About Me

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Brisbane, Australia
I'm an Australian author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Action/Adventure, and Historical fiction. I live in Brisbane, Australia. Visit my website at www.noelleclark.net

Friday, November 13, 2015

Second Chance Cafe - It’s really not over until the final curtain call

I’ve had more second chances in my lifetime than I can poke a stick at. I’ve had some low times,
when all I could do was hang on with my fingernails and wait it out. Know the feeling? I’m sure most of you do.

You see, a ‘second chance’ is a metaphor for many things: faith, courage, promise, positivity, and opportunities.

Sometimes these ‘second chances’ are handed to us on a platter. Other times we have to work damned hard to find them, and then they often turn out to be useless. You see, in my experience, we have to be receptive to change for those opportunities to work. We can push the proffered chances away, saying things like, “it won’t work”, “it’s too late”, “it’ll never happen”…or we can timidly take hold and use all our faith in whatever we believe to make that tremulous first step.


I’ve often been a coward, and not taken up opportunities when the chance to do so was right in the palm of my hand. But on nearly every occasion when I have taken a deep breath, stuck my nose in the air, and stepped boldly into the unknown, it has worked out. Well, either worked out, or made me a better person, or helped me to see another way out of the situation.

Second chances have often taken years to emerge. I’ve waited, reasonably patiently, for something that I’ve wished for, longed for, and now – at this particular point in my life – I think I can see that it is finally happening. The exact nature of what I longed for has blurred at the edges over many years. It’s not as clear, nor am I as driven, as I once was to hold the dream in my hands. But, although I am scared to say it out loud, I think it has finally come. So now, as I take my first scary, tentative steps toward a new future, I’m holding my breath and closing my eyes tightly and hoping fervently that this chance won’t disappear before I’ve grasped it with both hands.

Life will be different when I take this second chance. I will miss some things. But I am determined to embrace all that the new opportunity has to offer, and to fall in love with life again.

In my short story, Encore, my lead character – Louisa Frank – has shown me how to calmly accept things both good and bad in life. She has demonstrated how patience is the proverbial virtue.

Thank you, Louisa Frank, for showing me the way.



Encore
Louisa Frank is a creature of habit, borne of years of discipline.


She lives with one foot in the glorious past, the other in the mundane and lonely present. If it wasn’t for Alfie Baretto, she might have been forgotten, lost in a sea of successful young starlets. 
In the narrow streets of Hell’s Kitchen, in a small but atmospheric diner called Café Cleo, Alfie ensures the Broadway star—Louisa Frank—will forever be feted by theatre-goers, and remembered for her amazing performances.

But the years have passed slowly for Louisa. Will the endless quest for a return to the glory years ever end?


Four tales of positivity and second chances, brought to you by:

Abbie Jackson
Susanne Bellamy
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Noelle Clark

Pre-order now on Smashwords.


Out on November 13th everywhere.
Ibooks
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Amazon




Monday, November 9, 2015

Second Chance Cafe - meet Abbie Jackson

Second Chance Cafe is a collection of four very different short stories about love, relationships, and hope.

This anthology is proudly brought to you from four Australian authors:  

Susanne Bellamy
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Noelle Clark
and debut author - Abbie Jackson.

Today I spoke with Abbie Jackson.


Q. Abbie – firstly HUGE congratulations on your debut publication. I loved reading your story  – Shannon’s Legacy – in the anthology Second Chance Café, but have to admit to reaching for the tissues a couple of times. J  Can you tell us the inspiration for this story?

Thank you so much, Noelle! I’m so pleased to be a part of this anthology.

Yes, Shannon’s Legacy is not your standard romance novel, for sure.  The inspiration for this novella came to me after a lunch meeting with the other authors involved in the trilogy where we were all discussing ideas for Second Chance Café, and what ‘a second chance’ really meant to me.

I think, so often in life, things happen to us that are beyond our control, just as it did for Shannon.  What I wanted to portray to the readers is, sometimes you really need to push for your second chance in life, not wait for it to be handed to you. 

Q. What’s the best part about collaborating in a project such as the Second Chance Café anthology?

Oh, that’s an easy one – the knowledge and experience being bestowed on me by the other authors I am collaborating with.  As my debut publication, I have so much to learn about the publishing world and each of the ladies in the anthology are so gracious with their time and knowledge.  I really feel like I’ve won the lotto!

Q. It’s very obvious that you have a background in the medical or pathology field. Do you find
that this knowledge influences the type of stories you like to write?

That’s right, Noelle.  I spent thirteen years working in Pathology across different disciplines and always thoroughly enjoyed learning new things in the medical field.  That spark within me clearly shines through in Shannon’s Legacy and I look forward to writing more novels with a medical influence.





