Hi Lisa, welcome to Café Cala,
It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’m looking forward to reading The Tide Watchers. I’ve been making a moist mandarin cake from my home-grown mandarins this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
The cake sounds wonderful! I was only drinking tea for ages, especially chai latte, but now I’ve gone into coffee with chicory since visiting New Orleans.
Coffee with chicory it is!
1 Where did you get the idea for The Tide Watchers?
I found the genesis of it in a book in the Sydney Maritime Museum, of all places. Taking American friends on a tour of Sydney, I found the book that changed my writing life, called The Terror Before Trafalgar by Tom Pocock. 8 years, 24 books, 3 DVDs and a trip to France and the UK later, The Tide Watchers was born.
It’s the human story of both real-life and fictional spies who must discover and sabotage Napoleon’s secret invasion fleet on the eve of its launch, using only a hand-cranked submarine and a drill – and while it’s definitely action/adventure with a good bit of real-life steampunk thrown in, it’s not just that. They must all pay a price for saving Britain, and it’s harder than any of them anticipated.
2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
My accountant husband and my son in law said I should say the money! But I’m such a nerd – I adore the research! Finding new facts excites me, especially if it means more work to get the book right. I am a bit of a perfectionist in my work – near enough isn’t good enough. I’ve been so lucky that my research includes going to the places I write about – France and the UK. (I’m currently in Europe again, researching books 2 and 3.) The deep research I do helps to bring the story to life, creating characters that fit into the real-life stories and people. I also love it when people “get” the book, understand the history and love it.
3 How did you start writing?
My husband got me into it. He showed me an article about how famous romance writers can earn, and said, “You have a good imagination. You could try this while you’re home with the kids.” 25 years later…still at it, and still in love!
4 What would you say has helped you most?
Honestly? Romance Writers of Australia and New Zealand…the people, the acceptance, and the writing discipline I’ve learned from their courses and conferences. A BIG help came from bestselling authors Fiona McIntosh and her MasterClass, and Kate Forsyth’s History, Mystery and Magic course. I love to learn and improve my craft. I keep taking courses even now, to refresh the well. I never want to think or believe that I know enough. The day I stop learning – or revising my books, right up to the last minute – will be the day I die.
5 What are you working on at the moment?
The sequel to The Tide Watchers, currently named Blind Winter. The three-year espionage timeline from the Treaty of Amiens, the resumption of war and up to Trafalgar was way too big for one book alone – it’s become a series. I could probably write 10 books about those couple of years.
6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you “This book’s not good enough” or “your book will never sell”. I’ve had that told to me with two books – my first romantic suspense (including the editor I was working with to that point, who told me to NEVER send it to her again because it wouldn’t sell, and a top NY agent) and again with The Tide Watchers (with 50 rejections under its belt).
Dream BIG, write big, and never give up! Always be brave in your writing and jump off that cliff. And take as many courses as you can, learn your lessons from big, brave authors that take chances. Never be too arrogant or insecure about your writing. Admit it may need editing, but be strong enough to say no to the changes you don’t believe in.
7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
Markus Zusak, J.R.R. Tolkien, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Paulo Cuelho, Kate Forsyth, Fiona McIntosh, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Penman, Agatha Christie, Anne Gracie, May McGoldrick, and dozens of others…and I’m always open to new authors. I’m very loyal to writers I love, and if they write one bad book (to me) I’ll always try another before giving up.
In the winter of 1803, one woman stands between Napoleon and the fall of Great Britain
The free-spirited daughter of an English baronet, Lisbeth defies convention by eloping to France. When her husband abandons her, she must find a way to survive and be reunited with her young son, who is in the care of her mother-in-law.
A seasoned spy known as Tidewatcher, Duncan apprenticed under Lisbeth’s father and pledged to keep his mentor’s pretty daughter safe—a promise complicated by the wily Napoleon Bonaparte. The British believe he is planning an attack, and Duncan is sent to search for signs of invasion on the French coast—where he draws dangerously close to adventurous and unpredictable Lisbeth.
A sensational new invention may shift the tide of a French victory. A brilliant and eccentric American inventor named Robert Fulton has devised a deadly weapon that can decimate an enemy’s fleet. To protect English ships, Tidewatcher must gain control of Fulton’s invention and cross enemy lines . . . but he cannot do it alone. Left with no other options, he enlists Lisbeth’s help in outwitting the American inventor and uncovering Bonaparte’s secret plans.
Going undercover for the handsome and duty-bound spy, Lisbeth risks her freedom and her life as she navigates double agents and submarine warfare to outwit the greatest military tactician in history. The only question is . . . who can she trust?
The Tide Watchers is available as a trade paperback or ebook, Nook and Kindle, from June 30 (USA, Canada), July 1 (Australia, NZ) and July 30 (UK) from all retailers, and online through the HarperCollins websites, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.