There are so many good books coming out this March. My publisher reckons the first half of the year is the best time for an author to debut because for some reason that’s when everyone buys books. Personally, I buy books all year round but who am I to argue with the numbers. 🙂 Anyway, there’s one book I’ve been particularly watching out for this year. It’s called “House for All Seasons.” It sounds like just the sort of story I’d like to curl up with one Sunday afternoon. That’s why I was very excited to get news from my good friend and fellow author, Jenn, this week. That’s right, she’s the writer behind this brilliant new book. Check out what she said…
I’m still raving to all my friends about your wonderful stories, but I thought I’d drop you a good old-fashioned letter because I have BIG news—and I mean REALLY BIG! After almost five years of trying, I am finally published. Yep! Because the wonderful people at Simon & Schuster loved my story, House for all Seasons—my first ridgey-didge novel—is actually sitting on the shelves (online and in bookstores and department stores) as of this week.
Like you, I am following up with a second novel; The Simmering Season which will be out this time next year. I’m currently working on that right now and …
Who am I kidding? What I’m doing now is hardly what you’d call work—unless you call jumping about like a Skip Jack ant working! I should be writing, but instead I’m being very social and madly shouting out to everyone about House for all Seasons. Who knew that I’d turn out to be a Linkedin, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, fifty-*mumble* year-old and starting a new career—my dream career.
As well as loving my job now, I am hoping to inspire others (just as your publishing journey has inspired me) so I’m spreading the message: it is never too late to follow your dreams and extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people. (In fact, I am part of a group of authors running a blog series (one a month from each of us, including the amazing Helene Young, Alison Booth and Lia Weston and more). The first one is here.
I suppose I should tell you about the book. Readers of women’s fiction (including romance, chicklit, rural lit) will find characters to love in House for all Seasons. It’s the story of four very different women and four journeys of the heart: Surviving Summer, Tall Poppy, Autumn Leaves and Wynter’s Way. A story of unravelling friendships, the tightening of family ties, and the unsettling after-effects of choices made. But mostly it’s about coming home to find your place in the world and discovering country roots can run very deep and that small towns can keep big secrets.
I knew you’d want to know about my inspiration for this novel, so I’ll tell you. I remember it was early spring 2009 and I was preparing for my first NaNoWriMo writing challenge. I was sitting outside relishing the warmth on my face after a cold, cold winter and appreciating the different seasons we get to experience here in Australia. I mean, just look at what we’ve been through. You’ve had heatwaves and cyclones in the west, while floodwaters have devastated some of our picturesque small country towns, including Ulmarra (the inspiration for my fictional town of Calingarry Crossing). Still, the changing seasons inspire me. I love the contrast – and contrast makes for great characters and conflict. So I wanted to create four female characters as different as the seasons.
Sara, a breast cancer survivor afraid to fall in love;
Poppy, a tough, ambitions journo still craving her father’s approval;
Amber, a spoilt socialite addicted to painkillers and cosmetic procedures;
Caitlin, a doctor frustrated by a controlling family and her flat-lining life.
The four estranged friends are bequeathed a century-old house, forcing them to return to their hometown where each must stay for a season at the Dandelion House to fulfil the wishes of their benefactor, Gypsy. But coming home to the country stirs shameful memories of the past, including the tragic end-of-school muck up day accident twenty years earlier. At the Dandelion House, the women will discover something about themselves and a secret that ties all four to each other and to the house – forever.
I need to sign off now. Time to head back home to the country, where I’m still getting over my House for all Seasons release party with its magical, musical treat.
I must have you over to my place again soon. Maybe when you’ve finished reading House for all Seasons we can get together in my Reading Parlour and chat.
Cheers for now (and get that next book out, will you!)
“In a country house, surrounded by the past, four friends will discover that small towns can keep big secrets.”