This is your fourth book in the women’s contemporary fiction space – do you feel that this is the genre you’re meant to write in? Why is that?
When I had the idea for Table for Eight I knew it wasn’t rural romance or historical, both genres I’d written in before. My publisher liked the idea and suggested I go with it to see what happened. I really enjoyed the challenge and the broader scope the story gave me. Now with four books classed as contemporary women’s fiction and ideas for so many more I can see myself continuing in this space for some time.
Your stories often feature women transitioning out of working and parenting and moving on to the next stage of life – why are these the stories that you want to tell?
Possibly it’s the stage of life I’m at. There aren’t a lot of other authors writing on these themes. I find I’m writing what I’d like to read – relationships, activities, lifestyles, events that interest me. Writing cross-generational stories also gives a much wider scope for the story to unfold through different sets of eyes. I find that more enjoyable than sticking with one age bracket.
What is your new book, Birds of a Feather, about and what did you want to explore in it?
Birds of a Feather is about unlikely friendships and the importance of community. Three independent women, Eve, Julia and Lucy, are at different ages and stages of their lives when circumstance brings them together in the coastal fishing town of Wallaby Bay. They get caught up in the community with its interactions, gossip and loyalties and they form a tenuous friendship that exposes past hurts and losses, making them question their lives and abilities. Birds of a Feather explores the premise that it’s not life’s challenges that define us but how we deal with those challenges that make us.
Do you think that existing relationships are the biggest trigger in someone’s personal development?
I think personal development is unique to each person and their desire to grow and enhance their life. Relationships play a huge part in that. We’re all influenced by those we love and even those we don’t and this has a big impact on personal development.
What do you hope readers come away with after finishing Birds of a Feather?
I hope readers might learn something new, experience someone else’s point of view and enjoy the journey with the characters. My biggest hope is that they finish the story with a sense that the events and circumstances have been resolved with positive outcomes.
Looking back at your four bestselling women’s contemporary fiction titles, which character would you like to have over to dinner and why?
Oh, this is a big one. I have so much fun with all of my characters and you want me to only ask one! I could say Eve from Birds of a Feather ’cause I’m sure she’d bring prawns, or Alice from The Family Inheritance ’cause I love her jelly cakes or Natalie from The Model Wife ’cause I’d enjoy comparing Kimberley holiday experiences but I’m going to say Ketty from Table for Eight. Ketty’s bright conversation and transformative magic would make for a very interesting evening.