Can you give us a brief overview of The Wild One?
It’s a love story of course – in fact; it’s two love stories involving four deeply wounded souls. In the National Park just outside Coorah Creek, a herd of wild horses (in Australia we call them Brumbies) is threatened. Park Ranger Dan Mitchell (who we met in Flight To Coorah Creek) has to get them out of the park, and culling is an option he’s forced to consider. Three people join Dan’s bid to save the horses. There’s photographer Rachel Quinn, former jockey Carrie Bryant (who we also met in book one) and Justin Fraser – a horse breeder. The four of them are caught up in a race against time to save the horses – and in saving the horses they may find their own redemption.
How much research did you have to do, especially regarding horse racing/breeding, to enable you to write this book?
Growing up in Australia, I was around horses and riding from a very early age, so that bit was easy. I did research the situation with brumbies in the national parks… a very real problem to which there is no easy solution. I also researched post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans, which I needed to understand as part of Dan’s character.
The Wild One features four central characters, did you always intend to include that many or did any of them call out to you as you were writing?
My books always seem to have two central romances. I am not sure why I do that, but that is just the way they come to me. I always like my characters to have other things happening to them and other people in their lives. That’s how it is in real life. You can’t stop everything else when you meet someone interesting. You have to shuffle romance with jobs, and house work and… whatever else there is going on.
Which character did you have the most fun creating?
True confessions time: I have been a little bit in love with Dan Mitchell for a long time. He’s been in the back of my mind since before I wrote Flight To Coorah Creek. His scene in that book was so very short, I need to go back and see him again. I am not one to get overly political in my books, but at the same time, I always try to include real themes and issues that might set people to thinking. Dan is a veteran, who is suffering PTSD. He wanted me to say that whatever your politics, terrible things happen to people who didn’t deserve them and they don’t end when you take off the uniform. I don’t know that writing Dan was exactly fun – there are some traumatic moments in his life – but creating him was very fulfilling to me as a writer.
Although I'm loving reading about life in the Outback in your Coorah Creek series, have you any plans to write books set elsewhere in Australia?
I love writing about Coorah Creek and there will be more books set there, but other places call to me as well. I love the wild places of this world and have been fortunate enough to visit quite a few of them. There are some characters calling to me from a tropical island. And there is a group of unusual people who spend their lives travelling through Europe who also want to tell me their tale. I guess I’ll write them all – I’m just not sure which order I’ll write them in.
What can we expect from you next?
Have you ever eaten Christmas dinner in 40 degree temperatures? That’s where I’m taking you next. I have a Christmas novella due out later this year which shows you how Christmas is celebrated at Coorah Creek… after that… well, that would be telling wouldn’t it?
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
On a writing day I am at my desk by 9.00 am and sometimes I’m still there when my husband gets home from work. Of course, that’s not all writing. There’s a fair amount of faffing about on the web, patting the cat, making cups of tea and so forth. But I will write whenever the story takes me. Sometimes I wake up at 6AM and head down to my desk, because my characters are talking to me.
Do you set yourself a daily/weekly writing target?
One a good day I can write up to 3,000 words. Sometimes more if I’m running late to meet my deadline. In usually do about 1,500 per day. Anything less than 1,000 is a bad day.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
I’ve had so many great tips from so many people, but I think the most important thing was – just write!
What would you say is the hardest thing about writing?
Allowing myself to have a bad day. It’s hard to give myself permission to write badly to just get it down on the page, knowing I will go back and make it better once I’m back on track again. And it’s very hard to look at something that I liked as I wrote it… and suddenly realise is not right and will have to be thrown away.
What writers inspire you?
Far, far too many to list. Every good writer has something unique in their voice or style that is inspiring.
If you could write in a collaboration with another author, who would you like to write with?
Oh my… what a tough question. I would say Neil Gaiman, because his mind fascinates me. He is so creative, and childlike and dark and funny and wistful and angry and… and.. and... He’s also kinda cute in a shaggy sort of way.
Can four wounded souls find love?
Iraq war veteran Dan Mitchell once disobeyed an order – and it nearly destroyed him. Now a national park ranger in the Australian outback, he’s faced with another order he is unwilling to obey ...
Photographer Rachel Quinn seeks out beauty in unlikely places. Her work comforted Dan in his darkest days. But Quinn knows darkness too – and Dan soon realises she needs his help as much as he needs hers.
Carrie Bryant was a talented jockey until a racing accident broke her nerve. Now Dan and Quinn need her expertise, but can she face her fear? And could horse breeder, Justin Fraser, a man fighting to save his own heritage, be the man to help put that fear to rest?
The wounds you can’t see are the hardest to heal...
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/nwrDKR
Amazon US: http://goo.gl/EAzdOh
Amazon AU: http://goo.gl/bN1lih