Q. I love the characters in your story: husband and wife – Shannon and Matt; and of course their little boy. Does your insight into family dynamics come from your real life?

Yes and no.  Shannon is based loosely on me, or more accurately, how I think I would react in a situation such as hers.  Matt is a figment of my imagination entirely.  His view on the situation is the flipside of Shannon’s, but no less real.  I love the way that he doesn’t agree with Shannon’s course of action, but still supports her all the way.  Little Anderson is based on my own son.  I adore that character!




















Q. The minor character of Shannon’s mother, Joy, is well drawn too, and acts as I imagine any mother would in a situation such as Shannon’s. Did you consider that the character could have turned out to be anything other than supportive?

I really don’t.  Joy was the lynchpin in the story for me.  She was steady rock that kept the world turning for this family while Shannon and Matt found their feet.  She guided Shannon in actions that she wouldn’t have considered for herself and Joy kept the ‘big picture’ in mind, because at that time, Matt and Shannon couldn’t. 

Q. Both Matt and Shannon are dealing with enormous pressure, yet their love for each other never wavers. Did you set out to create characters who supported each other despite initially having doubts about the direction?

I didn’t intentionally create this dynamic.  When the story began to form in my mind, I knew Shannon’s medical history and the ending.  I consider myself a real ‘planner’ with my writing, but this story really wrote itself.  As each scene progressed, I had a picture of each character forming in my mind and asked myself questions like, “How will Matt respond to this?”

I really love how each character turned out though and am sure there are families out there who have unwavering support, just like this family.  Even though I had tears writing some scenes, I had a smile shining through those tears at the end.

Q. What can readers expect to see from Abbie Jackson in the coming months? Is there another book on the way?

Well, I’m pleased to say, Noelle, that I’ve been very busy since writing Shannon’s Legacy.  I have outlined a crime trilogy, Dealer Always Wins, and the first instalment is nearly finished.  I am also writing a children’s series called Pippa The Pirate.  So, hopefully the readers won’t have too long to wait!

Q. Can you please share a blurb about the story – Shannon’s Legacy?

Shannon's cancer has spread and she is running out of time.  Fast! She is determined to find a miracle for her death sentence, but what she discovers along the way may be just the second chance she needed.
Her husband, Matt wants to enjoy her remaining time as a family, not in a hospital, and Shannon must also prepare her young son for a future without her. Will Shannon's determination be enough?

Q. When can readers get a copy of the anthology – Second Chance Café?

Black Friday! November 13 will see the release of Second Chance Café on most good e-tailers.
Pre-orders open on 1 November.

And if you’d like to leave us a review, we’d consider it a fab Christmas gift!

iBooks
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

About Abbie Jackson


Abbie Jackson is a young mum of four toddlers, runs her own business, and in her spare time (that’s a joke), she writes novels and enjoys cooking and baking.

Abbie lives in South-East Queensland and has travelled extensively around the world prior to having her family. Abbie loves writing across multiple genres including fantasy, sci-fi, romance, crime and children’s stories.

Contact Abbie

Website: www.abbiejackson.net
email: authorabbiejackson@gmail.com
Facebook: Abbie Jackson
Twitter: AbbieJackson111

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Second Chance Cafe - meet Susanne Bellamy

Second Chance Cafe is a collection of four very different short stories about love, relationships, and hope.

This anthology is proudly brought to you from four Australian authors:  

Susanne Bellamy
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Noelle Clark
and debut author - Abbie Jackson.

Today I spoke with Susanne Bellamy.


Q. Susanne, your story – The Wish List – in the anthology Second Chance Café is divine. I love that it is set in your real home town. Is this the first time you’ve used Toowoomba as the location for a story?
Yes. I haven’t felt comfortable enough as a writer before now to set a story in my home town, but this one is different, partly because it began in response to losing our beloved Anna in June. Setting the story anywhere else simply didn’t work for me.

Q. What’s the best part about collaborating in a project such as the Second Chance Café anthology?
I love the brainstorming, the support, the sharing of ideas, the vibe of working with such a wonderful group of writers. And I love how, this year, we are able to welcome debut writer, Abbie Jackson, and travel with her on the first step of her writing journey. It’s FUN!

Q. It’s very obvious that you are a dog-lover, and the dogacter (that’s a doggie character) Anna is – I know – a tribute to your recently dearly-departed German Shepherd, Anna. I imagine you cried a lot while writing this story. Did you find comfort in having her star in a gorgeous story such as this?
Dear Anna - who sadly passed away a few months ago.
Anna was such a big part of our lives and our children’s growing up. With her passing, there is also the loss of that final link as both ‘children’ are now adults living away from home and studying at uni. I did cry, quite a lot at first, and I had to put the story aside for a couple of months as I couldn’t get past the loss. However, our beautiful girl now has ‘her’ story; ‘Anna’ is very much like real life Anna was. And yes, we used to have many conversations.



