This week, I’m very excited to be talking to Mandy Magro, author of recently released, “Jacaranda.” I love connecting with other authors, especially ones that have the same passion for Australia and Australian stories the way I do.
So Mandy, where were you born, raised, schooled?
I was born in the beautiful little country township of Mareeba in 1975. In 1977 mum and I moved to Cairns, (the big smoke!) where I went to Saint Frances Primary School then continued onto Woree High School. After school I obtained a Diploma in Hairdressing and did that for about 10 years. I had my own hairdressing salon at 18. I loved it, but after 7 years at it I decided to move back to the country and I have never left.
So Jacaranda is your second novel right? What is it about?
At nineteen, Molly Jones has the world at her feet. Then one drunken night she falls into bed with Mark, a cowboy just passing through. By the time Molly realises she is pregnant, Mark is long gone. Now, at twenty-six, Molly’s life is almost perfect. She’s the devoted mother of Rose, and a renowned horse trainer. She lives amid the beauty of Jacaranda Farm, surrounded by family and friends – none closer than hunky stockman Heath. But she’s still looking for the love of her life, and a father for Rose. When Mark stumbles back into her world, as charming as ever, Molly begins to hope for a future she’d long ago relinquished. But how will Mark react when he learns he’s a father? And could the man of Molly’s dreams be closer to home than she thinks?
Great premise! Being a mother myself, this story particularly intrigues me. I love the cover of your book too, by the way. You must be so pleased with it. What was the inspiration behind this story?
A few different factors contributed to Jacaranda, the initial spark for the setting was inspired by my love of the glorious Jacaranda tree. I am passionate about country life and absolutely adore horses so the role my heroine, Molly Jones, plays as a gifted horse trainer seemed fitting as I began typing. I also wanted to draw on my own unique experiences as a mother and include an adorable little girl in the storyline. Hence, Molly’s little girl, Rose, came to life on the page. Furthermore, I desired to tell a story that mirrored the anguish and euphoria true love can trigger and the journey of a woman as she discovers who she is and what she wants from her life and from love.
What’s the hardest thing about living and working on a farm?
The long travelling distances to get anywhere can be really tough. Just to get Chloe to swimming lessons takes an hour each way. And also not having family close by can be quite hard at times. Especially when I need a few hours to write and Chloe is home and being a typical adventurous four year old! But like anything, you get used to it. There are many pluses that far outweigh the negatives.
Do you have a favourite character in your novel and why?
I love all my characters so it’s hard to choose. But, I do love writing about the hunky countryman that my heroine is falling madly in love with. He is always every woman’s fantasy, broad shouldered, strong spirited and extremely sexy.
Ooooh Nice. Where do you write? When do write? Do you have a special office/place?
Well, at the moment my office is wherever I choose to sit and write seeing I am staying with family over in England for 3 months. I don’t have set times for writing at present, instead writing whenever I feel, which is lovely! Normally I will grab the lap top and toddle off outside under a tree to do some writing which can be very inspiring considering my view of endless field of sheep and cattle! I do dream about the day I’ll have an office with plush carpet underfoot, a whole wall devoted to being a bookshelf and a big leather chair that I can sit comfortably in while I type, oh, and of course a view out of a big bay window of horses and cattle.
I’m a big fan of dream offices. I’ve got several ideas myself. But what got you into writing fiction? Has writing always been a passion?
I started writing about 3 years ago when I began the journey into motherhood and discovered I was confined to the house rather than being out on the land. Writing gave me a way to express my love for the country and the people who live in it. It’s great fun. I get to party with my characters, make them fall in love, gallop towards a setting sun or just sit around a campfire, yarning.
Who is your favourite author? Why?
It might sound like a cop out but to be honest I don’t have a particular favourite author. I am a huge fan of rural romance and there are a handful of women writers I adore, yourself being one of them. But, if I have to pick the top three, other than yourself of course!, they would be Fiona Palmer, Cathryn Hein and Margareta Osborn.
I knew I liked you! So where can everyone, including myself, get a copy of Jacaranda?
Jacaranda is available at bookshops Australia wide, online bookstores and also as an e-book. And if your local store doesn’t have any copies left just ask the friendly staff and I am sure they will be more than happy to order you in a copy. Or, if readers would like to order a signed copy they can go to my website. www.mandymagro.com
Thanks for having me over at your blog today, Loretta. It’s been great fun chatting with you. Look forward to your next book!
Thanks Mandy! I’m off now to get a copy of Jacaranda!