Geelong author, Alli Sinclair, lives and breathes words, teaching writing workshops with the Queensland Writers Centre, mentoring and assessing manuscripts for Writers Victoria, and collecting books for remote Fijian libraries in her spare time.
Alli has woven her love of travel into her novels, picking an international theme for each of her four books, recently travelling through Europe to promote her first-ever German-translated book, and teaming up with a fellow author to initiate a writing retreat onboard a cruise ship. As well as writing and collecting passport stamps from across the globe, Alli has a heart for adventure. She has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains, rafted along the Ganges River and ridden a camel in the Sahara.
Her latest novel ‘Burning Fields’ was released by Harlequin Mira earlier this month. The story is set on a Queensland sugar cane farm in 1948, with main character Rosie and her family reeling from the war that claimed her two brothers. A strong and determined farm girl, Rosie has her heart set on running the family business but struggles to convince her traditional father. She befriends their new neighbour, a young Italian migrant called Tomas, and a relationship forms in spite of simmering tensions between the two neighbouring families. The storyline flickers back to Italy in 1943, delving into Tomas’s mysterious past and the ghosts that have followed him to Australia. I loved the dual timelines, the small town, sugar cane farm setting and Rosie’s fight for women’s equality.
Short and sweet questions
Current book on your bedside table: The Cowgirl by Anthea Hodgson (LOVING this book!)
Where do you do most of your writing? I write in my office and edit on the couch!
Guilty pleasure? Binge-watching a TV series.
Pet peeve: Bad drivers.
Favourite fictional couple and why? Mine are a trio – Stephanie Plum, Ranger and Morelli. Even after twenty plus books I can still not decide who Stephanie should end up with!
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? Books and wine.
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: Vanessa Carnevale. Vanessa writes the most amazing, heartfelt books that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Her latest, The Memories That Make Us, is BRILLIANT!
Established authors who inspire you? Oh, there are so many! A very short list is: Maria Duenas, Isabel Allende, TM Clark, Michelle Moran, Monica McInerney, Kate Furnivall, Barbara Hannay, Belinda Alexandra.
Best thing about being a writer? Creating stories that entertain, and hopefully, inspire.
Worst thing about being a writer? The long hours.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence? When I’m writing I need silence but when I’m doing housework Spanish pop music (really loud!) is a must!
Favourite perfume: Narciso Rodriguez
The best non-writing related prize I won was … a movie musicals trivia competition on board a cruise ship. And yes, I still have the trophy.
Top three tips for aspiring authors?
– There will be days when writing feels too hard and that’s when you need to push through the self-doubt because it will make you stronger and you’ll be a better writer for it
– Don’t compare yourself to others – every writer has their own journey and the only one you need to focus on is yours
– Read, read, read! Read lots of different genres because there is always something you can learn
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? That anyone can achieve anything if they work hard and believe in themselves.
Proudest author moment? Seeing my first published book on the shelves for the first time. Yes, I may have had a tear and the bookstore staff were concerned until they realised I was the author and this was a momentous occasion! Then they whipped out the camera and took photos and celebrated with me. I’ll never forget it!
My favourite thing about writing romance is… the readers, other authors, librarians and booksellers. This is such a wonderful genre that has an amazing group of supportive, friendly, passionate people who share the love of the written word.
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… that they are missing out on one of the best genres that will challenge and inspire both emotionally and intellectually.
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.