As a bonus, Jack’s dog, Bear, is based on our Ricky who was big and black and a real Houdini hound
Susanne's new puppy, Freya
in his younger days, but so gentle and protective of our son as a toddler.










Q. I love the lead (human) characters too. Julie and Jack are opposites in many ways, yet are brought together initially by a shared devotion to their dogs. Had they both not been ready to embark on a new chapter in their lives, do you think they would have struck up such a good friendship?
That’s a really good question about relationships. My husband and I have had discussions about how important timing is to whether an attraction is pursued, or relegated to the land of ‘might-have-been’. I suspect that most people need to be in the right head space to follow a romantic attachment through. And I do think there is a lot of truth in the idea that opposites attract. Perhaps we subconsciously look for someone to ‘complete’ us, who is better at things we’re not. Jack is a ‘numbers man’, logical and factual; Julie has more of an emotional reaction to life and work. Together, they are just what the shelter (and each other) needs.  

Q. Both Jack and Julie have issues they are dealing with  -  pressures from others, injuries from the past. Did you set out to create characters who had the ability to heal each other, where they couldn’t seem to heal themselves? Is this a theme that you see in real life, where people find freedom through the help/friendship/understanding of another person?
Funnily enough, both characters started out rather differently but, as is often the case when I’m writing, they told me their back story along the way and The Wish List evolved. I didn’t set out to create this pair with the ability to heal each other, but they found something in each other more than pure physical attraction.
If we’re honest about it, in real life, there is usually that first impression that either strikes a chord with us, or doesn’t. In Julie’s case, it was Jack’s voice; the fact that he is hunky is a bonus, but for her, a dog lover (especially one with another Shepherd) says much about his personality – caring, and careful of others. I think they give each other the freedom to grow and to be more together than the sum of their parts.

Q. Can you please share a blurb about the story – The Wish List?
Julie Aster has worked hard to make the animal shelter a success but money is short. Then the sexy Jack Shulz sweeps into her life with an answer to all her problems.
But when a client lets out a secret about Jack, she wonders if she really knows him.

Can she trust this man who seems to have all the answers... and more to the point, can she trust her heart?

Q. When can readers get a copy of the anthology – Second Chance Café?
Black Friday! November 13 will see the release of Second Chance Café on most good e-tailers.
Pre-orders open on NOW on Smashwords.

And if you’d like to leave us a review, we’d consider it a fab Christmas gift!




About Susanne Bellamy, author of The Wish List
Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne Bellamy is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters.

Her heroes have to be pretty special to live up to her real life hero. He saved her life then married her.

Susanne is a member of the RWA and was a finalist in their 2011 Emerald Award. She placed third in the 2015 Pan Macmillan short story competition with Chez Romeo. Mentoring aspiring writers, and working as a freelance editor keeps her off the street! She loves connecting with readers and fellow writers. 

You can find her at the following:
a.       Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/susanne.bellamy.7
b.      Twitter            https://twitter.com/SusanneBellamy 
c.       Website           http://www.susannebellamy.com/
d.      Pinterest          http://www.pinterest.com/susannebellamy/ 

Books by Susanne Bellamy
  • Second Chance Love (Aust store) amzn.to/1FEJyx4
  • Second Chance Love (A Bindarra Creek Romance) bit.ly/1O5ngaN
  • Sunny with a Chance or Romance amzn.to/1Cmy9jM
  • One Night in Tuscany amzn.to/1dKLyX6
  • One Night in Sorrento amzn.to/1brE2Jp
  • Winning the Heiress' Heart (The Emerald Quest) amzn.to/1B9TVUJ
  • A Season To Remember: Four Short Stories For Christmas – a book by Susanne Bellamy, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Noelle Clark and Eva Scott
  • bit.ly/1ynJsTZ
  • Engaging The Enemy amzn.to/1wrYGHQ
  • White Ginger  amzn.to/MiDjVr 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Second Chance Cafe - meet Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Second Chance Cafe is a collection of four very different short stories about love, relationships, and
hope.

This anthology is proudly brought to you from four Australian authors:  

Susanne Bellamy

Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Noelle Clark
and debut author - Abbie Jackson.

Today I spoke with Elizabeth Ellen Carter


Q. Elizabeth, you must have enjoyed being part of an anthology with other authors last year, as you’ve decided to do it again. What’s the best part about collaborating in a project such as this?



I have had so much fun working with you, Susanne and this year Abbie. There is something very special in getting together with you beautiful women to talk about books and share a passion for writing. I’m deeply privileged to know you all. The support and encouragement makes much brighter the sometimes low times of being an author (the looming deadlines, the absent muse, the trials and tribulations of publishing...)

