We have a winner! Betty Connery, you are the winner, chosen at random to receive a free e-copy of The Baby Whisperer. Fiona will be in touch with you!
Y’all know how much I love spotlighting my fellow Tule Publishing authors and today is another special day as I introduce you to Fiona McArthur–one of Tule’s Aussie authors. Fiona has written more than forty books and shares her medical knowledge and her love of working with women, families and emergency services in her stories. In her compassionate, pacey fiction, her love of the Australian landscape meshes beautifully with warm, funny, multigenerational characters as she highlights challenges for rural and remote families, and the strength shared between women. She always champions the underdog, and the wonderful, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Then that bit of drama thrown in because who doesn’t love a few tears, a heartfelt sigh of relief and a big happy smile at the end? Make that gorgeous man earn the right to win his beautiful and strong-willed heroine’s heart because that’s something she believes in. And, absolutely, happy endings are a must.
N: Welcome to the blog, Fiona. I’m so delighted to have you with us today. So, first question, what comes first—characters or plot?
A: Thanks so much for having me, Nan. I’m so excited to be here. I have to say, huge congratulations on your gorgeous Falling for the Doctor. It’s so great to be launching a new book baby along with you in June, and I hope we have more synchronicity coming.
N: Me, too, Fiona! It was an honor to be launching a medical-type romance in the same month as you–an author who has so much medical knowledge and experience!
A: As for what comes first when I write the book, for me, it’s that first scene. I see the action and setting ‘cute meet’ and I let my two main characters carry me into the story. Along the way I have to work out their secrets and barriers, but I never quite know where they will take me at the end except for my belief they deserve to be together.
N: The Baby Whisperer is part of your Outback Babies series, which grew out of the Outback Brides series, all from Tule Publishing. Did the Babies series just feel like a natural sequel to your brides?
A: Absolutely. I love the fictional town of Wirralong. It’s fun that the town is filling up with babies and that some of them come from my previous stories. This is my fourth book set here and even though the books are all able to be read by themselves, they’re connected by the friendship and history between my characters. So, a natural next book for me as a lover of Wirralong. Big yes.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself since you’ve been writing?
A: The most surprising thing is how much of myself I put in my books. I discovered that by the reactions of my nearest and dearest. When my husband read my first book in 2001 (and apart from my stories he only reads non-fiction and news) he went all soft and squishy and said, ‘If I hadn’t read your books, I would never have known you.’ And just yesterday my youngest son read my latest contemporary fiction and said, ‘It’s so weird to hear your voice and recognize memories when I read your books – but I love your characters.’ People say it to me when they meet me. ‘You sound just like your books.’
N: Your own life as a nurse and midwife and your home in Australia figure heavily in almost all your books. Are your plots sometimes taken from your real-life experiences?
A: Ideas for the scenes in the book often come from obstetric emergency responses I used to teach in my work as an educator. Though I can’t remember every writing about a particular incident. Mostly the background comes from an outback news article or person’s life I’ve heard about because I think writers are like magpies and collect interesting bits and pieces and make story nests with them. But often I will use a theme to share a concept I’d like people to know more about – like ideas and deep calming breaths for the person dealing with an unexpected birth without panic.
N: Let’s talk about your newest release with Tule—The Baby Whisperer, which released June 9. Right off, what a fun title! Give us three words to describe your heroine, Stephanie; and three words for you hero, Eli.
A: Awww, thank you, that was my title, and I love it. Do you think I should write the The Baby Catcher next? Cause I like that, too. Heh heh.
Three words for Stephanie.
Cautious – because she lost loved ones.
Independent – because she feels she’ll need to rely on herself.
Kind – because she cares about her young charges, their parents, and Maeve’s difficulty with her baby and finds satisfaction and joy from helping families.
Three words for Eli.
Protective of others – because of his training as a soldier and because of what happened to his sister
Proactive – planning to make things happen – as a builder, mentor of his young men, as a brother, and future lover of Stephanie
Honest – Eli is honorable
N: Can you tell us a little something about Eli and Stephanie’s story that isn’t in the blurb?
A: There was fun in the fact that the real Baby Whisperer is Eli, and not Stephanie who is first christened that by the town.
N: What’s the most difficult part about writing for you? Beginnings? Middles? Ends? Conflict?
A: Definitely the middles – I can see where it starts, and see where it ends, but because I just write and don’t plan – I can end with a story that’s way too short and missing the meat in the sandwich. So often I have to go back and find a problem I missed.
N: Writing can be an emotional, stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
A: For me the hardest thing about writing is the negative self-talk if I don’t do it. That dragging guilt that I can instantly fix by writing first thing in the morning for a set amount of words – yay – I’ve done my writing for the day and can go have fun. Of course, if you’re lost in a scene in the book, time can stretch for thousands of words. But my motto is 500 to 800 words a day and I’ll have a romance in 3 months or a contemporary fiction in five. That works for me.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: The Narnia series. And it’s taken me all this time to start my first time travel series. No idea why.
N: What’s coming up next for you?
A: A dramatic small town flood book. A broodingly gorgeous man with a secret, a new young doctor in town who has to save his son, and a baby being born in the middle of it all. That’s all I know. Smiling here but it will be done in a few months.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: After the fun times we had creating the town of Wirralong, and then creating this new series, I’d have to say the fab Kelly Hunter, who shared the original bottle of red wine called Wirra Wirra, that we named the town after. My dear friend, Trish Morey, joining us for her first Wirralong book, and the lovely Barbara Hannay who gave us Book 1 in this series. We may just have a lovely glass of Wirra Wirra red wine with our meal and laugh a lot.
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***Fiona is doing a giveaway–one lucky commenter will receive a free e-copy of The Baby Whisperer, so leave a howdy below for a chance to win!***
The Baby Whisperer
After losing her father, brother, and now her husband to their work in the fire service, midwife and mothercraft nurse Stephanie Lee leaves Perth for Wirralong to move near a midwife friend from university. She buys her first house along with the Wirralong Creche, where she’ll be able to immerse herself in looking after new mothers. Stevie’s not looking for romance, but when she meets her home builder, who’s everything she doesn’t want, she can’t resist.
When he’s not remodeling homes with his young crew of at-risk young adults, Eli Grayson is a volunteer for the rural fire service and international disaster relief. Eli’s never tried to resist the lure of a beautiful woman until he meets Stephanie. It’s love at first sight and captivated Eli is determined to win her trust and heart, no matter how long it takes.
She’s afraid to love and lose, but he’s convinced they can both win. Stevie has to answer the question, is Eli—the most compelling man she’s ever met—worth the risk?
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