Hi Suzanne, welcome to Café Cala,
It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’m looking forward to reading Outback Fever. I’ve been making some apple and cinnamon muffins this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
Now that’s made my mouth water. Um, Coffee for now please.
1 Where did you get the idea for Outback Fever?
My grandmother often told me many stories about the land, and one included our neighbours, which was fifty kilometres away. Apparently at one stage there was a battle in court contesting who actually owned the property. There was confusion in the paper work and the inheritance. This is where Outback Fever was born. I never thought that the stories my grandmother told me would make it into my novels, also my vivid imagination plays an important role.
2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
I have met many wonderful people online and face to face. Readers and authors who are willing to give up their time to review, to chat about books, and answer my calls for help when I have been stumped with a relating related matter.
3 How did you start writing?
I think I began at pre-school Lol…. A B C
Seriously, though, I began writing years ago and gave it up due to work and family commitments. It took a back operation gone wrong after ten years, then another operation before I could no longer work full time. Writing helped my sanity, and now I’m enjoying every moment.
4 What would you say has helped you most?
Becoming a member of Romance Writers of Australia and attending conferences. It gives a writer a chance to meet editors and pitch their latest manuscript. After almost being picked up by two Traditional Publishers, I decided to INDIE publish a few novels and then get back to targeting a novel suited to what sells in Australia, to what is marketable having being told that my works are a cross genre and they didn’t know where to place them in the market. Meaning, too much romance, and another publisher stating too much suspense. So this answer relates to question 6 as well.
5 What are you working on at the moment?
I’m about to undertake a complete rewrite of another Rural Romantic Suspense for a Traditional Publisher. Fingers crossed on this one. J
6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Although I’ve come a long way with my writing, and Outback Fever is my eighth published novel, I don’t think I’m qualified to give advice to aspiring writers. BUT having said that…. read between the lines. If you are targeting a publisher read extensively on what they are publishing within the genre you write. There is nothing more disheartening then being rejected on the basics of ‘we don’t publish that genre.’ Study their guidelines to the tee. Know what types of novels they market, and what sells.
7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
I started out reading Colleen McCullough’s Thorn Birds, and an Indecent Obsession. I find I am now partial to Australian writers such as Rachael Johns, Jennie Jones, Bronwyn Parry and many more Rural Authors, as well as an old time favourite Jane Austen works. Oh and I mustn’t forget, I love Jaye Ford’s novels. I read extensively and the author’s mentioned above are just a few of my favourites. There are many talented authors in Australia. Saying this, I have found some great US writers as well.
Except of Outback Fever.
‘Does that mean we have to watch out for her?’
The warm voice from behind startled Cassandra and she turned to the side to look over her shoulder. The blood in her veins travelled at lightning speed into her heart and out the other side just as fast.
Jake was approaching, and alone. For a long moment tears threatened to cut her down, to expose everything for what it was, for what she was.
He wore denim jeans, a silky dark blue shirt, and his dark wavy hair hung centimetres below his collar, twisting into little curls. There wasn’t a single male in Australia that had ever kicked up her insides like this. She could scarcely breathe. She curled her fingers into a ball trying to suppress the memories that were all too eager for attention.
He stopped beside her, and she inhaled a scent that reminded her of the local timber mill. Fresh, exciting, and outdoorsy. Her nose tingled at the sensation, and she swallowed a twinge of hurt – the pain of rejection she thought had died a long time ago. Surprise washed over her. How could she still have feelings for a man like him? She concluded it was mere sexual attraction. What else could it be? Living alone for four long years… That thought woke up her senses. She hadn’t been with a man in a long time. No wonder she was out of sorts.
‘You remember Cassie, don’t you Jake? She was at school with us but a few classes below us,’ Matt said.
‘I do recall seeing her about.’ He studied her. ‘We finally meet, Cassie.’
So, he was pretending they didn’t know each other. That suited her just fine.
Conjuring a perfect fake smile to her lips, she tilted her head upwards. ‘Yes, vaguely. Jake. Hello. How are you?’ She sounded like a robot, but his appearance had continued to swamp her with disturbing emotions. The hairs over her flesh sang and she wondered what it would be like to have him touch her once more, to have his fingers run down her arms, over her bare back. Even the three day growth shadowing his face made him appear mysterious, dark and downright…male.
She licked her lips, her fingers tightened around the stem of the wine glass and she shifted her balance, planting her feet further apart.
‘Cassie’s been back for a few years now. I think I told you that,’ Matt said.
‘I recall you saying something along the lines. ‘Jake directed his attention toward Cassandra. ‘So the city didn’t agree with you?’
He smiled, sending a warm tickle to caress her belly.
‘Um. It wasn’t the city. I..um…’
Cassandra almost closed her eyes and silently prayed for release from this curse, his curse. She stiffened and gave herself a mental shake. Thornton. Thornton. He’s just a damn Thornton.
She coughed a few times, spluttered.
‘Here take a sip. It might stop that catch.’
Noticing her glass was empty, she placed it on a drum nearby and reached out taking his glass. She gulped two huge mouthfuls of beer and felt the hops bite into her throat. ‘Thanks. Thank you. I don’t know what happened just then.’
When she met those stormy eyes, they were well alive as if saying, ‘I know what just happened.’
Talk about feeling embarrassed.
‘You don’t know, Jake,’ she whispered, spying Matt and the other men speaking amongst themselves.
He leaned in closer, and lowered his voice. ‘A man never forgets.’
Oh my God, that sexy, whisky, grating tone of his voice ran a delightful shudder over her skin, but it didn’t stop the building of annoyance. How dare he test her out in front of everyone? ‘I suppose you’ve returned to add a few notches to the back of your ute?’
The chatter close by quietened and all eyes including Matt’s were upon her. It was as though she had yelled it out, but she was sure it was barely a whisper. It wasn’t meant to come out that way, and so loud, and she wished her mouth would stay shut for once and not follow her emotions so readily.
‘Um. I have to go inside, give Mum a hand.’
Cassandra spun on the heel of her silver and black pumps and made it to the back door. She grabbed the architrave, afraid she’d drop like a dead weight, and slipped inside. Taking cautious steps, she walked into the kitchen. At least she could hide out inside and keep busy, help her mother and not be subjected to a scene like that again. The farther away she was from the party boy the better. Nausea crept over her, and she placed an open palm over the disturbance. Why had everything returned after such a long time? Surely she couldn’t possible care for the man, not after what he did. After he ripped her heart out and replaced it with a huge block of ice. Was that ice melting? Panic lodged inside and she found it difficult to rid herself of the torture.
Her mother wasn’t in sight and she checked the lounge room. Partial relief arrived when she dropped onto a soft sofa, decorated with colourful flowers. Every single emotion she experienced the day Jake walked out on her jarred her mind. She had a terrible time trying to pull all her nerves, and her loose emotions together. What had he done to her? The bastard.
The shock of seeing him again took time to simmer, especially seeing him so, so… She closed her eyes, and raised her hand to pat a few drops of perspiration from her temple before resting her face in her hands, elbows propped on her knees. Her entire world had collapsed the day he walked out of her life and she never thought she’d make it to where she was now. She had managed to pull herself from the pits of despair and close the gouge in her heart. And she had to remember he was a married man now, and remember to treat him as such; a married Thornton.
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