Welcome to Fabulous Fiction, which celebrates books so good, you want to hug them when you’re done reading.
Amy Andrews’ Instagram bio promises Books. Booze. Beach. Food. Travel. Rom-com, sports rom, medical rom, sexy rom. All the rom!!! and a scroll through the images on @amyandrewsbooks takes us on a journey of books, wine, abs and fun. There’s also a lot of hugging and hair!
Amy has written eighty plus romances, and her latest couple of projects include a new release in her Sydney Smoke series and an anthology, Five Christmases, with authors Louisa George, Barbara DeLeo, Rachel Bailey and Courtney Clark Michaels.
Today we’re chatting about Playing it Safe, book 7 in the Sydney Smoke rugby series.
What are readers saying?
“Epic Swoon!!” Anita, Amazon.com
“A slow burn romance that will tug at the heartstrings…” Julie, thereadingcafe.com
“Passionate, thoughtful, sexy” Mary, Amazon.com
“All romances are based on tropes, and Amy Andrews makes excellent use of this one (sports-rom), creating some seriously sizzing chemistry between her two leads and taking the time to develop a genuine emotional connection between them …” Caz, allaboutromance.com
“AAAAAWESome! By the end I was crying and cheering them on …” Smidgin, Amazon.com
STELLA: Tell us a little about your book, Playing it Safe
Donovan Bane loves playing rugby for the Sydney Smoke. And if that means he has to keep his sexuality a secret, that’s a sacrifice he’s prepared to make. At least until after he retires, anyway. He doesn’t want to be the first pro rugby player in Australia to officially come out while still playing. The team doesn’t need the media shit storm and he’d rather be known for his footy skills. Which means no dating, no relationships, no sex. Nothing but playing ball.
Until one man suddenly changes everything…
Beckett Stanton is out and proud—and not looking for a guy who isn’t. Been there, done that, complete disaster. Unfortunately, on the first day of his new job working for the Sydney Smoke, he locks eyes with Donovan Bane and he’s a goner. Big, gruff, and athletic isn’t usually Beck’s type, but for some reason this man is ticking all his boxes. And it’s clear the feeling is mutual. It’s also clear that Donovan is not out, and doesn’t plan to be anytime soon. Still, Beck can’t resist being the man to show Donovan everything he’s been missing.
For the first time, Donovan doesn’t play it safe and allows himself to indulge in things with Beck he knows he can’t have. But when their relationship gets serious, he knows he has to choose between the career he loves and the man he loves, because how can he possibly have both?
STELLA: Okay, now let’s get to know the author behind the book
Amy is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling, triple RITA nominated Aussie author who has written eighty contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets and sold over 3 million books.
Her books bring all the feels from sass and quirk and laughter to emotional grit to panty-melting heat. She loves frequent travel, good books and great booze although she’ll take mediocre booze if there’s nothing else. For many, many years she was a registered nurse. Which means she knows things. Anatomical things. And she’s not afraid to use them!
She lives in the pretty little coastal town of Yeppoon where she gets to stare at the ocean all day.
Fabulous Fiction Q & A
STELLA: Fabulous fiction stays with us long after we have finished reading. Amy, why will readers find Playing it Safe a book they’ll want to hold close (a hugworthy book, we call this on the Fabulous Fiction blog)?
AMY: The longing. So. Much. Longing. Also sweetness and adorable awkwardness. Donovan and Beck are just so damn cute together!
STELLA: Do you have a favourite genre to read? To write?
AMY: I like contemporary romance which is great because it’s such a broad genre with lots of sub-genre options. To write? I like to write rom-com!
STELLA: When YOU read, what are the “must haves” in a book for you to love it ? (For me it’s character: there has to be someone that I love)
AMY: Given I read about 99% romance, I must have a HEA/HFN! My reading time is limited and precious so I don’t have time for books that are going to give me that happy sigh at the end. That is not negotiable.
STELLA: Has a reader let you know the special something in any of your books that has touched them? (I have a major tissue-sniffle session whenever a book has an old, grey-whiskered dog in it)
AMY: Readers have emailed to let me know over the years if my books have touched or resonated with them. One that stuck in my mind particularly was a reader who loved Harper from Playing It Cool because Harper was a curvy girl and it helped the reader be less self-conscious about her own body which was such a nice feeling!
STELLA: Has a comment in a review from a reader ever stayed with you? What was it? Why does it make you happy/proud/vengeful?
AMY: Every bad review I’ve ever got stays with me! Most of them revolve around my dirty language and my sex scenes but that’s fine – I’m not going to stop doing either and those reviews are great for giving like-minded readers a heads up. For those who don’t mind the F bomb and sexy times, a “bad” review can sell as many books as not.
STELLA: What are your dealbreakers? The things that make you throw a book across a room? (For me it’s sadistic pleasure, or when my hero is done away with – think Buffy running a sword through Baby Booth. No way was I returning to that show.)
AMY: Poorly motivated characters. You can make me believe in/be invested in any character if you motivate them well enough. Weak reasons for doing shitty things (or anything really) drives me nuts.
STELLA: How likely is it that you would be crushed if a meteor landed in your backyard and your TBR pile fell on you while you were sleeping? What are some of the books in there at the moment?