Hop Pickers









Q. September Harvest is a sumptuous read. I loved it. What was the inspiration for the recurring and predictable harvest season?

I was fascinated by the idea of the itinerant workers leaving the hot and sometimes diseased city of London for the fresh air of Kent. Of course there were no paid holidays, so many thousands of workers would go on a working holiday. There’s something warm and predictable about the harvest seasons and I wanted to juxtapose the reliability of the seasons with the unpredictability of young love.

Q. All of the characters are well-rounded and likeable. Tilly is quiet but forthright; Andrew is so likeable; and Noah is an unassuming young fellow. How did these characters evolve, and did their growth (in age and in maturity) shape the direction of the plot?

This story came as a surprise to me Noah was there, much like the seasons itself – predictable, reliable, honest. I’d describe him as autumn. Tilly is like the spring, fresh, joyful and youthful. Andrew is lively and full of passion. He is the summer sun. But life is not straight forward and sometimes the winter of our experience reveals a greater truth. 

Q. Can you please share a blurb about the story – September Harvest? 


Seasonal crop picker Andrew is still a boy himself when he introduces 12 year old Tilly to reading. Instantly besotted both with Andrew and with books, Tilly eagerly awaits his return to her village over the course of 7 summers. Childish adoration is now a young woman’s love but has she misread his feelings for her over the years?

Q. When can readers get a copy of the anthology – Second Chance Café?

It will be available from Friday, 13 November from all good e-tailers – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Smashwords!

About the author - Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Elizabeth Ellen Carter’s debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was published in 2013 by Etopia Press. Earlier that year, the Regency adventure romance had been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Awards for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Set in England and France during the French Revolution, it was heralded as ‘edge-of-seat adventure and intrigue’ and ‘a rollercoaster of love, blackmail, ill-gotten gains, treason and trickery’ with Carter described as ‘a writer worth keeping an eye on’ with ‘a hint of classic suspense novelist Daphne du Maurier’.

Her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, was published by Etopia the following year. Set in Northumbria in 1077, it sets the relationship between a displaced Saxon noblewoman and a Norman baron against the turbulent backdrop of England in the years following the Norman invasion of 1066. Reviewers found the novel ‘a fast moving and passionate read’ with ‘strong characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of action… a sexy romance to be savoured’. Readers agreed, voting Warrior’s Surrender Favourite Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards.
Also in 2014, the short story Moonstone Promise, spinning off from Moonstone Obsession as part of Etopia’s Valentines Heat anthology, followed the fortunes of one of the supporting characters back home to 18th century Pittsburgh in a tale of ‘second chance romance’.

Warrior’s Surrender (now in print as well as eBook) was named Favourite Historical Fiction at the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards in March this year.

Carter moved up to 1802 for the light-hearted romantic short story Three Ships, part of the Christmas 2014 anthology A Season To Remember, and ventures briefly into contemporary romance for the first time with her Romance Writers of Australia annual Little Gems competition placegetter, The Tin Bear, publishing in August 2015.

And another Moonstone Obsession character, the sinful Lady Abigail Houghall, features in the full length novel Moonstone Conspiracy, coming from Etopia Press in 2015.

Carter is currently working on her fourth novel, set in ancient Rome and tentatively titled Dark Heart, which will bring together the elements for which she has become known in just a few years – in-depth historical detail woven through gripping adventure and captivating romance.

The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. A former newspaper journalist, she ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years.





Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reticules, women of dubious backgrounds, and Shehanne Moore.

Today I am thrilled to have as my esteemed guest, Scottish author and great friend, Shehanne Moore. Shehanne writes smexy historical romances - no frills, fainting, or fluttering of eyes here. Her 'ladies' - the heroines of her novels - display qualities some would describe as conniving, sluttish, and dishonest. But most readers embrace the feisty heroines, loving their strength of character, their humour, their choice of men, and their get-up-and-go. She calls them the Sisterhood.


When I spoke to Shehanne, she said she'd like to get readers of this post involved in a mystery, with a wonderful prize for those who solve it. It's not a difficult problem to solve, and it is a lot of fun.

Here's what Shehanne said when I screwed up my eyes at the mention of the word 'reticule', not sure I'd ever heard the word before.




So? Just what is a reticule exactly? Before anyone should get too excited, like one of my blog readers did that day, it’s a woman’s handbag.


My heroines carry them a lot in my book. Being a historical author you try to give a little authenticity. I’m just not sure that any of my heroines would carry one like that one. Dress Like this either. I mean I just cannot imagine my heroine Lady Fury taking a swing at the hero, Captain Flint, dressed like that.   









