This month’s Kiss & Tell guest is West Australian writer, Sasha Wasley. The author of three rural romances in the ‘Daughters of the Outback’ series, plus two stand-alone fiction titles, Sasha is also on the cusp of releasing a children’s book for middle grade readers under a pen name Ash Harrier.
Her 2021 release Spring Clean for the Peach Queen was one of my favourite reads of 2021 and I’m excited to get stuck into her newest release, A Caravan Like a Canary.
RWA members heading to the 2022 conference will also have a chance to meet Sasha in person this August. I plan on sitting right up the front for her 90-minute workshop at the Fremantle conference – ‘Getting Unstuck: How to Untangle your Narrative Knots’ – with my pen and notepad at the ready!
As well as teaching writing workshops for adults and young people, Sasha is also a mentor for aspiring writers and volunteers for the Books in Homes charity, which supports kids in disadvantaged circumstances build their home libraries with books of choice. In between writing and teaching, Sasha also cares full-time for her neurodivergent young adult offspring.
Short and sweet questions
Current book on your bedside table: Two on the go: I Shot the Devil by Ruth McIver and Wildflower by Monique Mulligan. I just finished Rattled by Ellis Gunn – amazing!
Where do you do most of your writing? In cafes or my armchair.
Favourite Australian holiday destination: East Kimberley region of WA – it’s stunning! Closely followed by Hobart.
What’s your preferred drop? I love vodka and kombucha (that’s healthy, right?)
Pet peeve: People who don’t recycle properly or at all – LOL.
If you could pack two non-essential items for a deserted tropical island, what would they be? A sewing kit and a fully loaded Kindle.
Name an emerging author to keep an eye out for: I was very impressed by Diana Reid’s debut, Love and Virtue.
Australian book you’re most looking forward to reading in 2022? Looking forward to reading my friend Jennie Jones new title in October: The Girl on the Homefront.
Best thing about being a writer? Being allowed to tell all the stories that run around in my head.
Worst thing about being a writer? Trying to navigate a brand new story can be hard – until I know my story and characters it can be tough to motivate myself to write. Also, trying to stick to one genre!
Do you prefer music, podcasts or silence when writing? What song/channel/podcast do you have on high rotation? I need music, background noise or silence. I can’t have any talking (radio, tv or podcast) as it’s too distracting! I have a played-to-death playlist on Spotify that I put on rotation, or I enjoy cafe noise.
Favourite perfume/scent: I’m not much of a perfume person. I love the smell of lavender, vanilla, sandalwood and other natural scents.
TV/film crush: I’m partial to Sebastian Stan and Santiago Cabrera.
The best non-writing related prize I won was… I won 4 tickets to the 2000 Olympics and $5000 spending money! We got tours, accommodation and event passes – I watched Cathy Freeman win her race and it was unforgettable! (NOTE FROM MAYA – that is SO cool!!)
Top three tips for aspiring authors?
1. Take opportunities – attend workshops and conferences, join associations and apply for residencies and grants!
2. Keep writing new things – don’t get stuck on one draft, rewriting and resubmitting. Sometimes you need some practice runs.
3. Respect your writing. Treat it as a calling, not just a hobby. Create space in your life and world for it.
What theme do you hope shines through in your writing? Oooh, hard to narrow it down but I think one common theme in all my books is probably my feminism – the importance of equality, female friendships, the right to be safe and the rise of women in leadership.
Proudest author moment? Hitting the Australian Top 100 Favourite Books with Spring Clean for the Peach Queen recently was a huge highlight!
My favourite thing about writing romance is …. Helping the lovers uncross their stars.
If anyone gives me flack about writing romance, I tell them… When we’re on our deathbeds, what do you reckon we’ll think back on? 99% of the time, I think it will be our loved ones. Relationships really are the most important thing.
Share a fun fact readers might not know about you: I notice little critters. It’s kind of a superpower. I spot the smallest of lizards and birds, hear the rustles in the bushes, and recognise an insect camouflaging against a leaf.
A Caravan Like a Canary
Two road trips. Twenty years apart. Can the memories of a troubled family past finally be put to rest?
When Tara Button’s mother asks her to drive the bright yellow family caravan from one end of the state to the other, it’s her charming but unreliable brother, Zac, who convinces her it’s a good idea. Besides, the road trip might keep Zac out of trouble – and that’s always been a second job for Tara.
Tara doesn’t expect Zac’s enigmatic friend Danh to come along for the ride. Or the bikies that seem to be following them up the coast.
As they travel along the open road, memories of the Buttons’ last trip in the caravan engulf Tara, while a rediscovered love for the wild, glorious ocean chips away at her reserve. When forced to face her past, will Tara find the courage to let go and discover her dreams?
Find Sasha online:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDWasleyAuthor (disclaimer: I get a bit political!)
From country show baking to raising orphaned lambs, bestselling author Maya Linnell writes about the life she lives and loves. A keen bookworm, former rural journalist and radio show host, Maya is also an ambassador for the digital library app Libby OverDrive. She lives in rural Victoria with a menagerie of animals, sweeping gardens, three bookworms and the odd tiger snake or three. Her latest novel Kookaburra Cottage is out on May 30 with Allen & Unwin. Find her online @maya.linnell.writes or mayalinnell.com