories and your writing life. Check out this short blurb below:Letter From A Rake

The unconventional Miss Millie Ashton, recently arrived from India, finds England a cold and dismal place. The fashionable ladies of London society look down their noses at her and it isn’t long before Millie is planning her return to the country she considers home.

When Millie befriends the high-spirited Lucy Radley, she also meets Lucy’s handsome brother, ‘Alex the Great’ and things take a turn for the better. Alex, the Marquess of Brooke, is considered the most eligible bachelor in London, yet he appears fascinated by the independent Millie.

Against the odds, their unlikely friendship deepens. But Alex has a secret and when a love letter goes astray, it threatens to destroy all their happiness…

Can Millie and Alex overcome the obstacles in their path to find true love? Or will one miscommunication ruin everything

Letter from a Rake is available as an ebook from Destiny Romance, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Angus and Robertson.

Sasha Cottman is in the virtual world.

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Blog  The misadventures of an author in the Regency Kitchen.