Noelle Clark, a million hugs for inviting me to your lovely blog today. I haven’t brought the hamstah dudes along which means they will moan more than ever and you just might have to ask them back. I haven’t brought my reticule either. What I have is a little picture of four bags.


And I have four heroines. So I am wondering how easy it is from the description to match the heroine to the bag


We can get to the contents later. Fury’s is likely to be a brick given the amount of swipes she takes with that bag, whereas my new heroine, Lady Malice, well, she likes to keep cards in hers.  Her business cards.






So, what do we know of these ladies? 



Lady Fury


Well, the heroine of the Unravelling of Lady Fury as you might guess has a great fondness for silks, satins, perfumes,  spending money she does not have, dressing in evening gowns at ten in the morning and despite everything, the hero.  She’s a lady, don’t you know? At least she things she is and her taste reflects that. She’s also a pirate’s lady….










Next up, Kara McGurkie from His Judas Bride.



Well, the title speaks for itself, doesn’t it, if you think about these things brides have?

Her bag probably contains a wedding garter…for strangling the groom with.

Did I also say my heroines are a bit like that?
Kind of ready to commit murder if need be?













Sapphire, the heroine of Loving Lady Lazuli, doesn’t quite go that far but like Fury, she does have a corpse to dispose of.

What can I tell you about Sapphire? She’s an ex jewel thief, doing the poor grieving widow bit. But her reticule isn’t very likely to have anything in it. God no. She’s more than likely to plant her ill gotten gains on you…although there was that one time she didn’t…. 











Finally, last but not least we come to
Malice, owner of Strictly Business, a strictly business like business, I  turn a blind eye to, and heroine of The Viking and The Courtesan.



Malice isn’t quite all she seems and I think her reticule reflects that fact.  









We’ve been talking reticules. I think it’s time for an extract concerning one.  

She snapped her reticule open. In it, in addition to the other things ladies kept in their handbags, was a gauze square. It was not the one she had worn that night she attempted to seduce him, obviously. That had been trodden underfoot or tied around the head or hips of some Viking, or other. But it was similar. The gauze square was nothing to her business card.
That she removed and pressed into his hand.
        “I believe you contacted this agency.”
“Malice...” The manner—the starkly horrified manner-- in which his brown eyes roamed it, spoke oceans.
“Yes?” She shrugged her scantily clad shoulders.
“That was... That was...”
“Obnoxious of you. Especially the lies you told. About me.”
“But, Malice...”
“Yes, Cyril?”
“Malice, whatever, whoever said such things about you...”
She held up a gloved hand. “Cyril, before you go further, there is something you should know.”
“Yes?”
“I am Strictly.”


Now I asked if you could guess whose handbag is whose? I’ve also numbered them. So why not guess in the comments box here, leaving your email addy and I’ll draw  a winner from those who are right. 

The book isn’t available till 29th July but I do happen to have a free copy of The Viking and The Courtesan for that person. 

Pre-sale links. 

BLURB 
In 898 AD she wasn’t just from another land. 
Wrecking a marriage is generally no problem for the divorce obtaining, Lady
Malice Mallender. But she faces a dilemma when she’s asked to ruin her own. Just how businesslike should she remain when the marriage was never consummated and kissing her husband leads to Sin--a handsome Viking who wants her for a bed slave in name only?  
She came from another time. 
Viking raider Sin Gudrunsson wants one thing. To marry his childhood sweetheart. Only she’s left him before, so he needs to keep her on her toes, and a bed slave, in name only, seems just the thing. Until he meets Malice. 
One kiss is all it takes to flash between two worlds
But when one kiss is no longer enough, which will it be?  Regency London? Or Viking Norway? Will Malice learn what governs the flashes? Can Sin?  
Where worlds collide can love melt the iciest heart?

BIO

When not cuddling inn signs in her beloved Scottish mountains alongside Mr Shey, Shehanne Moore writes dark and smexy historical romance, featuring bad boys who need a bad girl to sort them out. She firmly believes everyone deserves a little love, forgiveness and a second chance in life. 






Shehanne caused general apoplexy when she penned her first story, The Hore House Mystery—aged seven. What didn’t she work at while pursuing her dream of becoming a published author? 







Visit her blog to find out about past releases and hear more about her forthcoming time-slip, The Viking and The Courtesan.
historical,









Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Thanks to EE Carter for this interview

Reposted from

http://eecarter.com/index.php/tuesday-book-club-noelle-clark-honors-promise/

An interview by awesome Historical Romance author Elizabeth Ellen Carter.

Tuesday Book Club – Noelle Clark: Honor’s Promise

Chesterfield couch, in royal purple – just perfect for our distinguished guest on tonight’s show.