AMY: My physical TBR isn’t too bad really because I mostly read e-books. I have Sally Fields and Jimmy Barnes biographies there at the moment along with Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s collection of speeches she made over the years. Kali Anthony’s debut book is also there.
My Kindle has about a dozen books waiting to be read….Totally Folked by Penny Reid is the second last one I bought and Rachael Stewart’s Surprise Reunion With His Cinderella is the last one I bought.
STELLA: How busy does writing life make you? Are you snowed under? Do you have to put limits on your reading and writing and social media so you don’t get burnout?
AMY: I’m busy all the time and things always feel like they’re on top of me lol. I’ve hit a bad patch of burnout at the moment and it’s a bit of a struggle to be honest. Hitting deadlines has been impossible….
STELLA: Have you ever caught the bingewatching bug and lost your reading or writing mojo? What was the binge show?
AMY: I love TV and I love a good binge-watch! In fact, if I like a series I want to watch ALL of it in one session! I’ve not lost my writing mojo because of it, quite the contrary – it’s my reward to myself at the end of a writing day! And there’s such great TV, it’s always inspiring my writing.
Now for the nitty-gritty:
Has lockdown/pandemic impacted your writing? Yes. It accelerated my burnout unfortunately.
Do you pay much attention to reviews? I read all my reviews. They can mess with your head so you have to have a fairly strong ego to read the bad ones but I like to know what the readers are thinking.
Writing festivals and conferences – how important are these to you? They’re great for networking and refilling the well. Hanging with your people is very sustaining for my career so yeah – very important!
Favourite Australian holiday destination: WA
What’s your preferred drop? Wine!
Guilty pleasure? Honeycomb.
Pet peeve: Unkindness
Favourite fictional couple and why? Jamie and Clare from Outlander. Because their love crossed time and separation and never dwindled and their clash of cultures makes for interesting outlooks and the requirement to compromise. Also, passionate arguments and equally passionate make up sex!
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? My kindle. My husband – I’d never starve or be cold with him there!
Writers you wish you could invite over for coffee? Well, I’d like to invite over ALL my writer buddies I haven’t seen in ages but also Margaret Atwood.
Best thing about being a writer? Day pyjamas!
Worst thing about being a writer? It never gets easier.
TV/film crush: Idris Elba.
The silliest thing I ever won was…a ham raffle.
Top three things favourite places to read? Bed, a hammock, on a deck chair.
Pineapple on pizza, yes or no? Hell yes!
Chocolate should be kept in the fridge, yes or no? I am ambivalent about this debate…
Holiday: beach or bush? Now I live near the beach, I’ll go with bush/mountains.
Proudest writer moment? Hitting the USA Today bestseller list.
Three fun facts about you:
I love old glass – the more colourful the better
I can do the splits
I’m always up for a glass of something and a chat!
Keep in touch with Amy Andrews
Amy’s newsletter subscription can be found at here
Playing it Safe by Amy Andrews can be bought via this link: https://bit.ly/3z1XdeW
What’s next for Fabulous Fiction?
We’re taking a break for the month of December as blog time clashes with Christmas time. We’ll see you for the February 2022 edition, where we’ll be chatting with Katrina Coll about her debut release A Match Made for TV.
About your blogger, Stella Quinn:
When Stella Quinn isn’t sitting in the sun scribbling in a notebook, she can be found walking her dog, roaming her neighbourhood in search of the perfect latte, or thrashing her children at scrabble. She grew up in England, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Australia, and spent five (long!) years at boarding school in country Queensland.
Stella writes contemporary romance novels that are warm-hearted and filled with characters you want to be best friends with. She loves rural small-town settings, island settings, and everyday heroes. Imagine if Sea Change and Virgin River had a series of fictitious bookbabies … they’re the books Stella writes.
She’s currently (in 2022) trying to build a shed for her orchids, but keeps getting distracted by things like nutgrass infestations and how adorable her dog looks when he’s begging her to chuck a ball for him to fetch.
The Vet from Snowy River came out in June 2021 and is available here: https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781867254102/the-vet-from-snowy-river/
A Town Like Clarence is coming out in July 2022 and can be preordered here: https://www.harpercollins.com.au/9781867225614/a-town-like-clarence/
The Vet sequel (unnamed as yet, but it will be Hannah’s story) comes out in May 2023 and there’ll be a fourth, which (currently) is just a twinkle in Stella’s eye, coming out in 2024.
Stella Quinn’s awards in the fabulous world of romance include winning the Valerie Parv Award in 2018, winning the Sapphire Award in 2019 and 2020, winning the Emerald Award in 2017 and coming second in the Sapphire in 2018. Stella was shortlisted in the Australian Society of Authors/HQ Fiction Commercial Fiction Award in 2020, and in the 2020 Ruby Award for best contemporary romance for Stowaway. With her writing group (who published a Christmas anthology of novellas) she was shortlisted by ARRA for best small-town contemporary romance in 2019. The Vet is a finalist in five categories in the ARRA 2021.
Follow Stella Quinn:
Newsletter www.stellaquinnauthor.com/subscribe – (there’s a free novella waiting)