Welcome to Fabulous Fiction, a blog by Stella Quinn which celebrates books so good, you just want to hug them when you’re done reading.
It has been such a treat this month to have Fiona Marsden as my guest on the Fabulous Fiction blog. Her newest release A Matter of Trust was published by Escape Publishing on 4 July 2021.
What is the world saying?
Helen on Goodreads says of Fiona’s novel A Matter of Trust: This is a beautiful second chance romance, lots of emotions flowing off the pages and through the characters in this one and Fiona Marsden has written it beautifully pulled me in from page one as we journey to a beautiful well deserved HEA after many secrets are unearthed.
Louisa says: Beautiful, emotional and romantic.
STELLA: Tell us a little about your book, Fiona
Twelve years is a long time to hide a secret…or two.
Forced from his self-imposed exile, Doctor Morgan Cavanaugh must face his demons and confront the girl he left behind. Becca Walters became a woman in that time with life-altering revelations of her own.
Becca fought her way to respectability, but it came at a cost. With Morgan’s return she must face the consequences of long-ago decisions, made without his knowledge.
Together they have to face the past in order to make a future.
A moving contemporary romance about facing past regrets and the search for belonging from a fabulous new talent. Perfect reading for anyone who loves Mandy Magro.
Fabulous Fiction Q & A
STELLA: Okay, now let’s get to know the author behind the book!
Fiona Marsden has lived most of her life in rural Australia, sharing her five-acre block with kangaroos, wallabies and the odd koala and possum. Born and bred in Queensland, Australia, Fiona grew up in the far west of the state, lived for several years in Brisbane and is now settled on the Granite Belt in the rural south east.
STELLA: Fabulous fiction stays with us long after we have finished reading. Fiona, why will readers find A Matter of Trust a book they’ll want to hold close (a hugworthy book, we call this on the Fabulous Fiction blog)?
FIONA: The story is a reunion romance set in a small rural town. The lead characters are both lovable and vulnerable with a lot of painful baggage. I hope readers will want to see them get their HEA as much as I enjoyed giving it to them; after a suitable struggle. 😉
STELLA: Do you have a favourite genre to read? To write?
FIONA: I am a fairly eclectic reader across quite a few subgenres. I am probably more a trope driven reader, looking for particular tropes. I write both contemporary and historical but do have some SFF floating around on my hard drive. My favourite tropes to read and write are reunions and marriage in trouble.
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)
FIONA: That guaranteed happy ending and I must believe in it. Especially if the protagonists have tried and failed in the past. Bonus points if they haven’t found someone else they have tried and failed (or had meaningless sex) with in between.
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)
FIONA: Funnily enough, I had an editor really emotional about an old three-legged dog in a submission I was working on. Sadly by the time I finished the book she had moved on and I never got to submit to her. I’m hoping to use that story in my current rural series.
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?
FIONA: Isn’t it always the bad things that stick with you? I had a reviewer complain about several aspects of the story they found unbelievable. I wasn’t too worried about those criticisms because I know those concerns are addressed in the story. What stuck with me was her conviction that there were numerous grammatical errors and “the rampant incorrect use of apostrophes”. Now this was a book that had been professionally edited but apostrophes are a weakness of mine so I was totally panic stricken. Even after my editor assured me they were all correct, it still bothers me.
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.)
FIONA: In romance, infidelity every time. I can’t believe in a happy ending if I believe the first reaction to a problem is to go assuage their pride with someone else. It’s disrespectful to everyone involved. When I was younger I probably wouldn’t worry so much, but now I know that a HEA requires working on every day and things can go wrong even with the best intentions. I can’t believe in their future if a protagonist can’t keep that basic commitment to their partner.
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?
FIONA: Only a small portion of my TBR would crush me beyond recognition. But I would probably be glad to be dead if the meteor destroyed my book collection.
STELLA: *laughing. I feel the same. About books and dogs. And maybe coffee.
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?
FIONA: It’s not my writing life that is the problem. As a dual carer, the deterioration of my mother’s health is taking increasing amounts of time I had allotted to writing. If only I drank coffee and could stay awake all night to weave my stories. Reading is my Prozac in an increasingly stressful life.
STELLA: Have you ever caught the bingewatching bug and lost your reading or writing mojo? What was the binge show?
FIONA: I have to spend each evening one on one with Mother Dearest and the easiest way to do this is to watch television with her. I get all the viewing I need and more than I want. At least I usually get to choose the show these days.
Now for the nitty-gritty:
Favourite Australian holiday destination: Somewhere with a view.
What’s your preferred drop? I am one of those sad people who doesn’t drink wine, tea or coffee. I have been known to drink Bailey’s on ice over the Christmas New Year holiday season but I can’t allow myself to get tipsy.
Guilty pleasure? Bathtub reading. After five years of drought I craved a good deep bath and a relaxing book. We did compromise by allowing me to have my bath so long as I bucketed every drop into the washing machine afterwards.
Pet peeve: I wouldn’t know where to begin.
Favourite fictional couple and why? Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot from Persuasion.[Stella’s just butting in here to say: my least favourite Austen couple! Emma and Mr Knightley used to be my least favourite, but then I saw the new movie version with Johnny Flynn and Anya Taylor-Joy and mind blown!]
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? I’m assuming there’s no electricity. Essential would include a knife and matches. Maybe a large anthology or The Lord of the Rings for reading. A pack of cards.
Writers you wish you could invite over for coffee? That’s an endless and always changing list.
Best thing about being a writer? Living in an imaginary world.
Worst thing about being a writer? Leaving my imaginary world.
You’re about to be stuck on the space station and you can take a crime novel OR a romance novel – what would you pick? A Golden Age Mystery by Agatha Christie or Patricia Wentworth or Dorothy L Sayers because they have both. Maybe Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers because it has a happy ending for Lord Peter and Harriet.
TV/film crush: Can I have the entire Marvel Universe?[Stella: only if I get to keep Thor.]
The silliest thing I ever won was… A bottle of tawny port. I still have it.
Top three things favourite places to read? Bed, Bath, Couch.
What themes do you love to see shining through in a book? Faithfulness and trust.
Pineapple on pizza, yes or no? If you must. So long as I can have anchovies.
Chocolate should be kept in the fridge, yes or no? Depends on the climate. Where I grew up, definitely fridge. Where I am now, not necessary.
Holiday: beach or bush? Whichever has the best views from inside away from the insects and bities.
Proudest writer moment? 2018 when I finalled in five awards and won two.[Stella: I was there for that. It was definitely Princess Fiona’s night. #congratulations]
Three fun facts about you:
I’m not fun
I can be funny but only by accident
When I try to be funny everything only gets worse.
Keep in touch with Fiona Marsden
Fiona’s newsletter subscription can be found via her website at fionamarsden.com
A Matter of Trust by Fiona Marsden can be found and purchased here.
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)