Victorian author Megan Mayfair is making a fabulous splash in the romance world, with her work receiving accolades galore from both readers and writers. Megan was shortlisted for an impressive five nominations in this year’s Australian Romance Readers Awards and last year scooped the pool with the Romance Writers Association’s Romantic Book of the Year award for her novel Tangled Vines. What a way to kick off a career in romance writing!
As well as being a best-selling author, Megan has three young children, works in public relations and volunteers at her local kindergarten. A proud Hawthorn Football Club member, Megan finds it impossible to resist scarves, especially leopard print, and claims the impressive feat of sharing a birthday with both her father and her grandfather, the odds of which are apparently 272,910 to one.
A Spoonful of Sugar is sweet and very easy reading, neatly straddling the line between romance and women’s fiction. Recently released by Crooked Cat Books, the story is told from the perspective of three characters – Rose Doyle, her mother Odette Doyle and the handsome doctor Noah Edwards. Rose and Noah meet during a chance accident, but it’s not long before a family wedding, a meddling ex and an isolated island put their budding relationship to the test. Their swift romance blossoms at the same time as Odette’s own marriage is crumbling, with old secrets seeping out to haunt the matriarch of the Doyle family. A Spoonful of Sugar is a warm, feel-good novel, and I raced through it in less than 24 hours. I liked all the characters, particularly the Doyle family, who will be familiar to readers of Megan’s earlier novels The Problem With Perfect and Tangled Vines. Rosa is a very likeable protagonist, I also loved the setting of Tasmania’s Bruny Island, and I’m hoping the park ranger, Tucker, will get a book of his own in due time.
Short and sweet questions
Current book on your bedside table: Rising by Heidi Catherine and Tamar Sloan
Where do you do most of your writing? In my study at home, and at my local café. I love the atmosphere of writing out and about with other people around.
Favourite Australian holiday destination: Noosa
What’s your preferred drop? Sparkling shiraz
Guilty pleasure? Macaroni and cheese – such awesome comfort food
Pet peeve: Long meetings that could have been an email.
Favourite fictional couple and why? Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. I first read Jane Eyre in secondary school as part of a literature class, and I couldn’t understand why she loved him, but as I grew older and appreciated how the heart rules the head when it came to love, their story now gives me goosebumps. The spiritual/supernatural connection is also a work of genius.
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? A pen and a huge notepad for writing.
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: Jayne Kingsley. She has a gorgeous project on the horizon that is set to be stunning.
Established authors who inspire you? Nicola Marsh keeps on writing awesome books and has inspired me with her dedication and professionalism.
Best thing about being a writer? Creating something out of nothing and seeing that come to life in my own mind, and then the reader’s mind.
Worst thing about being a writer? Finding the time to do it is a big one for me, and the constant fear that the next project won’t work, or doesn’t make sense, or it won’t find an audience. There’s a lot of fear involved. I find it always takes some extra strength to try to rise above the doubt.
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence when writing? What song/channel/podcast do you have on high rotation? I like listening to whatever is playing in a café if I’m writing outside of home, and at home, I usually write in silence. I tend to listen to songs or albums on repeat in the car if they speak to me while I’m working on a particular story. The album, Innocent Man by Billy Joel was a perfect fit for one of my books, so I had that album on high rotation when I was driving around and thinking about my characters. Added bonus, my kids can sing Uptown Girl rather well now.
Favourite perfume: Chanel No. 5
TV/film crush: Dominic West. His portrayal of Detective Jimmy McNulty on The Wire is everything I love in a well-meaning, flawed, devil-may-care, charming, heart-breaking, trouble-making handsome hero. The ultimate chaotic good. Stole my heart.
The best non-writing related prize I won was… accommodation in the gorgeous Yarra Valley – an extremely lovely prize.
Top three tips for aspiring authors?
- Keep on writing
- Find your tribe
- Write for the love of it
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? The value of relationships in all their complexities – friends, parents, children, extended family, neighbours, work colleagues, lovers. I love writing about these dynamics as there is always something to be gained and shared in these relationships.
Proudest author moment? I’m really very bad at stopping and enjoying the moment, but a couple of emails or messages from readers that connected with a theme or topic or character in my book made me proud to have created something that moved someone. That’s special to me.
If anyone gives me flack for writing in the romance genre, I tell them…they’re missing out on some seriously smart, funny, gorgeous books.
My favourite thing about writing romance is… hope. It’s such a hopeful genre. None of us are perfect, but there’s always hope.
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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.
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