I’m delighted to have great friend and fellow Queensland writer Noelle Clark as my special guest on the famous purple couch. Noelle is a warm, talented lady who is so incredibly supportive, so I’m especially thrilled to be able to ask her a few questions about her latest novel, Honor’s Promise, the second of three stories set on Robinhill Farm in Ireland. The first, Honor’s Debt, I devoured in an afternoon. It is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

Welcome Noelle!

This is your first series. Was that always intended to be the case? Or was there some point in the process of either writing Honor’s Debt or in the planning for the book when you knew that this would be more than just one title?

About half way through writing Honor’s Debt I could see that with such a large cast of characters, it would be good to get to know some of them in greater detail. Two families living side by side for generations, working hard to eke out a living on their farms, and then came the double-bed factor – Dermot and Cherry got married – further cementing the ties between the O’Dohertys and the Cullens.

As with any family, their lives can seem dreary and monotonous on the surface but in reality they undergo issues that place stresses on all of their relationships. But the glue that holds them all together is their loyalty, love, and friendship, and of course, the fact they have their feet planted deeply in the soil of the farms they love.

So a series has evolved where we follow their lives, loves, disappointments, and achievements. Book 2 is set three years after Book 1, and the final book – Honor’s Legacy, is a further five years on. So, for eight years, we witness changes that many readers will identify with.

No way could the stories of the O’Dohertys and the Cullens not be a series.

How do you get to know your characters? What do you do to keep an ensemble cast such as the family at Robinhill Farm straight in your mind?

I know each character of the series well. In my head, I can hear them talk, the cadence of their voice and Irish accent. I know how tall they are, their build, their weaknesses and their strengths. Truth is, I’ve come to know them all so well I’ll be very sad indeed when I type ‘the end’ on Book 3, marking the end of the series.

I do a very detailed biography – complete with inspiration photo – of the two main characters of each book. This includes giving them a birthdate so I can look up their personality type, identify their traits, nature, and quirks. Each subsidiary character has a profile too, so that they can shine in their own way without overtaking the story. I create a document for each character, and spend considerable time making sure that their name suits them. For instance, the name Liam means ‘loyal, strong willed warrior and protector’. Once you read Honor’s Promise, you’ll see how apt this is.



Honor’s Debt gave us a view into to the challenging world of animal husbandry and the realities of farming life in the 21st century. I understand Liam is looking at alpacas to diversify – tell us what brought him (and you) to that point.

In Book 1, my hero Bryan began breeding Zwartble sheep – a fairly rare and at one time endangered species. In Book 2, it’s my heroine – Aislin – who is the alpaca breeder. Liam is very interested in them, but his first love is the large and productive dairy herd.

I love writing animals into my books as characters in their own right. If you’ve read Rosamanti, you’ll know all about the gorgeous goat Geraldina, who had a love affair with my hero Pietro.

Animals are such a normal part of our lives that I can’t possibly leave them out of stories about ordinary families like the O’Dohertys and the Cullens. Animals give stories a touch of normality, a real slice-of-life experience for the reader.



Honor’s Promise is a journey of discovery for Liam isn’t it. You get the sense that he feels like he’s missing out a lot and is wondering whether the grass is greener away from the farm. It must be hard for him because he also has clear cut responsibilities.

Liam is going through inner agony. No one could love his family and his farm more than he, but when he becomes uncle to Honor and Cherry’s children, he yearns for his own family. A certainty that he will never meet the right girl makes him feel suffocated, trapped, and lonely. He’s lived on the family farm all his life and,until recently, he’s been content with his lot. Now he’s become aware of a desperate urge to spread his wings, to see the world—but he knows he can’t. The chances of him finding a wife in the tiny village of Timpelaire are a million to one. But, well, we’ve all heard about the ‘luck of the Irish’.

Tell us about the girl who capture’s Liam’s heart.

Aislin O’Neill – Ash – is the opposite of Liam. She has no family ties, no sense of home, and no sense of obligation to anyone.

Strong, determined, and fiercely independent, Ash forges ahead with her own life and career despite some tragic setbacks that nearly sap her of any future. A past love affair that turned toxic has scarred her deeply, and she is in the process of hiding from the real world when she meets Liam.

Her epiphany comes when she realises that, just like the words of Shakespeare, she must be true to herself and follow her own moral path, even if it means giving up her job — and perhaps relinquishing her determination to never fall in love again.

About Honor’s Promise
Loyalty is high on Liam Cullen’s agenda, but lately he’s been feeling restless. He wants to run away from the endless routines of life on the family farm. He contemplates busting free of the sometimes suffocating confines of the close-knit family. He’d like to see the world. Maybe meet a few girls.

Riddled with guilt that he could even consider such a thing, the final blow comes when Liam’s abilities as a first rate farmer are questioned. He sees red and his quick temper is sorely stretched. He struggles inner demons and attempts to fight the inevitable – until he meets the girl with the blue-green eyes and the copper-colored hair.

