Adelaide author, Clare Connelly, stepped away from a career in law and recruitment, and a gig working for celebrity chef Maggie Beer, to write category romance.
She lives in a tiny seaside cottage with her young family, fighting for bench space amongst an ever-growing population of Shopkin figurines, as she creates ‘happily ever afters’ for one of the world’s biggest romance publishers – Mills and Boon. She also self-publishes, and has more than 50 books under her belt.
Clare’s latest book ‘Off Limits’ is launched in eBook and print this month, featuring playboy tycoon Jack and his ultra-capable legal counsel, Gemma. Late nights at the office become an exercise in self-restraint, with professional boundaries rapidly flying out the window. It’s one of the first in Mills and Boon’s new ‘Dare’ range, which promises readers a sexy read with high heat levels throughout. OFF LIMITS delivers multiple times, with scenes steamy enough to fog up any boardroom window and enough emotional drama to have you championing Jack and Gemma’s relationship.
Short and sweet Q & A with Clare
Current book on your bedside table: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (which is somewhat terrifying) and A Baby to Bind his Bride (which is uplifting and amazing) by Caitlin Crews.
Where do you do most of your writing? …wherever I can find a quiet spot! There’s barely space to think in our cottage, let alone for an office of any description.
Favourite Australian holiday destination: Without a doubt, Noosa.
What’s your preferred drop? Just one? Ha! Ice-cold champagne is my go-to special occasion drink. I’m also rather partial to Barossa shiraz.
Guilty pleasure? Chocolate. I have type one diabetes and I really shouldn’t eat chocolate, ever, or very rarely, but I find myself craving it of an evening!
Pet peeve: Empty coffee-cup acting. For goodness sake, props department, put a bit of water in the cup. I don’t know how you can tell when an actor is walking around with an empty cup and pretending to sip but it’s galling once it gets under your skin.
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: Ellie Ashley. She hasn’t published anything yet she writes page-turning, super-gripping, sensual romance. Suzie Jay also has an addictive quality to her writing style, and a wickedly humorous voice.
Established authors who inspire you? Amy Andrews, Maisey Yates, Jackie Ashenden, Megan Crane/Caitlin Crews, Sharon Kendrick, Annie West, Carol Marinelli – too many to mention!
Best thing about being a writer? World-making. I love inventing people, sending them to exotic locations and giving them all kinds of problems before spinning them into a beautiful happy ending.
Worst thing about being a writer? When my characters don’t behave!
Favourite perfume: Angel by Thierry Mugler.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence? Music – I have a Clare Writes Love playlist of songs. When I’m not writing, I love podcasts. I listen to West Wing Weekly, Stuff You Should Know, Writer on the Road, all as often as I can.
The best non-writing related prize I won was… I’ve never won anything, but my husband once won three trips from London to America by drinking copious quantities of Budweiser, which he hasn’t been able to touch since.
Top three tips for aspiring authors? 1. Write. It sounds simple but writers write. That’s it. 2. Every single writer loses faith in themselves and their book at some point. I’ve written over sixty books and I still doubt myself at some point in each and every one. 3. Read a book you want to read. Your characters should obsess you while you’re writing. Oh, and a 4th. Don’t let other people’s methods/successes/techniques fill your mind and cloud your own instincts. Everyone is different and you and your success is the only benchmark that matters.
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? That love can help and heal just about anything.
My favourite thing about writing romance is… Romance is uplifting, empowering, inspiring and escapist. It offers hope and happiness, and we need that right now, don’t we?
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them… I don’t tell them anything, but I put my slightly sympathetic smile in place because, let’s face it, they’re missing out on one of life’s truest pleasures and they don’t even know it.
Rural fiction writer Maya Linnell honed her journalism skills at a country newspaper before moving to PR and now fiction. She loves living in regional Victoria with her husband, three children and a growing menagerie of animals. Their hand-crafted home recently graced the front page of the Owner Builder Magazine (December/January 2017/2018 edition), along with a series of articles she wrote about their unique building project and hand-made bricks. When she’s not writing, Maya can be found sneaking strawberries from her garden, trying to replicate recipes from food magazines, attempting yet another DIY project, or devouring a good book.
Follow Maya on Instagram.