An office overlooking paddocks provides daily inspiration for rural romance author, Alissa Callen, whose best-selling storylines pivot around secrets, small towns, dusty roads, hope and healing. Living in central New South Wales, her writing is underpinned by a background in teaching and counselling, and a love of country living. She also draws from her time spent overseas and uses memories of the rugged Rocky Mountains to frame her Wildflower Ranch series.
When she’s not writing and running about after four teenage children, Alissa champions aspiring authors and gives back to the writing community, including volunteer roles with Romance Writers of Australia, and ‘paying it forward’ with assistance and advice for newcomers to the writing industry.
Alissa has published eleven books, and her settings range from the Australian outback to the snow-capped mountains in Montana. Her newest offering ‘The Red Dirt Road’ was released by Harlequin in February and quickly climbed the Australian bestsellers list. Readers are reunited with characters from the ‘Town of Windmills’ series when Dr. Fliss Knight returns to the small town of Woodlea.
Reeling from the shock of losing a patient, Fliss buys a rundown farm and tries to insulate herself from the world. But when an injured family friend needs a place to heal, and Hewitt Sinclair enters her solitary life, Fliss is forced out of her comfort zone. The warm setting and mysterious sub-plots grabbed my attention right from the start, and as a Border Collie owner, I adored the surprise canine storyline. I enjoyed Alissa’s relatable characters and authentic rural issues, plus the interesting facts about DNA testing. I’m already looking forward to reading her next novel The Round Yard (out in Feb 2019) after a sneak peek on her Facebook page.
Short and sweet Q & A with Alissa
Current book on your bedside table: The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall
Favourite Australian holiday destination: Snowy Mountains
Guilty pleasure? Planning travel itineraries
Pet peeve: People denigrating romance as a genre
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? Milk frother for hot chocolate and a reading light
Best thing about being a writer? Managing my own time
Worst thing about being a writer? Days where writing a paragraph is like getting blood from a stone
Favourite perfume: White Linen by Estee Lauder
Top three tips for aspiring authors? To read far and wide, to have courage, and to take the time to enjoy the writing process without the pressure of deadlines
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? Hope and healing
Proudest author moment? Finishing my first book
My favourite thing about writing romance is… being able to deliver a happily-ever-after for a reader who might need an escape at that moment
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… I’d never write anything else and that the world needs far more feel-good fiction
Rural fiction writer Maya Linnell honed her journalism skills at a country newspaper before moving to PR and now fiction. She lives on a small acreage in regional Victoria with her family and a growing menagerie of animals, gathering inspiration from her rural surrounds and the close-knit communities within. Maya’s hand-crafted home recently graced the front page of the Owner Builder Magazine (December/January 2017/2018 edition), along with a series of articles about their unique building project. A voracious reader, Maya also loves baking, gardening, preserving home-grown fruit and veggies, and raising three little bookworms.
Follow Maya on Instagram or at www.mayalinnell.com.