1. I am so excited to promote Too Pretty, which is about… I’m excited too! Thank you so much for having me as your guest. Now, let me give you the official blurb …
Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.
Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep. Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.
As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are … Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?
2. Many people laugh about Ellie, the heroine in Too Pretty. What is her personality like? Ellie is funny, feisty and determined. She also wonders if she’ll ever be loved for herself rather than her physical appearance. So, despite the fact she’s smart as well as beautiful, she has issues with her self-esteem.
3. Despite being born in New Zealand, I love Australia because…I love both countries. The people are just the same, easy-going and friendly, but I have to say, the weather here is terrific. We live on the Gold Coast, which is considered sub-tropical. Although I don’t love the summer humidity and higher temperatures, I happily put up with it because the rest of the year is just perfect!
4. In my spare time, I like to… read, read, read!
5. Why do you write? Because I have voices in my head. Seriously.
6. My favourite bible verse is…
Psalm 139:13,14 – ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.’
I was adopted when I was 10 days old by my wonderful parents. This verse spoke to me when I was sixteen and trying to understand my biological mother’s rejection of me. It helped me immensely by proving I was meant to be here and not merely a throw-away child. (Now you know why the theme of adoption is featured in A Simple Mistake 🙂 ) Adoption – how special. I am hoping to one day adopt a child, but for now sponsoring one would be just as cool!
7. How has writing changed your life? It’s given me a new purpose. Music used to be my biggest passion and it’s still a shock to discover writing has taken over.
8. I read on your Facebook page that your daughter designed Too Pretty’s cover. How did that come about? My daughter is a graphic designer with a marketing degree behind her and keen to design my covers for me. Christian publishing in Australia is very small compared to the U.S. and so writers have opportunities to meet and know editors and publishers on quite a personal level. Therefore it was easy for me to approach my publisher, Rochelle Manners, and she was happy for Mel to submit her suggestions for A Simple Mistake. We were thrilled when one of them was accepted. It was the same process for Too Pretty and will be for the next book too. It’s not very often an author has their own personal cover designer! I think it’s pretty cool. I can’t wait for the day Christian publishing in Australia becomes bigger!! But like you pointed out, that personal level would add to the story’s meaning. I think it’s cool.
9. How do you relax? By listening to music, reading, and having family time.
10. A Simple Mistake is one of my favourite books. If it were to be made into a movie, who can you see acting the main roles? How lovely of you to say that! Ooh now that’s a good question. And wouldn’t it be nice if it happened?!? I haven’t got an actor for Nick in mind, so maybe you could suggest one for me, but I think Blake Lively would be great for Lainey. What do you think? Blake Lively – Great choice!! As for Nick, I have to agree – it’s difficult. But, what about Alex Pettyfer?
11. Do you find much time to read? Who are your favourite authors? I love to read – too much. Things tend to get done at the last minute around here 🙂
I have a number of favourite authors, so I’d better limit my answer to three for the general market and three in the Christian market. In the general market, I always look for books by Kristin Hannah from the USA, Cathy Kelly (she’s Irish) and Monica McInerney (an Aussie girl, whom I’ve had the privilege to meet). In the Christian market – Carla Laureano, Melissa Tagg, and Dee Henderson. Not everything I read is pure romance but it must have it to keep my interest.
12. What is the easiest thing about writing? Dreaming. I do that a lot. Just ask my husband.
13. For me, developing characters is always a challenge (not that I write). How do you go about this process and do the names bear any significance? I’m a plotter (I plan the story in advance rather than see where it ends up) and I really enjoy this process. I spend ages thinking about my main characters. I make a profile chart for them and have loads of information on there. Apart from the obvious things like physical characteristics, personality, family background, goals and dreams etc, I also include things like ‘events that have shaped his/her life’ and ‘people who have been a major influence’. I know their favourite food, colours, movies … you can ask me anything about them and I’ll know the answer.
As far as names are concerned I roll them around in my head until I get a good fit. Lainey came from a children’s book I’d read to my students (I’m a former school teacher)and I just liked it. Nick, however, was the name of the first boy who asked me for my phone number. He never rang, but that didn’t matter. I was only eleven and it was cool he even asked!
Ellie and Nate were careful choices. I wanted names that could be shortened as I needed to create confusion in Ellie’s mind over whether Nate/Nathaniel was the same person. I also liked the idea of them using each other’s full names. Kind of like nicknames but in reverse. At least that’s what I was aiming for! Well, I can confirm that you mastered it. I love d it!! It’s like a nickname in itself, very romantic 😉
The novel I’m working on now, ‘Cherish’ is about Sophie and Will. They have similar surnames, Darling and Darlington, but I’m not saying why I’ve done that. Mean of me, isn’t it? And if anyone’s got some ‘Will’ jokes, I’d love you to email them to me. You know, ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’ or ‘I’m Will – God’s will’ etc. Kinda corny but they might come in useful 🙂 Na, I think it’s super cool!! Would love to help you out. We shall comment or email our ideas 🙂
14. How did you go about naming A Simple Mistake and Too Pretty? My publisher, Rochelle Manners, named A Simple Mistake. We were at a writing retreat bandying around titles all afternoon, and, my book being a romance novel, we came up with some pretty trashy titles! Then, after dinner, Rochelle went to put out the garbage, paused in the act of putting it in the trash can, and then said, ‘I’ve got it!’ I can say I ended up with a ‘trashy’ title after all 😉
Too Pretty was originally called Too Beautiful until I remembered a writer friend had published a non-fiction book with that name. One of my beta readers, Val, suggested I change ‘beautiful’ to ‘pretty’ and that was it. The title for the novel I’m writing now, Cherish, I came up with all by myself.
Haha quite the adventure! Funny how things sometimes pan out that way, but I like it 🙂 Can’t wait to read your next book. After reading ‘A Simple Mistake’ I was scared that you wouldn’t write another book – and now I can eagerly anticipate
15. 5 Interesting facts about myself are:
a) I have 3 fantastic (adult) children.
b) My husband and I have been married for 30 years in December. (How can we be that old?)
c) I could read before I started school
d) I was brought up as an only child but …
e) Twenty years ago in December I found out I was the fourth of seven full-blood siblings adopted out. Six of us have met. Very, very cool.
Yes, very cool indeed!! But I can just imagine how exciting and nerve-racking it was. How wonderful to have such a big family 🙂