Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday's Guest Joanie MacNeil Talking about Who She Was Before #MFRWauthor #BooksWeLoveLTD #Australia

What were you in your life before you became a writer? Did this influence your writing?

Thank you Janet for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today.

I worked as an executive assistant throughout my career, at a university and in government, with a brief stint as a temp EA in private enterprise. I began my writing career in the mid-nineties, when my children were pre/early teens. I continued to work full time as I learned the craft of writing romance novels.

My office career influenced a couple of my novels, The Trouble with Natalie and No Boundaries, in that I was familiar with office routines, and used locations of a couple of places where I’d worked.

2. Are you genre specific or general? Why? I don't mean genres like romance, mystery, fantasy etc. There are many subgenres of the above. 

Contemporary romance is my preferred genre to write. I like writing shorter novels, around 50,000 words, give or take a few thousand. Some years ago now, I entertained the idea of writing a time-travel set in modern Glasgow and the Hebrides. I look at my notes every now and then. Now is not the right time. Maybe one day…

3. Did your reading choices have anything to do with your choice of a genre or genres? 

My first foray into romance reading was in my early forties. On holiday with family at the Gold Coast, I was in much need of some R&R and escapism. I picked up a historical novel by Rexanne Becnel, My Gallant Enemy. From the front cover, through battles, with brooding hero and resourceful heroine, and the mysterious workings within the castle, to the very last page was the pure escapism I sought. Could Lilliane and Corbett ever be together? Such tension! I was hooked on historical romance and couldn’t read enough of it. I still have that book, have promised myself to read it again sometime, and though I haven’t, I’m pleased to say it has survived a few house moves, and many culls of my bookshelves.

While reading and absorbing the wonderful adventures within historical novels, I often thought how much I would like to write a novel, but discounted the idea as too hard, and something other people did. Not me. I wasn’t clever enough. And where to start? Those were my excuses. The need to write wouldn’t go away, and I realised there were occasions during my life that I’d considered writing, but had dismissed the idea.

I enrolled in a six week freelance writing course at a local evening college, the only writing course I could find locally. Better than nothing. It was the session on writing romance that appealed to me the most. By accident, I stumbled on a couple of articles by a well-known Australian romance author in magazines I’d borrowed from the library; saw an ad for a romance writers workshop in my city, hosted by visiting writers. Though the workshop didn’t eventuate, I phoned one of the contact authors and discovered my local romance writers group. I told myself I was meant to be a writer. I found out about a one day workshop in Melbourne, and having never been to Melbourne before, flew down for the day. The speakers were truly passionate about writing and so inspirational for this budding author who was so starved of information about the genre and market and how to write a novel. Through reading a couple of newsletters I discovered an American online romance writers discussion group, signed up and later joined an associated online critique group. A great learning experience, and at last, I could seek answers to all my questions from those who knew about writing romance. At that time, Australia did seem to me to be a long way from the rest of the world.

4. What's your latest release? 

Sweet Temptations – released this week.

Zachary Cordell returns to New South Wales to search for his estranged father’s young widow. Zac is certain that Elizabeth Marshall married his father for his money and he wants revenge.
Elizabeth is looking for a quiet lifestyle away from the notoriety the press associated with her name following the death of her husband. All she wants is a quiet, secure home in her old hometown. When her uncle Max recommends Zac as a handyman, she is nervous about hiring a drifter. She soon begins to trust him and finds herself attracted to Zac. Little does she know his relationship to her late husband, his reasons for coming to New South Wales, or the sweet temptations which will follow.

5. What are you working on now? 

My current work in progress is set on the Sapphire coast, and is a friends to lovers story, and a quest for forgiveness.  My characters each have to negotiate several emotional issues, including danger for the heroine. The burning issue is the hero’s awful secret.

My local writing group, Canberra Romance Writers, plans to release a second anthology in July 2019.  I am in the early stages of planning a story for inclusion in the anthology.

6. Where can we find you? 

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