Hi Nicki, welcome to Café Cala,
It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’m looking forward to reading Intensive Care. I’ve been making my grandmother’s shortbread recipe this morning since it’s still pretty close to the New Year. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
Thanks for having me here Maggie. I love shortbread, so I’ll probably have two pieces if that’s okay! I have a bit of a sweet tooth. As for tea or coffee, can you believe I don’t drink either?! In fact, I’ve never even tasted them. Sad to say, my caffeine drink of choice is Pepsi Max.
Pepsi Max it is!
1 Where did you get the idea for Intensive Care?
First of all, this book is NOT my autobiography! I don’t know how many people have asked if it’s my story, just because I was working as an intensive care nurse while I was writing it! While some of the characters and stories are real (names changed of course), I am not Kate Kennedy!
Two big things inspired the writing of Intensive Care. Firstly, everyone knows the saying that truth really is stranger than fiction. As a nurse, I often have the incredible privilege of being with people in both their moments of triumph and in their tragedies – often in a single shift – and I wanted to be able to share some of these incredible stories.
Secondly, after living in regional Australia for three years, but now living back in the city, I still yearn for the simple lifestyle I had back then when I drove past paddocks full of cows and sheep on my way into town. There’s something special about life in the country and one day I plan to return.
I wrote a medical romance set in a regional town because they say “write what you know”, and I’ll add to that: “write what you love” too.
2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
Easily the most rewarding part of this writing journey is the new people I have met – many have only been online, but I feel like we’ve been friends for years and I can’t wait for the day that I meet some of these readers and writers in person.
3 How did you start writing?
As a child I always had my nose stuck in a book, and ever since I learned to read I harboured a secret desire to write my own book one day. I was always encouraged by teachers at school to pursue some sort of career in writing, but I never thought I was good enough. After all the years of reading, I’d put authors on a very high pedestal. At the start of 2014 I decided enough was enough. If I ever wanted to tick off the next item on my bucket list and write a book then I had to stop talking about it and actually do it! I started writing at the end of January in 2014 and four months later submitted what I’d written to a publisher. Intensive Care is my debut novel, released with Momentum.
4 What would you say has helped you most?
Being connected with other writers. When I’m filled with self-doubt, they’re there to encourage me to keep going. One of the first things I did was join Romance Writer’s Australia and that was a great decision.
5 What are you working on at the moment?
I’m about half way through “Emergency Response”, which picks up where “Intensive Care” finishes. It follows the story of two characters that we meet briefly in Intensive Care, Nathan and Mackenzie. It’s another medical rural romance, this time set firstly in the Pilbara in Western Australia and then back in Birrangulla in the Central West in New South Wales.
I’ve also written another medical rural romance set in South Australia which I’m so excited about and really hope it gets the attention of the publishers very soon.
6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Start writing! Stop planning how to write, stop getting your writing space ready, stop wondering what sort of program to use – just start putting words down. You can always go back and edit later! Let me assure you the very first version of Intensive Care is almost unrecognisable to the final version!
7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
I love reading Aussie Rural Romance – I love the variety that each story brings. My 2015 reading goal is to read every RuRo on the Australian Rural Romance website (www.australianruralromance.com). It’s a massive list!
The doors to the elevator opened. Kate was only half listening to something Fraser was telling her. A man around Kate’s age moved to the far corner to make room for them. She caught his smile and felt herself smiling in return. Dimples formed in both his cheeks.
Immediately Kate felt herself blushing. Where had that thought come from? She didn’t usually react this way when seeing a good-looking guy. Her best friends’ advice came to mind: “Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu,” so Kate snuck another look at him out of the corner of her eye. He wasn’t just cute, he was gorgeous. Tall, dark and handsome. She averted her gaze, embarrassed, when she realised he had seen her staring. He was holding a tray of coffees and the aroma that wafted across to her made her stomach growl loudly enough that he heard.
“Perhaps I should offer you one of these, eh, love?”
He held the tray up in her direction and grinned. Kate was caught off guard by the thick Irish accent and dimples and stammered a reply.
“Oh, um, no, that’s okay. Thanks.”
She sensed Fraser watching her and she blushed again. Really, could this day get any worse? If only the elevator would hurry up and arrive at their floor so she could escape.
She’d had enough surprises for one day.