Without knowing it, Aislin O’Neill sweeps Liam off his feet, and transports him to a place he’s only ever dreamed of. It’s soon apparent that Aislin has her own inner battles. Will she break her self-imposed vow to never get involved with anyone again?

About Noelle Clark
Noelle Clark is an Australian author of contemporary romance novels and historical fiction. Her books weave romance, intrigue and adventure into colourful, exotic, and interesting locations around the world. Noelle infuses real life experience of places, culture, and people into her stories, giving the reader an authentic taste of the location. Her novels feature strong, mature heroines and heroes, who—often without knowing it—are ready for new beginnings.

Noelle lives close to the sea in sunny Queensland, Australia, and shares her home with one cat and two dogs. She has two grown up children and four very small grandchildren. When Noelle’s not writing and travelling, she procrastinates a lot by thinking about travel and perfecting ways to get out of doing housework. Oh, and she babysits her grandchildren a lot.

Buy Links
Amazon
www.noelleclark.net

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

E.E. Carter - Moonstone Conspiracy

I'm very excited to have award winning historical romance author, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, here with
me today to discuss her brand new release - Moonstone Conspiracy - the sequel to Moonstone Obsession.

Q. Firstly, congratulations on the release of Moonstone Conspiracy, the sequel to your first book, Moonstone Obsession. The first was set in 1077 – how much later is Moonstone Conspiracy set?
Moonstone Conspiracy is set two years later in 1972-1793 and things are very much different. The glorious French Revolution which was supposed to bring reason, progress and secular enlightenment has descended into a bloody madness history would call the Reign of Terror. England still remains on a knife edge still economically weakened but facing peril inside its borders too.

Q. What specific research did you do for this time in history?
In some respects it was a continuation of the research for Moonstone Obsession. When James and Selina got to Paris at the end of 1790 they were there with England’s Ambassador, Earl Gower. By the end of 1792, most likely following the arrest of Louis XVI, England closed its Embassy.
What amazed me was the speed of the descent into murderous, blood-thirsty anarchy.
What was also interesting is that the National Assembly of France didn’t technically declare war on England in early 1793, they declared war on George III.

They had hoped that Radical elements in Britain would rise up against the Crown and would join a world-wide revolutionary movement.

Q. How important to you is to have the setting, era, and speech perfectly suited to the time the book is set?
I think there has to be a balance with dialogue because you’re writing for modern audiences. Today conversation is a lot less wordy, a lot less flowery. It’s important to be mindful to avoid glaring anachronisms and I found myself doing a lot of research into lots of different areas including boxing, types of carriages – even how sugar was prepared for the table. There are a lot of Regency and Georgian enthusiasts among readers who are sure to pick up on any inconsistencies

Q. Is there any link between the names you’ve chosen for your leading characters, and people from real history?
I have included mention of a number real life historical figures, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, George III and William Pitt the Younger – of course, but there is also reference to the boxer Daniel Mendoza, the French doctor Philippe Pinel, Robespierre, Lord Mansfield... To me a historical romance doesn’t feel authentic if there is no reference to news, events, people and issues of the time. We don’t live in a vacuum, the times in which we live influence our views. So it is important for me to represent the characters as real people engaged with their time.

Q. Will readers warm to Lady Abigail Houghall straight away, or warm to her as the book progresses?
I think readers will understand Abigail very quickly even if they don’t condone her past. At the beginning of Moonstone Conspiracy, we see Abigail emerging from a very dark place.

The events at Bocconoc House two years earlier left her uncertain and broken – two things Abigail has never been in her life but now she’s picking up the pieces of her life the best way she knows how.

Q. Daniel Ridgeway is a man with his own past and problems. What is it about him that attracts Lady Abigail?
Daniel is the first man who has ever seen Abigail for herself. He knows of her past and doesn’t hold it against her. In many respects he brings out her better nature and encourages it.

Mind you Daniel’s past has scarred him. He holds himself responsible for a tragic death and that has coloured his approach to love and relationships.

Q. What can readers expect from your current works in progress?
I’m working on two very different stories at the moment. I’m just about to wrap up a short story called September Harvest set in the late 19th century which has a little bit of a Thomas Hardy feel to it and my next major work is called Dark Heart which is set in 3rd Century AD Rome just as the Empire is in its death throes.
What appeals to me about that is I can’t recall another novel set during the time of the Barracks Emperors – everything I’ve read so far centres on the Golden Age of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

I see a lot of parallels between that period of history and today.

