Sydney-sider Emily Madden’s newest release, Heart of the Cross, is stealing hearts across Australia, with rich, relatable characters and well-woven plots. The dual timeline tale opens in Ireland before moving to the bustling Kings Cross district in Sydney, where lead character Rosie Hart finds herself in strife. Neither her husband or her new life in Australia match her expectations, and she soon discovers her flamboyant neighbours care for her more than the man she married.
The novel skips between Rosie’s point of view and the present-day predicaments of her granddaughter, Brianna Hart. I loved how Emily folded in pieces of Maggie’s story (Rosie’s daughter) in the final third of the book. Heart of the Cross was released by Harlequin Mira in late August and is an engaging read filled with heart-felt characters, mystery, romance and triumph.
As well as juggling motherhood and writing, Emily has a day job for a major Australian retailer and serves on the committee of her eldest daughter’s school, Giant Steps, for students on the autism spectrum. She happily refers to herself as a book nerd, and collects novels like some women collect shoes and handbags. Heart of the Cross is Emily’s third published novel and she is currently working on her 2020 story about the Australian Women’s Army Service.
Read below for details to win a copy of Heart of the Cross, thanks to Harlequin Books.
Short and sweet questions
Current book on your bedside table: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Where do you do most of your writing? At my local café. It’s part working and part people watching.
Favourite Australian holiday destination: I love travelling and in the last couple of years, we’ve tried to take our kids to all of our favourite holiday destinations. My kids are obsessed with Canberra at the moment, so we go there a lot!
What’s your preferred drop? Coffee!
Guilty pleasure? Netflix
Pet peeve: Dishonesty
Favourite fictional couple and why? Elizabeth and Darcy. Clichéd, but really who else?
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? Coffee and a book!
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: I think Kerri Turner is one to watch as well as Tabitha Bird. Both their debuts this year were amazing.
Established authors who inspire you? My writers camp crew: Beck Nicholas, Amanda Knight, Lisa Ireland and Rachael Johns. Amazing writers but more importantly, amazing friends.
Best thing about being a writer? Sharing the stories I make up in my head!
Worst thing about being a writer? The fear of putting your work out there. It never subsides.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence when writing? New York jazz music. I have a playlist that I’ve built from Spotify. I can listen to music while writing, as long as it’s instrumental and New York jazz is perfect.
Favourite perfume: Burberry Sheer
Film crush: Bradley Cooper
The best non-writing related prize I won was … Oh, a holiday!
Top three tips for aspiring authors?
- Write what you love, not what the market expects you to write.
- Never give up, even when it seems hopeless.
- Everyone doubts what they write. Everyone.
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? Hope. I tend to write bleak at times but strive to have even the smallest glimmer of hope shining through.
Proudest author moment? Seeing my book on a shelf for the very first time. Even with the second and third books, I still pinch myself.
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… I write about life, I write about people, people have relationships. And I want to uplift readers, what better way than through romance?
My favourite thing about writing romance is… Watching people fall in love, it’s magical.
Three fun facts about the author:
- Netflix IS a hobby. I don’t Netflix binge much, but when I do – I do it with gusto! Dead to Me and Fuller House (I watched this one with the kids) my latest obsession!
- I try to keep active and I have a gym that’s more than just a gym – I’ve found a wonderful group of friends through my love of exercise. One of my beta readers is a close gym buddy.
- I don’t cry when watching movies, unless it’s a Disney one!
Find Emily online:
Website: under construction! It’s on my list for end of 2019 to update!
TO WIN A COPY OF HEART OF THE CROSS, HEAD ACROSS TO @maya.linnell.writes ON INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN. Contest closes Sept 28. Open to Australian residents only.
Rural fiction writer Maya Linnell honed her journalism skills at a country newspaper before moving to PR and now fiction. Her debut rural romance novel – Wildflower Ridge – is published by Allen and Unwin and she is hard at work on the sequel. A voracious reader, Maya also loves baking, gardening, preserving home-grown fruit and veggies, and raising three little bookworms. She lives on a small country coastal property in regional Victoria with her family and a growing menagerie of animals, gathering inspiration from her rural surrounds and the close-knit communities within.
Follow Maya online