Stars in her eyes…

It’s a couple of years since we were first introduced to Miranda in Clear As A Bell, and with Christmas fast approaching, I thought it was time to catch up and see how she had coped with the challenging times we’ve all experienced recently.

You may recall that her IT business won a tender for the delivery of a hospital management system, and that was where she met Hugh Paterson. There were sparks between the two, but this was forbidden territory – attraction between contractor and client. Miranda had to back off fast.

We had a chat over a cooling spritz, and I caught up with the latest news in her life.

Miranda, How have you coped with the lockdowns that have frozen business activity over the last couple of years?

Miranda: It’s been a mixed bag. Given that IT Health Solutions develops software delivering management solutions to the health industry, the business has been under stress to deliver product around the country, like yesterday.

You must have been busy then.

Miranda: Tell me about it! We’re lucky in that the team can work remotely and that is what we had to do. We started the day with an online meeting, and scheduled others as necessary. I was worried that the isolation might be had for some to them to tolerate. It’s been a big change for some of the party animals amongst us.

But what about you? How did you cope?

Miranda: Well, I missed the office coffee machine; I didn’t realise how much I drank until it wasn’t on tap. Perhaps that was good as it meant that I had to go out and patronise the local cafes that were offering take-away options– fully masked and socially distancing, of course. Sometimes I went the long way round, just to add a few more steps to the daily exercise.

But aren’t you missing something? How did you manage your relationship with Hugh Paterson?

Miranda: Oh—I didn’t realise you knew about that. We haven’t been hiding it, but it’s still not general public information.

I didn’t mean to pry, but did you manage to see each other still during the lockdown?

Miranda: Umm – when we understood that we were likely to be living in enforced separation, we made a split-second decision to move in together. Hugh’s apartment is quite large, as you already know, and given its penthouse position, me moving there was a no-brainer.

Was it difficult both living together and working in the same space?

Miranda: (laughs). There were a few difficult moments, with competing space requirements, but fortunately I was able to use the spare room. My meetings are louder than his! He was also classified as an essential worker, given his role at the hospital, so he often went into his office there.

That must have been a concern with managing exposure to the virus.

Miranda: We set up a routine at the beginning, whereby when he returned from the hospital, he wouldn’t come near me until he had showered and deposited his clothes into the washing machine. I made him clean the surfaces in the lobby and all the areas he touched on entering the apartment.

Smart woman. I’d have done the same.

Miranda: We’re both vaccinated now, but we didn’t have to maintain social distancing with each other, if you know what I mean. (gives saucy wink)

That’s okay—I don’t need the finer details. I read the book and remember the heat rising from the pages a couple of times.

Miranda: (Laughs). That hasn’t changed. We still clash sometimes, but this time, I’ve found a keeper. Thank you for the chat. I’m glad to hear things have worked out so well for you

Clear As A Bell

Clear As A Bell is available from your favourite ebook retailer. https://books2read.com/u/bW90YY

Evolution of The Red Heart

In the years I lived in Alice Springs, it never occurred to me to write a book based in that location.  I lived there seven years, started a couple of businesses, built a house and learnt to fly. None of The Red Heart is autobiographical, but my experiences whilst in the Northern Territory certainly influenced the book.

Learning to fly was something that I’d always wanted to do, but it seemed an impossible dream. It wasn’t until I went to Alice that I met other people who flew, and realised it was feasible. I could do it too and so I did.  It wasn’t that hard after all.

Getting my Wings

Being awarded with my ‘Wings’ on achieving Restricted Pilot status.

I have always wanted to write, and produced the occasional poem or short story, but didn’t know other people who wrote. Back living in South Australia, I joined the SA Writers’ Centre and after attending a romance writing workshop held by that organisation, the prospect of writing a novel seemed more achievable. Just as learning to fly was a case of taking the first step, so was developing my writing skills.

I wrote the first draft in 1988. The eagle-eyed will notice that Kathy and Sarah listen to music cassettes in the car, and those who know detail about aviation will be aware that some scenes pre-date changes in processes have followed satellite and internet technologies. The interaction between Kathy and Alex that occurred in the briefing office wouldn’t happen today.

I picked the story up again in 2013 and made the decision to leave the plot in the 1980s. That meant I didn’t have to do major re-writes, which would have significantly altered some of the plot scenes.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the story. Part of that relates to getting to know the characters, and part relates to exploring some of the situations and environments that were very familiar. A common edict directed to new writers is to ‘write about what you know’ and this is what I did in this situation. It removed the requirement to research the background, while I learnt about the craft of writing.

What I didn’t expect was that the book would turn into a series. Initially, I thought it would be a stand-alone category romance for a publisher such as Harlequin, but it is too long to fit their requirements, and probably doesn’t fit neatly into any of their outlined categories. I had to explore other publishing options. As I got to know the minor characters, I realised that their stories were waiting to be told as well. Hence, the second book follows Sarah, and the third explores the challenging character of Melissa.

Fresh and Flirty in Melbourne

Attended my first RWA conference in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago.  It was amazing.  There were over 400 delegates in attendance. That’s an incredible number of people who are currently writing within the various romance genres.

I met some interesting writers, participated in great sessions on a range of technical aspects of writing and publishing, and listened to highly practical advice.  I also had the opportunity to pitch my manuscript to four new publishers.  There are no guarantees of course but at least it is a foot in the door.

On arriving back home, all enthused of course, I decided based on my observation of what is being published at the moment, that my book should probably be a bit longer and so added another chapter and nine thousand words.  In doing so, I introduced a new plot thread and am now happier with the overall plot development.

Work is progressing on the next manuscript, and in fact I wrote the best part of a new chapter while I was in Melbourne. There are time challenges whilst I am in the process of establishing a new business (www.worklifejunction.com.au) but I will try to dedicate a day a week to writing.

I didn’t see a lot of Melbourne but enjoyed the hustle and bustle while I was out and about in the evening, looking for food.  I did not stay at the conference venue, opting instead for more affordable Airbnb accommodation. I was a bit removed from everyone in the evenings, but at least that meant I could get some writing done.

Next year’s conference is in Adelaide, so I will definitely be attending that one.  Should have another novel to pitch by then.

Release Party

TheRedHeart_Cover-WebAt 12:00 tomorrow, I am joining my friend Maggie Mundy at a release party for her new novel ‘Unknown Protector’.  I will also be introducing The Red Heart, my novel set in Alice Springs, the red heart of Australia.  What better place for a young woman to start her flying career?

Kathy encounters eccentric characters, bushfires, unusual race events, and then of course there are the people who live on the stations.  Some are so welcoming, but Brandon Woodleigh has no time for this young woman from the city.  As far as he is concerned, she is out of her depth in a harsh environment that has no time for novices.  When disaster strikes mid-flight, it seems that Brandon was right all along.  The subsequent silence on the radio is ominous.  It is evident to those on the ground that Kathy and her passenger have come to grief but can they have survived in that rugged country?

Join me as we take part in the party.  For one lucky participant there will be a free copy of my book and if you hang around other authors will be introducing their new releases as well.  You might like to brush up on your knowledge of the book and of Alice Springs.  Here is the link for tomorrow. I’d love to see you there.

https://www.facebook.com/events/822528124458928/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Maggie writes dark speculative fiction.  The first book in the Midworlder trilogy, Unknown Protector, has been contracted to Soul Mate Publishing and will be available October 1st.

Angels and demons are not what you think , and neither will be able to save Nicole from a painful death. She will have to rely on her own skills as an ex cop turned detective, and those of a handsome rogue called Ridge. He may have wings but he’s no angel.  You can learn more about Maggie’s books at www. maggiemundy.com