Q. Your first two novels, Moonstone Obsession and Warrior’s Surrender, have both been runaway successes. Any news for a sequel for Warrior’s Surrender?
Thank you very much!
I don’t have any plans for a direct sequel to Warrior’s Surrender but I do have some very exciting plans for a new Medieval series set around Yorkshire in the early 13th century.

I’ll be co-writing them with my husband. They’ll be a blend of  history, action, mystery and, of course romance.

Watch the stunning trailer for Moonstone Conspiracy:



BLURB
What would you gamble for love?
For her unwitting but eager participation in helping her corrupt cousin rob the Exchequer, Lady Abigail Houghall – a scandalous star of the London Beau Monde – has spent the last two years enduring the relative drudgery of life in the town of Bath. Under threat of transportation to the Colonies for her sins, Lady Abigail is forced to live with a maiden aunt and pen nonsensical weekly letters detailing the town’s social activities to mysterious ‘Aunt Druscilla’ in London.
As she plots to escape both her gilded cage and the stifling convention of an England that casts her as wicked, Abigail is awoken abruptly by the Honourable – and handsome – Daniel Ridgeway to the clandestine role she has been playing unawares and the price she may yet have to pay for her freedom.Daniel is a man with his own past and problems – an estranged family, a missing friend, an old flame and a mission to thwart those who would export France’s bloody revolution to England.
As Abigail is drawn deeper into his dangerous world, she realises she is falling in love for the first time, comprehending a world beyond her own self-interest, and must decide between the life she knew and the life she might have – if they survive.
From Bath’s lush Assembly Rooms to the seedy backstreets of London and the claustrophobic catacombs of revolutionary Paris, the sequel to Moonstone Obsession weaves a story of rejection, romance and redemption where the stakes are life itself.


“I’m glad you remembered our appointment.”

Abigail recognised the droll voice and so did not even bother opening her eyes.

“It’s not yet midnight,” she replied and felt the couch shift as Daniel’s weight settled down into it.

“In our business, we take opportunities whenever they occur.”

Abigail opened her eyes and opened her fan to hide a yawn. He did not look fatigued. If one was to assign his expression right now, she would have described him as being studiously nonchalant.

“And what business are we in, Mr Ridgeway?”

“A very dangerous one.”

“I don’t recall signing up for a dangerous business,” she retorted, keeping her voice low to prevent anyone overhearing. “If my experience of your business over the past two years is any guide, stultifying boredom would be a better description.

“You can tell Aunt Druscilla that my obligation to her is complete. I’m going abroad at the end of this season.”

A slow feline grin spread across his face.

“Are you now?”

Fatigue fled and Abigail straightened in her seat, ready to rise to the challenge.

“Are you going to stop me?”

“I don’t particularly care what you do after this season,” he told her. “If you can’t give me what I want by the end of June, then you’re not half the woman Blakeney thinks you are.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth  Ellen Carter’s debut novel, Moonstone Obsession, was published in 2013 by Etopia Press. Earlier that year, the Regency adventure romance had been shortlisted in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Awards for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Set in England and France during the French Revolution, it was heralded as ‘edge-of-seat adventure and intrigue’ and ‘a rollercoaster of love, blackmail, ill-gotten gains, treason and trickery’ with Carter described as ‘a writer worth keeping an eye on’ with ‘a hint of classic suspense novelist Daphne du Maurier’.

Her second novel, Warrior’s Surrender, was published by Etopia the following year. Set in Northumbria in 1077, it sets the relationship between a displaced Saxon noblewoman and a Norman baron against the turbulent backdrop of England in the years following the Norman invasion of 1066. Reviewers found the novel ‘a fast moving and passionate read’ with ‘strong characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of action… a sexy romance to be savoured’. Readers agreed, voting Warrior’s Surrender Favourite Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers & Writers Down Under Readers Choice Awards.

Also in 2014, the short story Moonstone Promise, spinning off from Moonstone Obsession as part of Etopia’s Valentines Heat anthology, followed the fortunes of one of the supporting characters back home to 18th century Pittsburgh in a tale of ‘second chance romance’.

Carter moved up to 1802 for the light-hearted romantic short story Three Ships, part of the Christmas 2014 anthology A Season To Remember, and ventures briefly into contemporary romance for the first time with her Romance Writers of Australia annual Little Gems competition placegetter, The Tin Bear, publishing in August 2015.

And another Moonstone Obsession character, the sinful Lady Abigail Houghall, features in the full length novel Moonstone Conspiracy, coming from Etopia Press in 2015.

Carter is currently working on her fourth novel, set in ancient Rome and tentatively titled Dark Heart, which will bring together the elements for which she has become known in just a few years – in-depth historical detail woven through gripping adventure and captivating romance.

The author lives in Australia with her husband and two cats. A former newspaper journalist, she ran an award-winning PR agency for 12 years.