Café Cala welcomes Jenny Schwartz

Hi Jenny, Welcome to Café Cala.

Jenny Schwartz

It’s great to have you visit Café Cala. I’m looking forward to reading Hero Duty. On this cool morning I’ve been making a moist mandarin and banana cake with walnuts. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?

*snatches hand back from cake plate*

A cup of tea would be lovely. I’m so pleased to be here, Maggie. Thanks for inviting me.
Your yummy cake reminds me of my childhood. We had quite a few fruit trees and I’ve never again seen mandarins as large. They were definitely mandarin-sweet and tangy, but were the size of grapefruit! All right. Small grapefruit.
I don’t have a photo of the famous mandarin tree, but I do have a terrible quality photo of the secret of its success. Lots of water. This is the bore being drilled – although I was only about 3 or 4 I remember the day. I must have been super annoying, because Mum threatened to throw me down the well!

1 Where did you get the idea for Hero Duty?

I started thinking how hard it would be for a woman to be the wealthy partner in a relationship. What sort of man would cope with that? What strengths would he have? Then I slapped my head. It’s not money that matters. It’s family and friends and having someone who supports you. Cue my hero Brodie and his quietly powerful sense of honour.

2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?

So many things. Being a storyteller is a wonderful calling. You get to help people make sense of the craziness in the world. You tell stories of hope and stories of challenge.
And then there are the lovely people you meet – like you Maggie ? And all the romance writers, readers and reviewers who steal way too much of my time in interesting conversation online.

3 How did you start writing?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t tell stories. Mum remembers me drawing line after line on paper pretending to write when I was a tiny tot, and as a kid I used to tell myself stories before going to sleep – this could be a reason for adult insomnia!

4 What would you say has helped you most?

Selecting one factor is really difficult. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the entire romance community is incredibly supportive. But to pick one thing I’d wish for all authors, it’s a good editor. I’ve been blessed with some of the best – paid, unpaid, new, established – they’ve all taught me so much. And their encouragement is gold.

5 What are you working on at the moment?

A fantastic adventure on the Kimberley coast in north-west Australia with a Hollywood actress, a modern day adventurer, a shipwreck (the SS Xanadu from the title, “Chasing Xanadu”) and a commune. It’s so much fun!

6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. If this is your passion, pursue it. Join a community of other writers. The Romance Writers of Australia is wonderful. It’s important that there are people in your life who understand and support your dream.

7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?

Soooo many. My bookshelves are double-stacked – and then there’s my kindle!
Terry Pratchett for compassionate satire and fantasy. Margery Allingham, Dick Francis, Emma Lathen and a whole list of others for clever mysteries. Barbara Hambly, Mercedes Lackey, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, (the list goes on) for fantasy. And as for romance authors. Oh my goodness! Maybe I’ll just refer everyone to my Goodreads page ?

hero duty1

Hero Duty

She can buy anything she wants, except the courage to stand up to her family. That’s where he comes in.

Jessica Trove is a billionaire Cinderella, bullied by her family, and terrified of the responsibilities crashing down on her shoulders. She knows what she needs to do – she just needs to find the courage to do it.

That’s where Brodie Carlton comes in. Jessica is used to buying anything she wants, and what she wants right now is a hero. She’s going to make Brodie Carlton an offer he can’t refuse: be her emotional bodyguard, and she’ll make him rich. The only question is who will guard their hearts?

Barnes & Noble

The radio played an 80s rock ballad.
Hesitating in the doorway, Jessica heard the man singing along to it. His voice was low and muffled by the car, but it struck her how relaxed he was — and how awful she felt. Rather than raise her voice, knock on the car or tap his boot, she crossed to the radio and switched it off.
There was a thunk, followed by the rattle of a trolley and the man rolled out from under the car.
Shivers slid under Jessica’s skin.
Brodie Carlton. Instantly recognisable from his photograph, even out of uniform. Six-foot two, muscled shoulders covered by blue overalls, brown hair cut short and hazel eyes, frowning up at her.
The dogs had stopped barking, but she still wanted to cut and run. This man was too much challenge.
But if she ran now, she’d never stop. ‘Sergeant Carlton?’
‘I’ve left the army.’ He pushed a boot to the floor and the trolley rattled back under the car. Like sliding a door closed or an escalator descending, he simply shut her out.
‘I know.’ Her simple words hung on the air.
The trolley reversed. He rolled out completely, put aside the wrench he held and stood. At his full height all that power, under perfect control, intimidated her.
Instinctively she stepped back as he stepped forward, but the bench on which the radio sat blocked her retreat. The edge cut into her spine.
He stopped.
Jessica watched, wide-eyed. She was used to men who used their power to intimidate, but Brodie Carlton had seen her distress and respected it, not exploited it. Hope tangled with nervousness, almost choking her. Her voice was thin when she said, ‘I’m Jessica Trove. I’m a friend of Sonia Dwyer.’ She held out her hand.
The frown returned to his face. No, not a frown. His battle face. There was no expression, just steel determination; blocking her out. He glanced at his hand and wiped it down his overalls. ‘I’m dirty, Ms Trove.’
‘I don’t mind dirt.’ It took courage, but she kept her hand out. She looked at his face, not at her hand, which trembled.
Slowly, his fingers closed around hers.
His handshake was firm but gentle. His skin was calloused. He was warm where she was freezing.
She wanted to hold onto his strength, but she hadn’t the right. She released his hand and tucked hers into the back pocket of her jeans. ‘I know what it cost you to help Sonia.’
‘I’m thinking you don’t.’
‘You lost your life in the army.’
‘I quit. They didn’t fire me.’ The gentleness he’d shown her vanished, beaten out by impatience. ‘If you’re here to say “thank you” — ’
‘No, I…I’m here to offer you a job.’
The seam of the back pocket of her jeans ripped, giving way under the pressure of her nervous pulling at the pocket. She forced her hand to still. ‘I need a hero.’

Jenny Schwartz is an Australian author of Coastal Romance. Her books celebrate the joy of falling in love and the freedom of choosing to follow your heart.
She has a degree in Sociology and History — people watching and digging into the past — and a passion for reading, especially books with a guaranteed happy ever after.
Her Jardin Bay series captures her love for Australia, and for sexy heroes and the determined women who drive them wild.

Welcome to her world of coastal dreaming,

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