Monday, 19 January 2015

Debut Spotlight: Bree Darcy

Today I'm delighted to be introducing you to Bree Darcy as part of the blog tour for debut novel Don't Mention the Rock Star which was published last week.

Bree Darcy is the pseudonym of Australian journalist Stephanie Pegler. She is the publisher of several popular websites for readers and authors, including Chicklit Club, Connect and We Heart Writing, and also runs the annual International Chick Lit Month event. She has worked as a newspaper sub-editor in Perth for the past twenty years, and is married with three children. 

Don’t Mention the Rock Star is her debut novel. See for more details.

They fell in love in an instant … so why have they spent a lifetime apart?

As a teenager Kellie dated an American boy but circumstances meant they went their separate ways. Now he’s back and she’s so tempted to see him again. But two decades have passed and they are both married with children.

And the last thing a celebrity reporter like her needs is the world finding out about her past relationship with a rock star. Especially as Kellie’s husband doesn’t even know she once dated AJ Dangerfield, lead singer of legendary band Danger Game. And she has no intention of him finding out. EVER.

As Kellie  deals with a demanding boss, a bullied son, an infuriating mother-in-law and a best friend who won’t act her age, she finds herself playing a dangerous game. What will happen if her two worlds collide? And is it possible that first love never fades?

What’s the main theme of your debut novel, Don’t Mention the Rock Star?
Essentially it focuses on the power of first love and debates whether you can ever really move on from your soulmate. When I finished writing the story, I actually found a quote from an unknown source which summed it up perfectly: ‘If two past lovers can remain friends, either they were never in love or they still are.’ When Kellie meets up with her ex again, can they still be friends or are they fated to be so much more?

What is it about your main character Kellie that will appeal to readers? 
Kellie is definitely the sort of person readers will be able to relate to. She works as a showbiz reporter, so has lots of interesting stories to tell. But her life isn't particularly glamorous. As a mother of two teenagers, she is far from perfect at running a household and has to deal with a very critical mother-in-law. She remains best friends with the girls from her schooldays. And she can’t help but share a very special bond with her former boyfriend, the ever-so-cool rock star AJ Dangerfield. Torn between her two worlds, she is forced into making a few risky moves and ultimately has to decide what’s most important to her.

If you could get a celebrity to endorse your book, who would it be?
Hmmm, who would be the most influential person to be seen with a copy of my book, touting its brilliance? Who would get the most retweets, shares and media coverage? While there are several A-list celebrities who spring to mind, I seriously doubt they (can) read. Although I am sure Kim Kardashian would attract a lot of attention balancing my book on her butt, I would aim for the slightly more regal Kate Middleton. Royal seal of approval works every time. 

What were the challenges in writing this novel?
Finding the time to write amid the demands of job, blogs and family was my number one problem. All the best plot ideas would come flooding in whenever I was rushing off to work and when I had time to sit and write I'd often get nothing. I also had to spend plenty of time studying the craft since writing fiction is a lot different to writing and editing news articles. Towards the end of the process, I was stressing about how long it had taken me to write the book. (I scowled every time I read an author interview about how they successfully churn out a new title every six months.) Finally the thought of giving up control of how the book would be presented to the world caused me plenty of angst – hence my decision to publish it myself. So that set off a whole new round of challenges in navigating the world of self-publishing.

Which six fictional characters would you invite to a dinner party?
Bridget Jones, providing she doesn’t bring along her blue string soup. That devil in Prada Miranda Priestley, because she would serve up some sizzling putdowns. Carrie Bradshaw to add a bit of style and pizazz. AJ Dangerfield, because after writing about him for so long I really would love to meet him in real life. Ferris Bueller – because I sense I could do a bit of matchmaking between him and Carrie. And Forrest Gump, because he is most likely to bring a box of chocolates.

What effect does being an author have on you as a reader?
Anyone who actually writes a whole book has always been a hero to me - even more so after discovering first-hand how damn hard it is! Because I am now more aware of the actual mechanics of writing, I truly appreciate when an author comes up with an interesting concept, develops memorable characters, creates snappy, realistic dialogue and resolves all the plot threads without us guessing what happens every step of the way. So I guess I probably look closer at how a story comes together, rather than before just sitting back and enjoying the ride.

Do you have any literary confessions?
Yes I do. I hang my head in shame as I admit I haven’t read any of the big blockbuster books of recent years. Not a word of Harry Potter  or The Hunger Games (nor have I seen the movies). I haven't read Gone Girl, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Help - not even a Nicholas Sparks. And as for the Fifty Shades juggernaut - well I decided early on that I wouldn't read the series until I had finished reading the entire catalogue of every other book ever published. I  actually want back the 1 minute 30 I wasted watching that movie trailer. 

What is a random fact about yourself?
I once won a pet competition with my collection of pet rocks stored in a shoebox home. The prize was a pet store voucher and a white sash with Most Unusual Pet written on it. The pet store didn’t really have anything in stock for pet rocks and the sash kept slipping off Rocky’s shoulder. But it was still a great honour!

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